torstai 15. heinäkuuta 2010

All kinds of waves

Now that Europe is experiencing heath like never before, I felt like sharing some stories about the weather conditions here in SE Asia.

When I arrived to Hanoi in mid June, the city greeted me with a welcoming 41'c. That was the first day of the heath period. Since my arrival, the temperatures have been soaring. The day time temperature has been 38'c on average, passing the 40'c mark every now and then. At night time it has been much cooler, the temperature setting at about 28'c. Usually the rains cool the climate a bit during this time of the year but now, as there has been no rain, there has been no ease.

In theory, the rainy season stars in June and goes on until August-September. Now we are in mid July and it has rained properly only once. And boy did it rain. It was last Monday. This end-of-the-world type rain started in early morning. During 3 hours, from 7am to 10 am, it rained 150mm. 3 people died of electrocution. over 100 fishermen are still missing. Co To island, the place we went to a couple of wees ago, was hit by 7m waves. In Hanoi 79 places were flooded and many places closed from traffic. In a city of 8 million people you can imagine what that causes. The usual morning rush turned into extraordinary morning chaos.

It is somehow expected that having a motor vehicle should be combined with the knowledge of how to use it. Well, here where a car is a status thing more than anything, it is not always clear what the car can take. In the afternoon we were heading to a meeting and the amount of broken down cars was imperssive. Low rise cars, Huyndai, Mercedes, Toyota, were driven through flooded streets at normal speed which eventually led to breaking down of the engine. Also several motorbikes had suffered the same fate.

The floods also caused harm and destruction in the low areas of the city. And, because of building standards in the region, in several apartments the water entered the rooms through windows, walls, roofs, lamps, screws, air conditioning machines, you name it. Several trees fell because of the heavy rain, blocking some streets and cutting powerlines (including the one leading to my hotel).

This weekend a typhoon was supposed to hit Hanoi. From work we received an emergency e-mail encouraging us to stock food, to refrain from traveling and to report to a supervisor on Sunday. Luckily, the storm calmed down before hitting Hanoi so no exciting stories to tell from that. Nevertheless, the nature is brutal here, for me it's mainly interesting. After all, I've never ridden a bike in knee-deep water!

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