Thursday, July 27, 2006

Do Your Worst ...

Last evening we were the recipients of possibly the best storm known to mankind. It was both violent and aggressive - like any normal offering in the Far East - and certainly beautifully timed. After a day of clear skies and sweltering 39 deg C heat (102 F), finally at 22h00 the skies could take it no longer, and off it went.

I was a little way outside the capital, standing in a garden, watching in fascination as a band of black, angry cloud took control of the sky with remarkable authority. A reddish hue preceded it and the lower build-up appeared to swirl and shapeshift as it came nearer. A strong wind caused trees to bend past their normal flexiblity, but in fierce gusts it blew. Then distant flashing, the storm was agitated and in a foul mood.

Within 30 minutes from the first hint of its arrival, the sky turned a thick black soup as people on the upper floors of the building flung open their windows as huge blasts of cold air gave rise to communal ventilation. Nearly every window was taken by a heat-exhausted, half-dressed person, flocking to cash in on this respite. Then the sounds of far away grumbling.

Normally, with a drop of wind to aid it's passage, a thunderstorm will be above you in a matter of minutes but this one had other ideas. It took half an hour to get to where we were and wasn't going to leave without making sure that everyone knew that it meant business. Great globules of cold water fell out of the cloud and when the core finally settled above us, the lightning was like nothing I have ever seen before. To the left, to the right and directly overhead - no 'flash' followed by its corresponding clap of thunder - the lightshow was horizontal and continuous and the thunder was a constant growl, a roar, a crack. Each flash lasted between 2 and 3 seconds, lighting up the surrounding area, as bright as day.

The dogs in the area barked, children screamed in panic but I was as happy as a pig in shit. I was now much cooler and experiencing a light and sound show better, brighter and louder than Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones put together. An hour later, the storm wafted away to find some more nocturnal victims.

Don't you love Mother Nature when she needs to blow off steam?

Stu

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