Saturday, July 05, 2008

When it Rains, it Pours. Or, what Marilyn & Josh did on the 4th of July

Hi everyone! I (Marilyn) apologize for not writing sooner. Since we got here last Sunday evening, I've been thrown into a blur of lectures, discussions, and film screenings. It's been pretty intense acclimating to new bacteria (mostly unsuccessfully, just FYI), finding our China legs (as Josh has so colorfully expounded upon in previous posts), and fighting jet lag in a dark air-conditioned room with a Wong Kar-Wai film flickering.

Needless to say, I've been kept pretty busy, so it was no surprise that the week just fleeew by. Friday came upon us and the prospect of an open night with no wake-up mandate the next morning was both eerily unfamiliar and delicious. One of my program-mates here, Liz, invited us to have dinner with and meet some of her friends. But that was planned for 8, and we got out of another full day of class at 5:45, starving. Really, there was nothing to do but pre-eat! Luckily, some of our other classmates were planning to grab food at this Shanghai eatery about a 10-min walk from our school, so we tagged along.

The food totally hit the spot. See, my stomach's been doing somersaults for at least the past 5 days now, so comforting broth and starchy buns from a relatively clean place were a welcome change of pace from the greasy cafeteria food we've been having. Meanwhile, we're busy stuffing our faces and we notice that there's pretty much a monsoon going on outside. We're hoping it'll subside by the time we're done with our meal.

Sure enough, the rain gave pause so we finished up our food and headed back to campus. We're maybe 2 minutes away when someone in our group (*ahem, Derek*) had a bright idea: "Hey, let's 'cut through' the park!" Maybe there was crack in the xiaolongbao we all just ate, because no one remembered that we were under the tenuous graces of the rain gods (also known as the "government-sponsored cloud-homing weather missile thingies"), so we all trooped along.

I'm told posts without pictures are boring, so here is a picture Josh took of a creature he saw on our detour:

Looks like all is well, right? Sure, the air is a little opaque, but nothing too alarming. Literally 3 minutes after (which I'll remind you would have been plenty of time to get back to the dorms, safe and dry), it felt like the heavens had opened up a new waterpark and were offering free admission to the first 15 million customers. No joke, these were the fattest raindrops I've ever felt in my life. I can safely say that each individual drop had the volume of an OtterPop. Except in this case, they were Wotterpops.

(Word on the street is that the government has been firing these weather missiles into clouds to create rain in a desperate attempt to clear the air for the Olympics. I came to Beijing with that in mind, expecting clearer skies for it, but no dice.)

Okay, so back to our this point, we start cantering through the park at a much quicker pace, but by the time we leave the park to go down this alley back towards campus, our canter is significantly halted by the huge muddy puddles riddling the ground. At some point, they stopped being puddles and were just downright nasty floods of putrid Beijing streetwash. I had to use my iron will to almost physically redirect my brain cells away from thoughts of what might be dwelling in the water that was now sloshing about in my socks and shoes.

I have to admit, at some point it became funny and strangely liberating, running through the streets soaking wet with a group of near strangers (let's face it, I'd known these people for all of 5 days) + husband.

We finally got back to campus and this is what we looked like:

Notice how the fabric of Josh's Hong Kong shirt clings to his belly. That's fierce.

And then there's this one of me from behind, looking like one of those baboon guys.

So, aside from standing around to take pictures, we raced to the showers before the acid rain could do any (more) harm.

After that, we were tempted to stay in, but Liz had already promised her friends she'd meet them, so we were all troopers and made it out to hang out with them, albeit 2 hours late. This time, I wore sandals so as not to soak another perfectly good pair of shoes in Beijing street juice.


Tawny said...

lol. good post. i love your choice of words and phrases. government weather missiles really exist?--i was under the impression you came up with that on your own with your witty mind.

also, how did you manage to keep that portion of your pants dry with the rest of the pants soaked?!

tamela said...

haha... oh man, berkeley should get some of those missiles to get rid of fog at the fireworks :) thanks for giving me something hilarious to read while i fold the bulletin, marilyn :)

Mind of a Stranger said...

Wow, poor Marilyn and Josh. I was caught up in the rain too that day, but I had the bus standing about half a block from where I was. So no biggie. :P
Anyhow, glad to see you guys again! Missed you so much! ^^ And thank you for trying to please all of our demands last night. I know it must have been hard.:) So take care and hopefully, we all can go and eat kaoya, hahaha?

Bae0wolf said...

haha i like the semi prom pose marilyn's doing in that group shot. I want to have a couple missiles like that for this dry desert ha

Jerry Yoon Photography said...

oh man oh man, i totally didn't know this blog existed until just now. i'm so excited i'm about to do something crazy.

Jared said...

I love this line: "Notice how the fabric of Josh's Hong Kong shirt clings to his belly. That's fierce." It makes me giggle.