Saturday, December 13, 2008

Blessed, damned rain

Hoi'an, Vietnam ©Ingrid Booz Morejohn

A Chinese poet, seated by a latticed garden window, might reflect upon the hypnotic quality the sound of raindrops makes upon the surface of a banana leaf, rhythmically transporting him to other worlds. In Laos Buddha statues have been created standing with their arms in a special position named "Calling for Rain". The Buddha's hands are held straight down, tightly pressed flat against his body with fingertips pointing to the ground, beseeching rain to come and help the people grow their food and survive another year. Thus the farmer considers rain a blessed thing, longed for and cherished. But too much of it can also be a curse - when it drowns fields and rots crops like the flooding that caused many problems in northern Vietnam this autumn. The tourist, on the other hand, seldom looks upon rain as anything but a bother. Something they definitely hadn't paid for when they booked their ticket (usually from very rainy countries) and an irritating annoyance put between them and unending leisurely hours in the sun - a precious luxury the tourist has come to expect and demand as his right when arriving at his (as portrayed in the travel catalogue) sunny destination. But where does the water come from that let's you take that wonderful freshwater shower in your hotel room?

Picture: The last days of the seasonal monsoon. November, Hoi'an, Vietnam.