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Yesterday, I rolled into Guilin for the first day of my vacaton and the town was flooded. Not completely flooded, but you could tell it was a couple of days ago. Roads were washed out, silt was covering the sidewalks, and there were deep puddles everywhere. I wished I had a pair of sandals that I could walk around in for more than ten minutes without getting blisters ’cause I’d have been splashing around in them.

I’d never seen flooding before yesterday, aside from the bathrooms at Sigma Alpha Epsilon after Keenan used the toilet. It was really interesting, and some guys I met said that it happened every four years or so, yet there were still houses in the floodplain immersed in water up to their rooves. There were also many shops with their wares floating about inside like so many dead fish belly up in their fishbowl.

I was ferried around by motorcycle taxis all day, and as we crossed bridges, the drivers often pointed and babbled incomprehensibly about the flooding. I said “Hai . . . Tai duo shui” (Yes . . . Too much water), and then they immediately believed I was fluent in Chinese and kept talking to me. The flooding didn’t really dampen the spirits of these guys, nor anyone else. The attitude around the town made it seem more of an event than a hardship.

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