Thunder and rain


They say the next real war will be over water. I wondered about it, as I sat in the bathtub. 30 litres of water probably?

The New Yorker article said Americans use more water per capita than anyone, but I read in the Gulf News that it’s the residents of the UAE who take that award.

When I was watching Al Jazeera International the other night, I saw that rain was likely in the Gulf, according to the chirpy blonde weather girl (sorry fellow feminists, her whole persona is deliberately “girl”).

Sure enough, when I went out today, it was gray and cloudy and raining. How about that – Al Jazeera doesn’t lie ALL the time, Mr. Bush.

Then I heard a vaguely familiar rumbling noise that made me think, for a moment, of guns or bombs going off. Damn, World War III has finally started, and me without insurance on my storage…

Later, listening to Al Jazeera while I pack, I look up to the screen when I hear “Gaza” and the sounds of thunder. It wasn’t raining there, though.

And the residents of Tuvalu, in the South Pacific, have no more than 40 to 60 years before their country is underwater, due to global warming. New Zealand accepts 75 “climate change refugees” a year.

The US accepts none


My Afghan son Ajmal was quizzing me this morning about the security in East Timor. People who watch the news have a vague idea that the place is unstable, because of its violent birth as a nation and because of “the emergency” last summer, when conflict forced foreigners to evacuate.

I told him that, well, Dili is more risky than Dubai (of course, so is Phoenix), but less risky than Kabul. That seemed to satisfy him. “Well, I’m glad you’re finally going to help your Catholic brothers,” he teased me.

Tom and I began living in Kabul just as a seven-year drought was ending – coinciding with the rise and fall of the Taliban. The Afghans said it was a sign from God that Karzai’s administration was blessed. I wonder if they say this year’s snow is a sign that Karzai’s now fallen from God’s favor?

In Seattle I got tired of the rain. It took 19 years, but I did reach a point of having enough. But it took only about 19 weeks in Dubai before I began to miss the rain. I LOVE it when it rains now. People huddle under the awnings and look at it as though it’s cows falling from the sky instead of a bit of water.

Meanwhile, in Indonesia yesterday there was a downpour. I know because I saw a story on Al Jazeera about their mass bird-flu patrols against backyard poultry. Everywhere in the footage it was raining in sheets. A report this afternoon says it’s the worst flooding in Jakarta in five years…

I remember what that was like in the South Pacific, in 1996 when I lived in Fiji. I’d sit in my cozy window seat overlooking a botanical garden, and feel like every little thing was gonna be all right.

I’ll arrive in Timor in the rainy season. Just in time to wash away all my fears of thunder.