In case you have been looking forward to some updates on how it is in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan, I am bit happier to say that at least now, help has come to those in need and the people there are slowly picking up the pieces of their lives which I have no doubt has been forever changed.
I can imagine it would be hard to take my word for it, since I am a Filipina living abroad, so here as a great article from the BBC that gives an update of the mood there now.
But it seems that the rain has yet to spare us here in the Middle East. It has been raining here for the past couple of days, which is something that rarely happens. Here in Oman it rains about once or twice a year, especially during this season when the climate starts to become cooler. I find this fascinating, because as most may already know, I come from a country where rain happens almost every day, all year.
I welcome the rain, the smell of wet pavements, and the cool breeze that is perfect for long naps or weekends where staying in bed is the best thing to do, it is great for me because it brings a feel of home.
But subtle things really just jolts you back to the fact that we are not home, for one thing, people here have a different reaction to rain. Especially when it comes to driving, whenever it rains, there seems to be a hurried sense to come home, which makes driving a little bit more dangerous.
Rain also comes with elements that we never or rarely experience in the Philippines, for example today, hail storm came pelting down from the sky. JG and I were about five minutes away from our house, and I got worried that a big enough pebble of ice, with the right amount of velocity, may shatter the car’s glass; thankfully that did not happen. I am however yet to thoroughly examine any small scratches it may have done to the car.
Omani houses, or at least our house, are not built for the heavy downpour. Unlike homes in Asia, where rain is a big possibility, roofs are often built is a slanted manner, so that water may just naturally fall downward. Here most homes are concrete blocks, with flat ceilings, and windows not sealed enough to withstand rain. This I know because water has seeped into our house via the windows. I can only sigh…
I am not saying this is a bad thing, you can hardly blame them because, since as I explained, rain comes but once or twice a year. A chunk of the year is spent in the Arabian heat, where temperatures can climb as high as 45 degrees in the summer time. And in times such as that, the Omani homes are the perfect kind of shelter, as its high ceilings and tiled floors gives us the shade of all shade.
The same can be said with the flash floods that often happen around the city when the rain comes. The roads here are built with the same sort of perspective in terms of weather. It’s hard to explain this part, but I guess rain-water that is coming down from the rocky mountains around the city are really too much for the wadi’s to handle. FYI, a Wadi is like a mad-made gully that remains dry except during the rainy season. These are common in Arab countries like here in Oman, which they built to help channel the water flow. But as I mentioned, sometimes the rain is just too much that it overflows into the streets causing floods in some areas. (Just in case, this is just how I understand this so I could be wrong, or I welcome a good explanation as to why such flash floods happen).
A great thing about this rain though, is that it happened a few days after Oman celebrated their 43rd National Day. Which I think is really nice of God, or Allah, or whatever higher power that handles the weather conditions, as they locals are given good climate to celebrate their day.
It’s always nice here during their national day as people show their love for their motherland by putting out the Omani flags out their house or setting up nice lighting decorations with the same colors as their flag. Another thing they do is decorate their cars with the same said colors of their flags, which is pretty cool here, especially when you see a Ferrari or a Lamborghini painted in their national colors. The National Day is topped with awesome fireworks display at night, and a traditional long weekend two days decreed as holiday which means no work to especially mark the occasion.
It suddenly hit me, I have now spent three Oman National Day! How time flies…