Monsoon season, a time for love.

2 06 2011

By Sarah Lombardo

It’s 1:45 in the afternoon and over the past 5 minutes the sky has turned from one reminiscent of a tropical paradise – a striking blue background with white puffy clouds framing a brilliantly warm sun – to, well, one reminiscent of a tropical paradise – gray and wet.

Resting just 6 degrees above the equator Sri Lanka, like most tropical countries, has exactly two season: wet and dry.  Ok, I’m not being totally fair.  Apparently there are actually two monsoon seasons; the Maha that occurs in the North and East from October through January, and the Yala monsoon in the South and West from May through July.  Being in Galle (located on the southeastern coast of the island) means I’ve landed myself in the best possible spot to enjoy the 3+ meters of rain that will come tumbling from the sky during my 9 week stay.  Excellent.

Monsooning from the Leijay patio.

I grew up in Southern California, so I’m really quite terrible at navigating weather that isn’t sunny, dry, and between 65 and 85°F.  I don’t fully understand the tradeoffs of umbrellas vs. rain jackets, I’ve never owned a pair of Wellies, and I can’t drive in the snow.  So it’s probably no surprise that all of this rain (we’re on our third torrential downpour of the day) has essentially stranded me at Leijay.  Sometimes I get bold and venture out of my room to sit on the deck for a better view of the rain and a stronger Internet signal, but for the most part I’ve been sitting on my bed grappling with Stata 11.0 (a statistical software program).

The nice thing about these deluges, however, is that they never last very long.  In fact it is now 2:15pm, the rain has stopped and the sun is shining again.  I use these small pauses to break from my work and wander around the Leijay garden with my camera in search of birds and attractive flowers (both of which are in no short supply).  Such was the case earlier today when I followed a familiar (but as yet unassigned) chirping noise to a dense corner of the garden, near a tree with purple flowers.  I was attempting to photograph this funny little blue bug that seemed to be trying to wiggle it’s way into a dead flower when something caught my eye.  Having just watched several small birds dart from the purple flowered-tree moments before I assumed it was another feathered friend and leaned in closer, searching for movement…

Blue wiggly bug.

Wrong.  Very wrong.  Snake.  You can see his picture below.  After a few minutes of online sleuthing I’m going to guess either Sri Lankan Rat Snake (Ptyas mucosa) or the Olive Keelback (aka. water-cobra).  Don’t worry, a dinner between these two would consist of mosquito larvae (how in the world do they even see those things?), toads, tadpoles, rats, birds, lizards, turtles, and such, and neither is considered dangerous to humans (not that its danger level really has any influence on my current or future plans with Mr. Snake).  And, according to Wikipedia, the Olive Keelback breeds during the monsoon season.  At least the heavy rains aren’t a downer for everyone.

That's Mr. Snake to you!

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One response

3 06 2011
lysa mackeen

Great Photos! I admit that I’ve never thought about a snake’s view of monsoon season before. Kudos on holding the camera steady when the bird turned out to be something else entirely.

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