Monday, October 11, 2010

Rain Drunk

Kampot - It’s raining. Hard. A standard monsoon-season rain in Cambodia. Mid-afternoon, sudden, intense and noisy, long in trailing off. First it came in opaque gray sheets, curtains of water sweeping across the city, after an hour or so finally settling into a nice moderately heavy downpour. Naked children danced and played in the flooding streets. From the balcony I watched motos and romuks battle the deepening waters in the central roundabout opposite my hotel. Rain affects Cambodian motorists like some kind of meteorological pheromone, sending drivers into a frenzy of wild and reckless behavior. The harder it rains, the more difficult it is to see, the faster and harder they drive. Motorcycles and Camrys dodge and weave around horse carts, rain-drunk children, stray cows and each other. Motorcyclists rooster tail through the flooded streets, one hand on the throttle, the other arm an eye shield to the rain, leaning forward into the spray as if to emphasize the rain induced need-for-speed. Speeding Lexus SUVs plow through the waters sending waves lapping up into homes and businesses. The storm is just now lightening into a boring gray drizzle. The floods are pulling back, depositing free-floating trash at the perimeter of the receding waters. Styrofoam, plastic bags and coconut husks. Children wander home. Traffic slows. Calm ensues.

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