Monday, May 29, 2006

Let It Rain

Let it rain.

Well, I have made a big deal about the dryness and lack of rain here, and even said in my column a while back that I doubted there really was a rainy season at all. So I need to fess up – we had a lot of rain last week, including a big storm that blew in Friday and lasted off and on until Saturday afternoon. At its peak Friday evening and night, it rained like hell, like cats and dogs, huge sheets pummeling everything.


I was actually out on the town Friday night, going straight from the adidas basketball camp to meet some people for dinner, then hook up with those guy I met a few weeks ago who lives in Hogn Kong but is here often and wanted to play guitar.. long story and the night became a clusterfuck of missed meetings, packed restaurants, flooded streets and no cabs due to the inclement weather, but still…

God it was nice to have that rain. Saturday afternoon, the rain petered out and by the afternoon it was somewhat sunny and we went to town, took the kids to Ritan park, one of their favorite spots. Everything looked, smelled and felt totally different – clean and crisp. A really, really nice and quite dramatic change of pace. The weather also blew the pollution right away and we had some nice surprises in store – mainly that we could actually see mountains from our house.

Mike Allen, a WSJ Page One editor, was visiting from NYC. He came out to our house Saturday night and then we went to dinner nearby. Giving him a tour of the house, we stepped out onto the third floor balcony –which we almost never do – and were shocked by the sight of mountains looming to the Northwest. I did admittedly pause and wonder for a moment whether we could always see them if we just looked.

But a bit later, we went out to dinner at the Orchard, a nearby restaurant that I think I have written about before. We made a turn onto the country road that take us there and bam there were the mountains again, visible to both the North and the West and not looking very far away. Stunning. We go there almost once a week and the mountains have definitely never been visible before. It was really beautiful. It was sunset and the sky was a glowing orange/pink and the fields were glistening and nothing was dusty, and those mountains looked so gorgeous and so close.

The last two days have been dry and clear and hot, blue sky but the pollution creeping back in. But at least I now know that it does rain here every once in a while and have some sense of what things look like after the dirt and dust have been washed away.

To make a long story short, I did eventually hook up with this guy Joe Simone the other night and after jamming at his friends’ apartment f r an hour or two, we made our way out to this bar where our mutual friend matt Forney’s bluegrass was playing (same guys I played with last week). We got there pretty late and after their set was over, Joe and I and Matt played about four songs with Matt Roberts, the bass player (upright). We finally had to stop because the latter’s fingers were about to fall off. After all the earlier messes, it was a good night, and a late one that did not do much for my lingering cold or hacking cough.

I still made it up the next morning to coach Jacob’s Sports Beijing soccer team in a drizzle on a soaking field. He is getting really pretty good. He had another game yesterday, for the Dulwich School team, their second away game, at the Japanese School, which they won “three-nil.” He spent the afternoon eating chicken wings, French fries and ice cream the pool with Caroline and was in hog heaven.