Caught in the rain!
Be careful what you wish for. Nothing is a perfect circle. That’s life.
How we wished for rain the week before!
A deluge of blessed beautiful water would put out the fires in Sumatra and wash down all the smog particles floating in our air. It would put to rest our worries about the haze returning once the wind changed. But, much as we prayed, the rains didn’t fall. On Monday morning, Heart Guy and I jetted for Vietnam still worrying about whether the haze would be back and it’s effect on the Kid, who’s asthmatic and whom we’d left behind in Singapore.
The air was grey in Vietnam too. Not from haze, but just the general smoke and carbon from the motorbikes and humidity. When we got to the Delta, we breathed a little easier. But still the air was muggy. At the open-air restaurant where lunched with the countryside kids we give scholarships to, our sweaty clothes stuck to our skins. “Oh for some rain,” we muttered to each other, all the while wondering at how the kids managed to look so cool and collected in the starched cool uniforms they’d togged themselves up in for our benefit.
It was still stifling when we got back to Saigon on Thursday afternoon. To chill, Heart Guy and I climbed on his twenty year old motorbike and trundled off to the neighbourhood ice-cream shop. I had some hand churned ginger ice-cream. He ordered a banana smoothie. We must have been a sight, a white haired man and a grey streaked lady across at a café table relishing their icy cold snacks surrounded by kids and young expatriate mothers But we didn’t care. The ice-cream was cooling us off. We rode home in a light drizzle feeling years younger. And then, five minutes from home, the monsoon blew in. By the time we got to our front door we were soaked through and wind was bending the banana trees at the entrance of the house at right angles and threatening to snap them all the way through. The floor of the upstairs foyer, where we’d left the French doors open to catch the breeze, was already flooding.
We dried ourselves and mopped the foyer. Then we called our friends to switch dinner from the al-fresco restaurant we’d originally scheduled. Somewhere nearer too, we decided. We didn’t want to risk getting stuck in the flooded traffic clogged roads.
We got what we wished for – rain! We also got a whole lot of inconvenience besides.
The airspace above Singapore was a beautiful clear blue. As we prepared to land though, we had to descend into cloud cover. We saw a light drizzle through the airplane window. A smooth landing into rain we thought as we chatted idly with the young girl next to us. And then suddenly, we felt a lurch in our stomachs. The plane engines whined and revved. We were rising again, and quickly.
“Aborted landing!” Heart Guy gasped.
“Mmm, yes….” I mumbled, not wanting to think about it.
Ten minutes later, when we were once more up in the beautiful clear blue, the pilot announced that a sudden storm had blown in just as we were preparing to land. We circled for another quarter of an hour before touching down. It was raining lightly. There was no sign of the storm that might have sheared off our wings less than half an hour before. My only memory of the near-brush with danger is a crescent shaped line of red on the back of my right hand, where my left thumb had dug into during the plane’s terrifying climb upward to safety.