The Rain Before it Falls (after Jonathan Coe)

Bird’s Eye View Central Jakarta

The Tropical Monsoons have arrived. Their imminent approach each afternoon is palpable as the skies begin to blacken angrily and the stagnant, humid air is stirred up by the sudden wind. The tall palms rustle and shake like girls in grass skirts as the first rain drops start to fall. Fat, heavy drops, slowly at first, lento, lento. Then, like an orchestra obeying the conductor’s baton, the tempo quickens from a crescendo, to a full-blown allegro con brio as mighty claps of thunder crash like giant cymbals directly above, shaking the windows and rattling the doors until, suddenly, like a great dam bursting, the heavens open wide and down comes the torrential, relentless rain. Thick, warm stair rods of it. Big rain, the biggest, wettest, rain that you have ever seen. Sheet lightening flashes across the sky making an illuminated backdrop behind the Jakartan skyline , marking out the silhouettes of the cities great skyscrapers and tower blocks, whilst jagged forks of lightening rip vertically, silver shearing scissors cutting through black silk. Rolling, thunderous drums beat to the tune of the pounding rain that falls so rapidly that within the space of 15 minutes, the roads are like swollen brown, muddy rivers and cars are up to their axles in water. Everyone runs for shelter, into shops, bus shelters, tin shacks, down alleyways, under bridges, under umbrellas and plastic sheets (if they happen to be sitting in the back of a pick-up truck). These rains of biblical proportions, last about an hour or so and then stop, as suddenly as they started, leaving a shocked, steamy, saturated landscape in their wake. For a while the air seems fresher, and it’s easier to breathe, and for just a short time the streets and cars are clean and there is a vividness, and sharpness to everything, before the sun then dries it all up, and the dust starts to settle once more upon Jakarta.

Handsome Lion
Jakartan Silhoulette
Standing Flowers

4 thoughts on “The Rain Before it Falls (after Jonathan Coe)

  1. “Big rain, the biggest, wettest, rain that you have ever seen.” And being from the UK, you know rain very well! It sounds amazing.

    What a lovely, poetic post, Lottie. And what’s the story behind the “Happy Wedding” photo? It looks a bit like an advertisement billboard, only made of beautiful flowers! xoxo


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