It’s been raining here non-stop for 48 hours and I have never experienced anything quite like it. The amount of rain we are getting is amazing, but I’m more amazed at how quickly I am adapting to these types of new situations. Could it be that I am- dare I say it? – growing in some profound way? I go from ‘OMG! No way!’ to ‘Huh, guess that’s just how it is’ rather quickly these days. I’m going to give myself a point and say that personal progress is being made, but, of course, I cannot claim that the progression has been graceful.
It started as a nice, gentle rainfall on Tuesday night. When I woke up on Wednesday morning, it was still raining, but the rain was coming down in heavy sheets. I hopped into my zippy little car and headed off to work, but I soon realized that something was a tad different about this particular downpour. The main street that runs from our little neighborhood and through the town of Grand Baie had sections which were completely covered in water and the water was moving in currents to and fro across the road.
I figured the best way through these road ponds was to drive as fast as possible. Somewhere at some point in time I thought I heard something about not driving slow through deep water because if you did, water would get up into your engine and your car would stop. Let it be known that driving fast through really deep water in a tiny Asian car doesn’t really work. Also, please note that hitting the breaks in really deep water while driving fast in really deep water just doesn’t mix.
After making it to the main highway, I hit a few more spots of serious water accumulation and decided to slow down. There really were not that many other drivers out during the morning commute and I started to wonder if this rain was like a major snow storm back in Minnesota. Instead of snow days maybe they had rain days?
I passed a few stalled cars on the side of the highway and decided to turn-around. My Frenchman has a rather ‘red-neck’, giant pick-up truck. Having him drop me off at work in that tank was certainly far better than me having a ‘cultural discovery’ moment on the side of the road in the pouring rain. When we hit the main city of Port Louis, I kept wishing that I had my camera because the water was everywhere. It was gushing down the open sewers and pouring off the roof tops. There were roads in the city grid that you could barely drive across because so much water had accumulated and it was still coming down.
There were no breaks in the sky. There were just clouds over clouds over clouds and each mass was just spitting rain. After I was dropped off at my office, I headed up to my floor dressed in my green rain slicker and my bright green gardening clogs. After I had turned around earlier in the morning, I had decided that it was time to break out some serious waterproof gear. An umbrella alone was just not going to cut it because I was already soaked from just getting in and out of the car. Needless to say, I was the only one in the office, perhaps in the city, that day wearing bright green garden clogs.
The clogs became quite the discussion topic around the office and by noon, I’m pretty certain that everyone had developed quite the wrong idea about Americans and rain (my apologies). Of course, when I arrived at the office, I just could not stop talking about the rain, wondering about the rain and watching the rain from the windows. I marched in with all my bright green ‘I-could-live-in-the-forest-for-a-while-without-getting-wet’ gear and immediately started with the Minnesota, “Wow! That’s some weather out there, eh?”
My co-workers, after doing a full skeptical body scan of me, remarked in the most calm and casual way, “Yes. I guess it’s unusual for this time of year.” “Really?!” I said. “Is it normal to have this much rain at once?” “No, but it happens sometimes.” After a few rounds of questions like this, I came to realize that, yes; the cars do get stuck in the road sometimes when it rains this heavy and hard. And, yes, there are some parts of the country where the roads just get completely covered by streams of water and are unable to be utilized. And, yes, the power will go out during rains like this and that if it happens, you shouldn’t come into the office.
But, no one was getting all hot and bothered. No one was wearing rubberized shoes of any kind. In fact, no one was reacting much at all and it seemed to be just like any other day at the office. The most reaction that day came from seeing me hopping around in my bright green clogs exclaiming about how totally crazy the rain was.
The night after the first day of solid rain, we went to dinner with some visiting French folk. On the road back to drop them off at their hotel, we saw quite a few large frogs hopping down the road. I remarked that it felt like two signs to mark the end of the world were in high force. We laughed and then the car fell into a silence. I looked down at my green clogs and thought that if the end was really near, at least I could make a good run for it through some pretty serious puddles.