Torrential Chengdu

Not usually one to broadcast the weather, but the torrential storm that struck Chengdu this afternoon is one for the record books.

The rain came down with an intensity I’ve never experienced in Chengdu. The force of it was so incredible I could only gape and shriek.  The city transformed into a swimming pool in a blender. The entire sky went grey – thunder, lightning, the whole bit. There was so much water you could hardly keep your eyes open. Waves formed across the street and the rain was lashed up in huge gusts of wind. Waterfalls cascaded from the rooftops. The city flooded.

As I was riding home through the storm, I had this kind of joyful feeling wash over me that everybody was having this collective experience. Rich or poor, young or old, local or laowai, the force of nature strikes you just the same. All completely shocked and soaked – people were all smiling, shrieking, grimacing and swearing. Traffic wardens, people at the bus stop, delivery guys, all of us caught in the rain and totally drenched, everyone in it together.

And like the rain, the WeChat posts came flooding in. No app does sharing of unsubstantiated video content faster than WeChat. I’ve compiled some of the most impressive ones here for you to see how nuts it really was.

When the rain subsided, a huge rainbow appeared in the sky and everybody went back to what they were doing before. There will be a huge clean up for some, days even. But for that brief period, as the skies opened and let loose, everybody from the shops to the streets put down their phones, looked around to catch someone’s eye and say, “哇靠.”

These are the moments that bring us together.