project poncho

May 2, 2013


The rains have come. And I’m getting wet. Yes, I know, “Thank you very much, Captain Obvious,” but I’m serious. No rain gear here. So far, I just get wet. Being in an area of water shortages and dust, it’s not at all unpleasant, really. As long as it’s not too cold, which it hasn’t been yet. Instead of being bothered, then, I have just been enjoying the benefits of water conservation [less clothing, body, and hair washing required], and easier workdays [easier for children, and teacher, to stay focused on indoor lessons due to the lessened temptation to be outside]. That said, I haven’t exactly been intentionally without raingear.
Last night I went to a coworker’s for dinner. As we started the bike ride, the sun disappeared and a steady rain began. One of our biking trio had a snazzy poncho-thingy [that’s what I called it, at least, with it’s large scooter/bike ready expanse and a clear space for the bike light to shine through when you were out at night. Anticipating the 30-minute ride ahead of us, I suggested we stop on the way to see if I could find something similar. We stopped at the first roadside bike shop and I went in to ask. The shopkeeper shook her head yes and went to the back She emerged with a package that I started to accept. Then I noticed the picture on the front, with two heads. I pointed to it questioningly and she said yes, it was for “liangge.” Was there anything else, I asked. “Meiyou,” she shook her head. I considered the fact that I would be using this poncho for quite some time and figured I should wait until I found a one-headed option. As I thanked her and walked out, she pointed me towards another shop. I tried the same query there. He nodded, yes, and presented me with a package. I looked at the photo. Two heads again. Anything else?, I queried. “Meiyou.”
Returning to my companions, I relayed the message to them, joking that I thought better of getting a two-headed one, with two of us making our way on one bike so as to make the purchase worthwhile. By that point, though, the rain had almost stopped, so we gave up the search and carried on our way.
Later in the evening, as we said our goodbyes and headed back out to our bikes, a loud crack of thunder sounded and a true downpour began. Uncomfortable with the idea of safely trekking in the deluge at night, I went back in to try to wait it out and, sure enough, it lessened up in a half hour. It was getting rather late by that point, so we headed on out in the slightly-lighter rainfall. And project poncho resumed. There was one shop to try on the way back, since we were going a different route back. I did the same charade routine to ask. Incidentally, I’ve gotten pretty good at miming my way through various vocab shortages. Successfully asked for a mosquito zapper last week, for instance, thoroughly impressing the friend I was with ☺. But back to project poncho . . .
This shopkeeper, as the others had, assured me he had what I was looking for and returned with a package. I looked at the photo and pulled out my money, pleased with the single head I saw. As I did so, though, J noticed something. “Um, you might want to try that one on first,” she suggested. I looked closer and realized the size was “XXXL” Hmmm. Yes, I might just do that. As we suspected, it was rather unwieldy, boding poorly for biking ease. Project Poncho ended.
But as we continued the ride, we talked of how pleasant the rain actually was. A nice respite from the usually dusty air. And I commented on how it was actually nice to know that, since I didn’t plan on showering before the next school day began, I really was going to be more than sufficiently washed by the time we made it home. Yes, once could do worse than be a biker in rainy season.
This afternoon, though, I must admit to eyeing my coworker’s snazzy pink poncho as we walked out of the schoolhouse in the rain. Project Poncho might just have to resume in the very near future . . .

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