I'm picking out a thermos for you

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Monsoon + Typhoon = Good Times

Nobody told me that summer is the rainy season - they really should have mentioned that! Depending on who you talk to, we're experiencing either a "monsoon" or a "typhoon," and sometimes both. Having been in LA for some time now, I've really forgotten what summer rain was like. So, when it's raining in July, my body gets confused: summer? rain? I don't get it.

One of the funny things I noticed about Seoul when I first got here was that everyone puts up their umbrellas, even when it's barely misting. The rain is so light that you're not even getting wet, yet everyone is using an umbrella! At first I just chalked it up to cultural differences, because I don't feel obliged to use an umbrella in a light mist. Then, I learned the horrible truth: acid rain. That's right, this city is so polluted that people are worried about the rain ruining their clothes and eating through their skin. The acid rain has been chronicled other places, but to make a long story short: use your umbrella. Always.

Which brings up another interesting aspect of life here: LA has a bad rap in America for smog (and deservedly so, although the smog was supposedly worse in the 60's and 70's), but Seoul puts LA to shame:

Of course, just like LA, the rain (though acidic!) has its benefits: it clears all the crap out of the air, leaving beautiful visibility of Seoul's mountainous terrain.

The downside, of course, is that when the rain clears out the smog, all that crap lands on me...


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