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One of my colleagues recently shared the above phone video taken at my host university last month. She and I thought it would be a nice addition to the blog. 

What the video shows is the result of a one-hour downpour. It was taken in an area between a classroom building (the green shuttered building) and a covered parking area where students park their motorbikes (at the end of the video). 

This thigh-deep water is not the result of a low area on campus collecting water, rather it's the result of poor drainage on campus. What usually happens is, inches worth of water rains down very quickly, debris (e.g., leaves, trash, etc.) is washed on top of drainage trough grates that are placed strategically along buildings and gutters on the main thoroughfares (inside and outside campus), and drainage rates into the sewers are restricted resulting in water backing up. It then takes hours for the water to drain away.

I got caught by surprise in one of these common afternoon occurrences earlier in September. That time, the depth was only around 10-12 inches. The rainstorm happened at the time I was leaving campus for the day (~3:00pm) and I was caught totally unprepared. In order to get from the building where the Psychology Department is located to the main street, I had to remove my dress shoes and socks, roll up my pant-legs, borrow an umbrella, and slosh barefoot for 300 yards to the main street. Lesson learned: always carry an umbrella and wear rubber slip-on sandals to work on days when there is a rain forecast. Then be ready when your work colleagues look at your footwear and remark “Anh Pon, you are looking very Vietnamese today!” - which I take as a complement, but I could be wrong?

As for the video, considering this water comes from the main road where any and all waste from nearby restaurants are regularly dumped into the gutters and sewer grates, I'm not sure the blue paper-folded “mask” the gentleman is wearing offers him much protection. 

By the way, not surprisingly, during these downpours Grab car rates jump from the usual 3pm rate of 60,000 VND ($2.44) to 130,000 VND ($5.29) due to increased demand for Grab car rates (vs the usual Grab motorbike demand) and the ensuing traffic jams (tắc đường) as motorbike riders stop to put on rain ponchos and cars slow down so as not to create tidal waves that would wash motorbikes away like a tsunami.   



JULY, p. 9

AUGUST, p. 9


OCTOBER, p. 2, p.4