Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tears in rain

Image: BBC News

It's about time the rain pissed all over my travel plans, as I've been quite unfairly lucky with the weather so far. Well, if you count being uncomfortably hot and dehydrated most of the time as lucky.

There's no risk of me accidentally mummifying now though, as I evidently thought it would be a great idea to visit the Philippines and plan entirely outdoor-based activities during typhoon season.

I did know that April to October was the wet half of the year, but optimistically assumed that visiting just a month before it was scheduled to end would mean the bad weather was already fading out, like a dimmer switch. Instead, it turns out to be digital.

Usually I get by just fine when I avoid thinking about problems and persevere in the same naïve and stubborn manner that I imagine helps me avoid illness and injury by assuming they'll never happen and not taking any wimpy precautions like insurance, but I've got away with so much that I was due a bad spell.

Catastrophic flooding in Venice - lucky this guy was prepared

I know I've been living in mostly tropical countries this past year, but it still surprises me how infrequently rain has got in the way. Since I left sodden Scotland, only one occasion springs to mind when inclement weather dampened my spirits (and my pants), and it was right at the start of it all. I arrived in Venice and spent hours wandering the incredible city in the rain, trying to match up the streets I was walking down with the Google Maps directions wilting in my hand until I finally realised the directions were intended for cars and there are no roads in Venice. Idiot.

For someone who was born and raised in North West England, this paucity of precipitation has been one of the biggest shocks to the system, though not exactly an unpleasant one. Though I did feel a powerful meteorological reverie when my final trip in Egypt took me out of the desert and up to Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast, and I saw my first clouds for a month. A month without clouds and a winter without snow - it's been a weird year.

I (don't) have the power

It wouldn't be so bad if these storms weren't also playing havoc with my hotel's electricity and water supplies. The only good thing about getting soaked when I need to go out and scavenge is looking forward to an unnecessarily hot shower when I get back - but how am I supposed to fight water with water if the shower isn't working?

And these power cuts might be nostalgic, but also mean I can't do anything useful with my time like work or write curmudgeonly blogs like this. On the positive side, reading my bumper book of mysteries and chillers by candlelight does create a great atmosphere.

So what are you going to do about it?

Chocolate Hills, Bohol.
Sounds like something from
Super Mario World.
Looks like something from Super Mario World

I can't take shelter from the storm forever. I'm not going to be beaten by water. There are a few things I'd really like to see and do in the Philippines - namely visit Mount Pinatubo and the Subic forest up here in Luzon, then head down to Bohol to see some Chocolate Hills and tarsiers - and I have less than 20 days to fit it all in.

Plus, unlike most backpackers I need to spend about half the time working too. This is just a different place for me to live for a few weeks, so I won't be too disappointed if I spend all the time in a comfy bed. It's not like I'm on holiday, I'm just passing the time. But if Wi-Fi is always this bad, I'll be a bit pissed off.

While it might not be the best idea to scale a volcano and walk along its crater in slippery conditions, that would be probably the single most impressive demise I can think of, so at least there'd be a bright side to my pointless death. And I won't have to worry about rain where I'm going.


  1. So now I'm back on the internet, it turns out Typhoon Nesat killed quite a lot of people in Manila (maybe here in Angeles too), while I was complaining about not having Wi-Fi.

    I would have been in Manila if not for a late change in accommodation. Anyone who criticises my frequent indecisiveness and drastic changes of heart (and there are a few of you now), take note.

  2. The fun isn't over yet:

    I was planning to go to Manila next. Let's see how things turn out.

  3. Maybe more to come:

  4. well, don't're not the only one pissed off about the situation i also had two local trips cancelled bec of the typhoons now...Pinatubo and Sagada trip, but its ok bec starting Sunday...My off days will be Sat-Sun for the whole month which means I will have better opportunities to get myself included in some group tours to Pinatubo to save a little rather than travelling alone.

    Sucks, but that's the way it is here in the Philippines seems like. I'm used to Southeast Asian hassle free solo tours, where you can just sign up for a tour by yourself and then you'll be in a group tour on that day with other tourists.

  5. Yeah, I wanted to go to Pinatubo - I'll try again when I go back to Angeles before flying out of Clark.

  6. I've been told flights out of Bohol have been cancelled due to the latest typhoon. I'll show up at the airport on Friday and hope for the best.

  7. Dave: Hello, I'd like to get on my flight.
    Security: Sorry, no flight because typhoon. You stay.
    Dave: Drat, that's annoying. I guess you better give me a new visa so I can leave the airport.
    Security: Sorry, no visa for holidays. You leave.

    Dave unlocked achievement Living In Airport For The Rest of His Live. +10xp

  8. Never taking domestic flights again. If a more expensive 48-hour bus ride is the alternative, so be it!

    Let's see if I stick to this principle when I end up in Australia. When do I ever stick to anything?

  9. I hope all of you people clicking on this and making it one of my most viewed posts are aware that it's from 2011 and not breaking news or anything.