Monday, September 17, 2007

Rain Rain

The rain has not stopped coming in Korea for a while now. Rainy season which is usually a few weeks from the end of July to the end of August has lasted well into September. People stay home in the rain, no one will venture out, the shops will close, you are stuck in, you cant help but to be stuck in. It just keeps coming down, hard, heavy, storm rains, and when the storm rains stop it continues with a light falling dampness, a misty disgusting, moist that pervades everything. My laundry hangs drying for a week and still is not dry from the lack of dryness in the air. After having spent the better part of a month in my apartment I could not take it anymore and began venturing out in the rain, damn the consequences. It was Sunday afternoon and I was going to give up and stay in, but then Monolycus called and I was prodded to get into a cab and meet him for coffee and a zombie movie.

I grabbed my smaller umbrella and opened the door, It was not raining at all and the streets were actually dry. I took this as a good sign. I felt silly for bringing the umbrella since I would maybe not need it. But not foolish enough to leave it at home with the dog. No, I took it anyway, grabbed a cab and went to a movie. The movie pleasant and when exiting the DVD bong it was starting to drip a little rain and I was glad for the umbrella. Dinner it was decided would be Italy Italy the design your own pasta place. We had a window seat about ten feet from a party of American GIs doing their best to give Americans a bad name. They were loud and unruly and try as one might to ignore them they made sure they could not be ignored.

At one point the Korean waitresses were consulting about what to do as people would come in, take one moment to listen to what was going on, and then turn around and leave. I almost wanted to go ask them to be quiet to help the horribly embarrassed Korean staff but in the end decided that this was a classic SEP and I need to relax and enjoy my dinner. Mono and I did try to have a conversation mostly about my lack of zombie preparedness and after eating decided to take a trip to the bar for some pool. At this point it had started to rain in true earnest. This was not a little rain but a nice steady streaming downpour of heavy rain.

I put up my umbrella as we started to walk down the streets the five blocks to the bar and the pool game. As we neared the bar we saw two of the other bar flies about to go up and then saw them standing in front of the bar without going up. It was then that my umbrella decided to spring a leak. This was not a polite little leak to be ignored. This was a hole that had a nice stream of water coming in on my head. I ducked under an awning and figured that once we got into the bar Id just wait out the worst of it and head home.

However the bar owner, after receiving calls from his favorite barflies, decided he was not coming in the rain. Are you people crazy? Theres a typhoon. Oh, well, that would explain the rain now wouldnt it. In my defense I actually knew there was a typhoon but it was not supposed to hit Korea, just lightly graze the southern coast then swing around and eat Japan, as typhoons are accustomed to doing on this part of the globe. However apparently the typhoon had changed courses a bit during dinner and now it was going to go pretty much over JeJu island and it was big enough that we were going to suffer for it. The eye was not going to pass over Korea, but we were going to see at least half of the storm pass over.

Fun.

It was decided to abandon the bar and go to another bar, but after walking the block in the rain with the rain pouring in my umbrella I decided that it would be a better idea for me to go home. I said goodnight to Mono and made my way with good haste to the nearest cab stand. On the way I passed an umbrella stand. I stopped for a second but then felt silly. Id be in a cab in a few minutes and then I would be home and wouldnt need the umbrella. So my head was a little wet and the splash back from the streets had me wet up the hips but not all the way wet, Id be fine.

I made the cab stand about two minutes later. There was a line. Not a little line but fifty Koreans all huddled together in the street trying to get a cab. This did not bode well. The Koreans were fighting for cabs. The line of people stretched two blocks up the street with people jumping in front of cabs to get them to stop. Cabs that already have passengers were slowing to take more going in the same direction. I waited a few minutes in the rain with the steady drip, drip, drip of the umbrella on my head and decided to walk up the street a little in hopes of better luck at the next cab stand.

There was no better luck and now the rain was not failing out of the sky but instead whipping around horizontally and I was getting soaked. I walked up to the bookstore and ducked under the awneing, dropped my umbrella and was immediately deluged by a waterfall of rain that I had failed to distinguish with my umbrella up. A whole in the awning. I was now wet like a drowned rat with a broken umbrella and no hope for a cab.

I weighed my option. I could try to hit a pc bong and wait out the storm but I was more then a little wet and did not want to sit around in an over air conditioned PC bong in the rain. I could go to a movie but same problem. There was not going to be a cab and I was so wet most of them wouldnt let me ride. I finally decided there was only one thing for it at this point. Id have to walk. I was standing in front of Kyobo bookstore and from this point my apartment was two miles away. Ive walked this route on several occasions in about twenty minutes. I knew I could do it. I would get wet, but decided to use the umbrella as a shield as much as possible from the rain.

The most important thing at this point was to get home, get changed, and keep my wallet as dry as possible. I was, as usual, carrying identification that I could not afford to have soaked. I started walking. It was cold, I was miserable. I thought about hitting the umbrella stand again, but a quick look down the street made me realize that walking down there would add extra time and annoyance to my walk and I wanted to walk fast. It was about 8:40 and I didnt want to get pneumonia.

At first it was not so bad, when the leak got to be to much I shifted I to my back. I knew I was going to get wet at this point so I would just shift my umbrella leak around choosing the lesser of evil places to be soaked through. I walked and shifted and walked and shifted. I entered the bell park and the water was starting to really come down. On the streets there was a pretty steady stream about ankle high. The storm drains were pumping water back onto the street. There was so much water and no where for it to go. I reached the long concrete skate park that surrounded the bell in the bell park. As I walked towards it through on the tree lined path I could see what can only be described as a waterfall. It was running with water into the street, fast moving water. Flashing flooding, I thought. But it wasnt quite that high and there was no choice, I had to get home at this point.

The water was ankle deep and I walked through it. The light to cross the road was blinking green and I wanted to run for it, but that would have been supremely stupid. First there was no way I was jay walking in this kind of weather, the cars were having trouble stopping. I could smell on the air the scent of engines that were choking up with water. I associate that smell with badness, a car about to go. I walked to the corner and realized I was just going to have to wait for the light. There is a tree and then some bumps to prevent sidewalk driving. I walked up to the tree and the water came up to my thighs. This was not good.

The water from the park was rushing in and the water was pouring on the streets and pooling up at the indentation where the crosswalk lowers to allow the handicapped to cross. It had become a pool. I huddled along under my umbrella feeling supremely unhappy and wanted to cry but figured it was pointless as it would just make me wetter. I waited higher up on the sidewalk for the light to change not wanting to wait in the pool. When the light finally did change I used the tree to balance so I would not fall off the sidewalk. I felt it out carefully with my foot. The timer came up on the light, I had twenty seconds to cross. I walked into the pool, up to my thighs, then it hit my waist. I actually felt quite scared and almost turned back but I had no choice at this point if I turned back there was no way to get home, I pressed on through the water. I made it to the halfway point of the street after ten seconds had passed and the water disappeared as I reached high ground and crossed just in time.

I was shivering and walking down the sidewalk. A manhole cover had turned into a fountain and was tipping and spinning, and spitting up water. I was still half a mile out from home but was on a slightly graded elevation now. From here on out I would see water on the streets but shouldnt see any massive pools. And I was lucky that I did not. It was just me and the horizontal rain, and the broken umbrella. I tucked my wallet under my chin since it was the only place dry and kept walking. Of course the rain and the stress and I had to pee. Nothing like a crisis.

When I got home with the typhoon drenching me I tossed my umbrella up to the storm a broken sacrifice to the thundering rains appreciation of its power. I ran for the bathroom leaving a strip of wet clothes behind me. My legs were burning from walking through the foul water so I turned on hot water and took a shower with an antibiotic soap in the hopes of not contracting anything too foul from my walk. By the time I excited the shower, now wet but clean, it was ten. In the time it had taken me to walk home it had only started to rain higher. A quick check of the news showed the typhoon coming almost straight over and a prediction of up to 40cm of rain expected before the morning came.

I let in the poor puppy who was as drenched as I was and gave him a thorough drying and we curled up in bed together and crawled under the covers looking for warmth. The rain poured all night and I could hear it and see it in my dreams. Rain and zombie dreams.

2 comments:

total-spender said...

I'm surprised: people actually watch movies at DVD bongs !

Saradevil said...

It was Resident Evil. I don't know if I would call it so much watching as a lot of me jumping and screaming while my friend laughed at me.