17 December 2006

The perfect storm

Memoir of the stormIf you're really into this blog, which I doubt, you may have noticed that your intrepid host has not posted anything in the last three days. In part that was due to Real Life™ concerns and, thankfully, fun things to do elsewhere, but the terrible heat was a major factor. The lack of air conditioning in my computer room (which won't be remedied during this summer, unless Santa brings me something I didn't ask for, or the reader helps with a donation) made it impossible to survive in there, and my PC wasn't happy either. Yesterday the temperature in Rosario reached 36 degrees Celsius and the heat index was 43 °C.

Our very own Ayami sensei, which gave me classes during half of 2005, leaves for Japan after two years of serving as a volunteer in Argentina, so she was having her 送別会 (soubetsukai, farewell party). I took a much-needed shower with room temperature (i.e. warm) water, put on as little clothing as decently possible, and headed off for the Japanese Association party room, which has no A/C but does stay cooler than the rest of the building. Food was eaten, drinks were drunk, speeches were given, and just when I was leaving, Valeria sensei, my first teacher, who was trying (fruitlessly) to take in some fresh air just outside the room, noted that a storm was gathering; a few rain drops had already fallen.

By the time I got to the bus stop, just across an intersection from the Bus Terminal, the wind was rather strong. Dirt and leaves were flying; you could feel tiny things hitting your legs and arms. I patiently waited for a bus or a taxi, a bit jealous of the hordes of teenagers who filled the area as they prepared to go to bars and discos (it was about 1:30 AM). A group of people was sitting with a couple of beers in an outdoor table in the bar at the corner of Cafferata & Santa Fe St. Suddenly, a gust of wind blew off the large parasol on their table. The thing took the plastic table, the bottles, the glasses and one chair with it, and ended up in front of a car, which had fortunately stopped at the traffic lights. At this point I started seriously fearing that I could be hit by things more dangerous than dirt and leaves, so I retreated to a safer spot.

To cut a long story short, after a stop in the way via another bus and several failed attempts at getting a taxi, I got home more than one hour later, as the dirt storm had turned into a deluge. Based on my limited knowledge of meteorology, this was the feared pampero, a wind storm that is produced when a mass of cold air from the south meets a front of hot humid air from the north. It blows SW–NE and can be "clean" (wind only), "dirty", or "wet" (or, as in last night's case, first dirty and then wet...). Quite naturally, there are broken tree branches, interrupted power and telephone lines, and obstructed sewer pipes here and there. The storm hit the whole area around the Plata-Paraná river basin, so Buenos Aires got some too.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous16:41

    4 whole days of not writing...you really must be dying of heat over in your neck of the woods! Glad that you are back! :D


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