|View from the top floor of my building|
It was the sound of rain that woke me up at 5.18am. Rain, drumming on the windows of my porno flat and splatting on the concrete outdoor space right beside my front door. As I started with the sound of it, I felt a little confused - for a moment there I thought I was at home in Melbourne.
But this was rain - rain in Bahrain! The rain in Bahrain falls rarely on the plain - that's for sure. I'm told it only rains here five or six days a year (isn't that just my luck, I adore the heat and I'm desperate for warmth, and it's raining instead).
I pushed myself out of bed and into my gym clothes before I had time to talk myself out of it. (I've not been to the gym in four days - sheer laziness, I admit). Heading out the front door, I breathed in that fabulous hot metal and lightning smell of ozone that comes with every storm. I love that smell. If someone made a perfume of that smell, I would totally buy it.
For the next 45 minutes I pounded the treadmill while half-hoping the building wouldn't get struck by lightning, and half-watching the storm thundering on around me as the lightning forked down around all the skyscrapers. It was quite fantastic, with leaden clouds and an unusual greeny-grey light - and eleven stories up, I was in just about the perfect viewing position to see it all.
When I gave up running out of sheer boredom and started on some light weights (I might as well, they're all here in the gym in my building, and it's a shame just to use the treadmill and nothing else), I could hear the sound of children shrieking with excitement in the streets. Looking waaaaay down to the ground I could see a bunch of them splashing around in the water and the monstrous earth-swallowing lakes that were forming on the vacant lot next door.
When I went back to the flat for my shower the thunder and lightning cranked up a notch, and I actually waited a good half hour before turning the water on. Why? Because I had visions of being electrocuted under the flow of water, you see, and my brain was crowded out with images of dying here, away from My One True Love and home, and not being found for a few days because I live alone, and then, the godawful horror of being found dead and naked under a running shower - by Biju, my little Indian building manager. Oh my wordy lordy no, it was enough to put me off showering for good. So I made my lunch instead (healthy, healthy me) and waited for the storm to pass.
Later in the morning, driving was a real challenge, every car had their hazard lights on. Like Dubai, Bahrain doesn't really have a drainage system - it doesn't rain often enough to warrant one, and after all the place is built almost entirely on reclaimed land, and the water just seeps through the sand. So it means that when it rains, there's nowhere for the water to go, so you end up having to wade or drive through great rivers of dirty slushy sandy muck. All the cars were crawling through water that was thigh-high in places, and doing it at a snail's pace. It took me 45 minutes to go a total of five kilometres. Gah.
Within an hour the clouds had vanished like they'd never been there in the first place. The sand is already bone dry. But my car is clean for the first time in three weeks, and the leaves on the trees are green again instead of covered in dust, and the whole place looks brighter and fresher.
Even RAMEE SUITES-2 even looks better for having had a wash .....