Monday, May 21, 2007

Wesak, wet weather and wedding anniversaries

Well the monsoon has arrived. Right on cue after Wesak (Buddha's enlightenment) Rained non stop for two days. torrential rain. I can't get used to the quantity, or the loudness of the thunder and lightning. Our house, with mossie netting above windows, means it's very loud. Lightning and thunder goes on ALL day quite often! Very wearing.

M took 2 1/2 hrs to get to work on Thurs (12 km) because of flooding, fallen trees etc etc. We had a jack fruit tree fall on our house. one of our electricity phases fused. Floods everywhere, as every yr. But usual crisis management. nothing done to pre-empt it. I guess because that wd cost money, and the govt is bankrupt...

The govt, of course, have gone straight to the NGOs (whom they villify constantly in the papers) asking for money and aid to help, as this constitutes an emergency evidently, even though we all know it happens every yr. Many roads under a foot of water. Most deeper than any ford Ive ever been through. I went in a very big pothole hidden by floods on Fri, in the car. Fortunately the wheel survived intact. A girl stepped into an open manhole covered by water and disappeared. Doesn't bear thinking about. Someone else stepped off a bus and did the same thing. The total tally of missing people was 9, I think, in Colombo.

I went to collect my son on Fri , walked 2 mins into school carrying a golfing umbrella. By the time I was at the school steps, it looked like I had swum to school up the river, I was sodden. I always wear flipflops on such days, and understand why they are the national footwear of choice.

A's theory is that "so many Sri Lankans wear flip flops, so that they don't get struck by lightning when out and about' I daresay a good precautionary measure...

A 15 ft hole appeared in the Galle rd. The main rd in Colombo. It broke from underneath. Evidently caused by the volume of water bursting a pipe, then eroding sandstone under the road, and with nothing to support it, the tarmac collapses! Amazing a car wasn't in it.........! Life's never dull here. The newspapers were saying it was an earth quake. Anything to save face. The water engineers know better....

Hoping for dry weather on Tues, (A's bday) as we have 14 v excited children plus a bouncy castle and neither the children or the bouncy castle will fit easily in the house..... Computer was back for one day from the repairers (having been hit by lightning 5 wks ago) before M discovered they had loaded an illegal copy of windows, (quite normal here, but we actually have the licenced version!)so he cdnt get the Microsoft updates, so back to the shop.

Our car's a/c broke, the driver's door lock stopped working in the rain. The tree is still lying across our roof, the elctricity at least is back on, tho our househelp won't iron in the lightning......As they say, it never rains but it pours. Certainly true in Sri Lanka.

Had a great time away for 3 days in the hills. Not that cool. M got sunburnt again (after living here a year..). We all got leeches on us after a lovely walk. Me, despite wearing leech socks which came up to my thighs. I felt a bit silly in them initially but soon was smiling smugly. The one I got on me was in the hotel room, transferred from my daughter! Our son's was on his tummy, he was amazingly calm. Our 3 yr old lost it, but that was the sight of blood gushing down her leg, not the leech itself! A's bled all day. Yuk.

M won the prize for most leeches. He got 3 which had managed to burrow in and start sucking, and about 7 on his socks trying to wriggle through. Salt worked wonders though. They pulled out immediately and you could then flick them off.

On our trip to the south coast there were lots of little frogs in one place we stayed, which kept sneaking under the door into our room. Everyone ele seemed to manage to avoid them but my bare flat size 7s squelched one every time I got up from a chair, a bed, anywhere. I seem to attract squishy animals it seems....However I am always grateful for any encounter that is not a snake. Yesterday I encountered a chameleon on the inside of the window in the study/. Don't know how it got there but it immediately turned a bright green as I approached it. Perhaps the chameleon equivalent of blushing. Don't know why it's always me who has these encounters...

We were away for our daughter's third birthday. She had a lovely birthday tea, once back, sporting her fairy wings and wand which a little girl had given her. We gave her a teepee, so she and her little friends (and our almost 7 yr old) diasappeared into that for most of the time, so it was actually quite civilised, and, being a poya day, mums and dads were there. Well 3 couples anyway, we know through work. I refuse to do parties for children under 4. Just as well when I saw the way they are done here, middle class Sri Lankan style (which is what most of her nursery friends seem to be, even though it's very cheap to go there). Face painter, merry go round, balloon sculptor, bouncy castle, food for adults, magician, pony rides. And themed matching balloons, decor etc. A major exercise in one upmanship, showing off, or establishing your status credentials. Not sure what they wd have made of my home made cake, bunting and random balloons, and I certainly wasn't about to find out....

We had a pink cake as requested, and it was a suitably frothy pink occcasion, (yes I managed to find the odd pink balloon), though in our daughter's usual eclectic fashion, interspersed with playing trains, shooting guns and burping. She has now started asking her brother if she can come to his party, though isn't convinced, as he says 'only if you wear a dress'. She is weighing up whether her aversion to dresses or desire to go the big children's party will win the day (added incentive of the party is seeing Jo Hyung again, A's korean friend who she dotes on, and flirts outrageously with, as astonishingly, 3 yr olds seem very adept at.)

Next celebration is our wedding anniversary. 16th actually. Can it really be that many? One of my bridesmaids is getting married this year. 1st time. My other bridesmaid is still unmarried, though well on the way it seems (to me anyway...) Somehow the two things don't harmonise. Funny thing chronology.

I was invited to a family friend's joint 80th birthday and 40th wedding anniversary, which took place on Saturday. Couldn't go of course, stuck out here. Desperate as I am for social contact, London is a long way to go for a party. They are one of the most 'young at heart' couples I have ever met. I was extremely sad to miss it as I regard them almost as surrogate parents (not that there's anything wrong with mine, but always nice to have extras to fall back on, I feel)

However I was very grateful for the invitation, as it made me feel quite spring chicken-ish in weight of years. Sixteenth suddenly didn't seem so huge.

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