The Big Wet

Trip Start Feb 12, 2006
Trip End Mar 02, 2007

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Flag of Korea Rep.  ,
Thursday, June 15, 2006

Coming from a country that's been in drought for the last 150 years, I guess I was a little unprepared for the notion of 'monsoon season.' "Sure Kathryn. Monsoon season is when it rains for days at a time. Like, you know, a lot." Alas and alack, I was unaware that there would be times when I had to swim to work. Seriously, I've arrived a school on numerous occasions looking like the proverbial drowned rat. The twins (who are 6'5) were also soaked to the waist, which is a fair measure of the flooding. My brand new rainbow umbrella busted through under the weight of the water; it was so heavy I could barely hold the bloody thing over my head. Needless to say, wading through water a couple of feet deep to get from point A to point B is not the most appealing of prospects considering Korea never really got around to building a sealed sewerage system, and the fact that the filth one usually tries to avoid stepping in on the street is now swirling around your feet in a whirlpool of grottery. It forces one to make a very important decision: Do you wear shoes through the floods and teach in trench-foot inducing circumstances, go barefoot through a school covered in kiddy germs, or just cut your losses and wear thongs to work. I personally opted for the latter, they're rubber and don't absorb filth. After my first adventure wearing long pants and shoes through the mighty Han River that was raging through Ilsan, our fabulous librarian Bridget ran out to buy us all slippers. I now have a perfectly good excuse to wear slippers around school all day long: my feet will rot if I don't.
Needless to say, Dorothea MacKellar had no idea what she was going on about when she wrote: "I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains, of rugged mountain ranges, of droughts and flooding rains..."
Australia may have it's share of wetness. I remember sandbagging the Macquarie River in 2000 with my fellow townsfolk. Moments of flooding in Oz bring people together and inspire Pizza Hut to give out freebies to anyone holding a shovel.
In Ilsan it inspires people to drive closer to the curb so as to drench pedestrians further.
Hitch up your pants fellas, it's the human equivalent of the Mexican car-wash. Only in this happy scenario, you come out the other side filthier than when you began. Oh joy.
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