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Kathmandu cloudburst

The monsoon gave a dynamic performance this afternoon in Kathmandu. Without so much as a rumble for a warning, the levees in the clouds dissolved, unleashing cataracts, cannonades of rain, to wreak their liquid havoc on the world. Crash-dazzle magic, boom-flicker medicine, sky-bellow symphony spectacular.

On my balcony, I watched the locals gaping from their doorways, the birds taking shelter under awnings. The neighbors filled the courtyards with pots and pans, dangled plastic buckets from the windows. Clean water is a very precious resource here and many people don't have plumbing.

Later, Durbar Square is flooded from the deluge and the locals are draining the shrines by the bucketful, working together, assembly line-style, dodging sludgebombs from mudfighting children. Shopkeepers sweep chocolate rivers from the storefronts, rubbish bobbing in the eddies. The street dogs are frisky, soaking wet and wild-eyed, coats freshly purged of their dust.

The inner city obstacle course is glutted with puddles and the pavements are flooded with sewage. Obsidian lizards with pearlescent green stripes shilly-shally madly through the gutters. As night falls, I make my way home through the wreckage, grinning and covered in muck. I love this silly city, this sopping, stinky city, no matter what shenanigans it commits.


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