Tag Archives: weather

When it rains, it pours

4 May

“Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work.”

~ Mark Twain

Over the last few weeks whenever I’ve spoken* to my host-mum about the hot weather, she’s told me that, without question, it will rain on the third of May.

*Ok, ‘whinged’ would be a more accurate term.

I have to admit that I was a little sceptical. It seemed like a very specific forecast when we were still weeks away from the date.

“Emma,” she assured me, “if it doesn’t rain on the third of May it means the world is ending.”

“It’s rained on the third of May every third of May for my entire life.”

It’s hard to argue with those sorts of statistics, but I have to admit I still wasn’t entirely convinced. More fool me.

On Thursday night (2 May) we arrived home just before 10pm. After a hot day the skies had clouded over. In the distance we could see flashes of lightening and we could hear the low rumble of thunder.

I joked that it looked like the weather was getting ready to fulfil the 3 May prophesy. My host-mum agreed, saying that as soon as it’s one minute past midnight it was going to pour.

We didn’t need to wait that long. At about 10.30pm one of the biggest electrical storms I have ever experienced began in earnest. It was incredible.

As I cowered under my blanket I wondered if the fact that Tegucigalpa was in a valley made the thunder louder due to some sort of amphitheatre effect caused by the surrounding mountains. When yet another huge simultaneous thunder-lightening combo cracked directly over my head I decided that this wasn’t the case.

It was just one big, bad-ass, mean, mofo of a storm.

It raged for hours. After about 20 minutes we lost power so I was able to ‘enjoy’ the rather frightening lightening show while sitting in the dark. I didn’t have the amazing views shown in the below photo, but it was quite the show nonetheless.

Image courtesy of Diario El Heraldo (David Cediel)

Image courtesy of Diario El Heraldo (David Cediel).

At one stage it seemed like the storm had passed, however an hour or two later it started up again, although this time, thankfully, not right over the house.

The next morning my host-mum had left for work before I got up. I sent her the following text:

Last night, I wanted to send you this message: Ok, I believe you. It always rains on the third of May. You can make it stop now!

This was her cheeky response:

Yes, I can see that. haha… I also wanted to scare you a little…that’s why as well as rain I sent lightening and sparks

She later also explained to me that 3 May is called El dia de las cruces (the day of the crosses). People decorate wooden crosses with flowers and coloured crepe paper to welcome and celebrate the beginning of the rainy season. And as we now know, it always rains on the third of May!

Image courtesy of Diario El Heraldo

Image courtesy of Diario El Heraldo

When Tegucigalpa woke on 3 May the workings of the storm were evident all across the city. There were blackouts, fallen fences and billboards, roads covered in mud and debris, 45 houses flooded, three homes and four tenements destroyed and two people missing. Jeepers!

I had wanted it to rain, but this wasn’t quite what I had in mind. I guess it just goes to show that you need to be careful what you wish for.

And that you should listen to your host-mum; she’s always right!

Feeling the heat

2 May

“Good morning is a contradiction of terms”

~ Jim Davis

It’s 7:35am and already it’s 22 degrees heading towards the day’s top of 30. Like most taxis, your driver’s car doesn’t have air conditioning. As you sit in traffic that is at a horn-honking standstill you can feel sweat start to pool wherever your bare arms touch the synthetic material of your bag.

A huge truck idles in front of you belching black fumes. You shift uncomfortably in your seat and wonder how long it takes to be poisoned by carbon monoxide. Your taxi driver starts honking his horn, but it’s a futile gesture; you’re not going anywhere fast. Or anywhere slowly for that matter.

Welcome to peak hour traffic in Tegucigalpa, folks!

Last night’s ‘low’ of 18 degrees made it difficult to sleep, so I’m overtired and cranky before the day has even started. I arrived at the office feeling like I needed a second shower and with the beginnings of a headache.

At least today we’re heading towards 30 degrees. That makes a nice change.

I’d almost stopped looking at the forecast because for the past few weeks every day it was 32 degrees. Sometimes a sunny 32 degrees, sometimes a dreary 32 degrees, sometimes an intermittent clouds 32 degrees, but always 32 freaking degrees.

I’m not sure if the two-degree difference will be noticeable, but there’s always hope. The rains are meant to start in May and with them come cooler temperatures. I can’t wait. I’ve never been a fan of the heat and Honduras hasn’t changed that.

My first task at work each day is to compile our media summary. This involves looking at all six major news websites for articles about children’s rights, development, education and protection etc. and compiling them into an online newsletter.

Scanning all the news sites means that I’m always well-informed about the latest happenings in the country. This is not necessarily a good thing. One of my host-mum’s friends says that she doesn’t read the newspaper here because she finds it too depressing.

Today on the front page of just one of the newspapers I scan (La Tribuna) were the following stories:

That´s a fairly standard morning’s news. If it’s been a particularly bad 24 hours, sometimes they roll all the homicides into one article. For example: 17 people killed on Sunday. (Sadly, that’s a true statistic from a couple of Sundays ago.)

It makes for a cheerful start to the day.

Now where’s my coffee? I need a hit of caffeine, aka anti-cranky juice!

Dreary Tegus, colourful hammocks and mighty Olimpia

17 Apr

“Miscellaneous is always the largest category.”
~ Joel Rosenberg

Hi folks. It’s a mix bagged of miscellaneous musings today.

Dreary Tegus

I laughed out loud when I saw the weather forecast on my phone yesterday.

DrearyTegus

Dreary. I’ve never seen that descriptor come up before.

It is accurate though as it’s fairly dull here at the moment. Smoke from all the incessant forest fires is blanketing the city. And it’s not just Tegus. For the whole 5-hour drive up to Tela last weekend there was no end to the opaque haze.

I read a news article the other day that said the smoke is unlikely to dissipate until the rains start. We’re expecting the rains to come in the first week in May. Hopefully they will clear the air and make things a bit more pleasant.

Colourful hammocks

It may cost five times as much to mail a hammock home as it will to purchase one, but I’ve decided that I cannot leave Honduras without a hammock of my own. Here’s a snap I took of a hammock stall by the side of the highway on our trip down to San Lorenzo.

Colourful hammocks

I love the colours! They’re so bright and cheerful. I don’t know what sort of apartment or house I’ll rent when I get back to Australia, but it’s definitely going to need room for a hammock.

The hammocks made with a wooden pole at each end are bulkier, but much more comfortable. So despite the increase in postage I think this is the sort I will buy. I’ve spent many hours on the hammock at our house in Valle de Angeles. And I can foresee spending many more there in the coming months. Bliss.

Mighty Olimpia

I’ve now taken the plunge and picked a Honduran football team to cheer for. Although I didn’t really have much choice in the matter.

Lombardo, the 15-year-old son of the lady my host-family employs to look after my host-grandparents in the evening, asked me the other day if I had football team. When I told him I didn’t have one yet he promptly gifted me his Olimpia chain.

Olimpia

He’s such a sweet and generous kid. After discovering that I can read in Spanish, as well as speak it, he’s also loaned me his favourite book, Querido Yo. I’ll have to write up a book review once I finish it.

I double checked with Lombardo to make sure he really wanted to give me the necklace, and he told me he had a second one at home and that if I was going to cheer for a team it had to be Olimpia.

It turns out they’re the oldest team in Honduras (they celebrated their 100th anniversary last year) as well as the (disputably) most popular.

My new necklace has caused a little bit of controversy in the office though. I’ve now discovered that my boss is an unwavering Motagua fan—Olimpia’s biggest rival. Oops.

It’s always good to have a bit of team diversity though, right?

Feeling hot, hot, hot

25 Nov

“What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.”

~ Jane Austen

Despite occurring in December in my part of the world, summer is not on my Christmas card list. I simply adore autumn, get a kick out of Canberra’s chilly winters, and tolerate sneezing my way through spring, but summer and I are not friends.

I hate the heat. Can’t stand humidity. I spend most of summer (when not indoors with the AC blasting—sorry environment) in a hazy fugue counting down the days until it’s over.  Anything more than about 24 degrees Celsius and I start to feel like a wilted flower.

So why I’ve decided to head off to a Central American country where it’s hot and humid almost all year round is a question I asked myself many times today. We’re starting to head into summer and Canberra’s top temp today was 33 degrees.

And I felt all 33 of those degrees! We’ve had reasonably mild weather recently so today’s heat was a bit of a shock to the system. And it made me worry a little about how I’ll cope with the weather in Honduras. (A lot of whining and moaning about the heat, I expect.)

The internet research I conducted this afternoon—in a hot and bothered stupor—informs me that the average monthly temperature in Honduras ranges from 25 to 30 degrees. The average monthly humidity ranges from 60 per cent ­to 80 per cent.

So it’s actually not quite as ‘bad’ as I was expecting. Still much hotter than I prefer, and I’m sure I’ll still whinge, but maybe not in every blog post. Just every second blog post. 🙂

Do you like the heat? Or are you a sane person like me and prefer cooler climes?