Our top seven places where the locals have found the sunnier side of soggy weather
People who live in rainy places can be downers. Relishing nothing more than to bitch and moan about the grey clouds and dark skies, they huddle together in darkened rooms wallowing in their vitamin D deficiency, trading stories of record rainfall (remember January 2006?) and bad hair.
But there are many fabulous things that come from living in a rainy climate that our clear-skied, drier-clime counterparts simply can’t appreciate.
The truth is that those of us living in rainy places are lucky: the abundant fresh water and agricultural bounty that living en vie de l’eau brings with it means that, from a food security perspective at least, we’ve got it made in the shade. (Okay, admittedly, there is no shade—you’d need sun for that—but you know what I mean.)
To prove it, we've compiled a list of the world’s seven most water-logged locales—from Vancouver to India, England to Japan—and why their locals aren't afraid to get a little wet.
The rainiest place in the world has the sign to prove it.
(Image: via Go To Holiday)
Cherrapunji, India: The wettest place on Earth
Cherrapunji, in the Indian state of Meghalaya, is the only place in the world where monsoon rains can be "enjoyed" all year round. These regular rains have earned it multiple Guinness World Records for “Wettest Place on Earth.”
Let's see a desert build a living bridge—ha, didn't think so! (Image: via Funzu.com)
The incessant rains make ideal growing conditions for tree roots that locals have used as "living bridges" to cross the area's abundant rivers. Thanks to the humid conditions the bridges gain strength over time, holding 50 people or more, and some have been estimated to be more than 500 years old!
Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela: Lightning laser show
Lightning and thunder are often the most spectacular parts of living in stormy places. No one knows this better than Venezuelan locals in the Lake Maracaibo area. For 140–160 days every year, 10 hours per day and up to 280 times an hour the skies over the lake produce what can only be described as Mother Nature’s version of a Las Vegas-style laser show, gone wild.
Curiously, following several uninterrupted centuries, the light show was extinguished for several months in 2010 when a drought hit the region.
With little alternative but to embrace their (S.A.D.) soggy state, Vancouverites have turned resentment into veneration, erecting a 65-foot monument to a power greater than themselves, titled The Drop. (Image: Flickr / Leroy Chew)
Vancouver, Canada: Rain religiosity
Meditating on the weather in most places around the world is largely a banal affair, but not in Vancouver, where residents—consciously or not—develop the unique ability to distinguish lime from chartreuse, ash from charcoal, and the subtle variations amongst the many shades of green and grey predominant in nature’s rainy-day palette.
In this way, living in one of Canada’s rainiest cities inspires Vancouverites in their artistic endeavours. So saturated is the Vancouver psyche that a culture of rain is frequently reflected in the local street art, apparel and cityscape, as public art.
What does it mean...? It's hard to see a double rainbow without the echo of a grown man crying dancing in your head. (Image: The View From Dartmouth Office)
4. Dartmouth, England: Home to the double rainbow
The UK is so rainy, it’s even got online “rain radar” for forecasting the stuff. But when it passes, celestial wonders often appear.
Residents of Dartmouth, England, were treated to this double rainbow (above) in October 2010. Dartmouth photographer Andy Kyle was lucky enough to spy what may arguably be the world’s most beautiful double rainbow right outside his office window—its beauty rivalled perhaps only by viral sensation Hungry Bear’s YouTube moment.
The fantasy of every 8 year old is the reality of a group of American hippies living in Costa Rica. (Image: via Thecoolist.com)
3. Finca Bellavista, Costa Rica: Tree-house village
In Costa Rica, rainy skies and fertile soils mean one thing: lush, lush jungle. Deep within the dense rainforest—where the rainy season brings showers everyday punctually at noon—a pioneering group of American hippies has used the rainforest canopy to set up a sustainable refuge away from modern civilization.
From their tree-top dwellings, the Finca Bellavista community has developed a heightened (ha!) appreciation for zip-lines and ladders, which they use to travel to and from homes 25 feet off the ground within the branches of enormous, hundred-year-old trees.
Without the benefit of Costa Rica’s rainy climes—which translates into dense tree cover and a steady source of potable water, among other perks—how else could one build an energy-efficient getaway à la Swiss Family Robinson?
Itty-bitty shorts, fab stockings and shit-kickers are all the rave at Glasto's annual muddy mess of a music festival. (Image: fashioncopious.typepad.com)
2. Glastonbury, England: Best party in the rain
Rain lovers in cities the world over—including India, Wales, Norway and the United States—celebrate their favourite climate with annual festivals, but at the annual Glastonbury festival held annually in Somerset, England, the celebration carries on despite the "favourite" climate.
Glasto, as it's called, is known for its frequent torrential rains and floods—meaning concert revellers must commit to crotch rot and muddy everything if they want to party. And party they must. To keep their feet happy and the dance dancin', it's no surprise then that the festival, via fashion icon Kate Moss, is credited with inspiring the now-ubiquitous Hunter Wellies fashion trend seen all over the Western world, rain or shine.
What other festival has a mantra like Glasto’s “Peace, Love, Mud”—far more catchy than “Yup, Still Sunny!” Sexier, too.
While it probably won't protect anyone from nuclear fallout, a geodesic umbrella may at least prevent the dreaded soggy shin syndrome familar to classic-style umbrella users. (Image: via Nerdnirvana.org)
1. Japan: Innovative rain-ventions
Of all the wet places to live, Japan is probably the best equipped, with waterproof gadgetry specifically designed for the realities of regular, repetitive rainy day living.
Amazing! You know you'd want it to rain every day if you could sport
one of these babies. (Image: via Design Something Blog)
Perhaps the best measure of a culture's adaptability to rain is the tools it adopts to carry on with business as usual. This cool blue rain poncho (below) allows commuter cyclists to keep riding no matter how torrential the downpour—even protecting any kittens that might be stashed in the bike basket.
(Image: via Businessweek.com)
So if you live in a rainy climate and you’re feeling drained by the drizzle, pause... And take note of the good things that come from Rain City living. Celebrate these sloppy, soggy, showery places for the lush beauty and natural wonders they provide—and for getting our passionate, creative juices flowing!