Thursday, November 15, 2007


The whole time I've been here in Ho Chi Minh City, waxing giddy about the rainfall we've been seeing, the central lowland areas of Vietnam have been enduring weekly thrashings under the brunt of this particularly vicious typhoon season.1 At home, it hadn't hardly rained in months; I'd been missing weather. I knew that October is the tail-end of southern Vietnam's six-month monsoon, which brings yearly rains. I thought these rains were normal. Maybe they are, but they've also been typhoons, one after another, blowing down Filipino towns to plow across the South China Sea. On December third, Typhoon Lekima diminished into a tropical storm as it made landfall on its way to Laos,2 shedding much of its weight. One hundred thousand homes were washed away in heavy flooding, scores of lives were lost. Since then, the region has seen frequent storms,3 and many affected areas--including cultural Huế and ancient Hội An, a UNESCO heritage city--are still under feet of water. Vietnam's central transit arteries are also flooded out; many tourists in towns along the narrow middle of the country are marooned. The US has pledged a million dollars in aid.4 There are already outbreaks of dengue fever and acute diarrhea, including cholera,5 attributable to these flooded tropics. Okay, okay. If this plight isn't bad enough, the locals in Khánh Hòa province have to worry about the crocs. Rising floodwaters damaged the enclosures at the nearby farm and hundreds of large freshwater crocodiles, raised for skins, have been loosed into nearby Cau River,6 the tributaries of which have now ostensibly extended to include many well-touristed city streets. Soldiers and rangers have been deployed to capture or kill as many enormous lizards as possible as news venues have relegated the whole disaster to their quirky items pages. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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