We waited until September to start our tour through South East Asia. The rainy season was apparently coming to end and we would have just over three months to explore. However, not only did we leave Singapore in a thunderstorm, the most powerful storm to make landfall has just taken place leaving a trail of devastation in the Philippines before moving on to the Halong Bay area where we were just a couple of weeks ago. Thousands have died and many more people are displaced, losing the few possessions they held dear.
While us Brits are known for our obsession in talking about the weather many of us actually have little understanding of the real power of wind and tornados, water and flooding or heat and out of control fires.
Climate had played a significant part in trip planning and in looking at places we would visit, while we couldn’t always go at the best times of year we would certainly avoid the worst. However, it seems it’s becoming harder to follow the seasons and despite reading about weather conditions we simply do not have the experience to know how bad it can really get.
We had already just missed storms on the central coast area of Vietnam as we arrived in Dong Hoi and a few days later as we moved South from Hoi An another storm was predicted. This part of the country is relatively poorer than other areas and it’s tough to see people who already have comparatively little repairing the damage that high winds and rain have caused. I can’t even begin to imagine some of the scenes described in recent events.
We”ll be home in a few weeks as we head back for Christmas before heading out to New Zealand. No doubt we’ll moan about the temperature, talk about how hot and humid it was through South East Asia and may even have snow. What we will also have of course is central heating, double glazing and perhaps even a cosy real fire and a wee dram to keep us warm. We can’t change where we’re born, lifestyle or geography, but even as I will inevitably shiver and grumble (just a little) I am fully aware of how fortunate I am both in terms of origins and my ability to travel.
I can’t change that, for me or anyone else but I can give a little to help in such a disaster.