The rainy season is well and truly here in Vancouver, B.C. Those who live here know life is going to damp and grey for about the next seven months. The cloud cover will feel like it's merely feet above our heads. There will be plenty of puddles for jumping in and small streams will form down alleyways. You see, it doesn't just rain here in Vancouver. It RAINS. Here are a few tips to surviving monsoon season:
1. While there may be a few days over winter that will require one to wear a winter coat, generally a person can get away with a good raincoat and some sweaters. Make sure the raincoat has a good hood with a peak, unless you like be blinded by rain that is falling sideways. Seriously. Even if it snows, chances are you can just layer up and you'll be fine. Unless you're a wimp, which would make you a bad Canadian.
2. Gumboots, wellingtons, rubber boots - whatever you like to call them, make sure you have a pair. Or a couple of pairs if you want to go for different looks. Like I said, there will be puddles a plenty and the gutters will overflow. Gumboots are your friend.
3. If you have a really good, hooded raincoat you might not even need an umbrella but they're handy to have. Fair warning though, if you're going to use an umbrella, be prepared to wield it. Taking out people's eyes with the tips of umbrella ribs seems to be a competitive sport here in Vancouver. If you're not cut throat enough to blind strangers, at least know how to defend yourself. Forget being a nice guy and lowering or raising your umbrella to allow others to pass - that's just inviting an attack. Instead, hold your umbrella so that you can deflect the potential assailant's umbrella.
4. If you find yourself caught out with no raincoat and no umbrella, don't assume you will have an easy time keeping dry by sticking to walking under awnings on the city streets. Just because people have raincoats and umbrellas, doesn't mean they won't try and keep dry under those same awning. Why they do this is beyond me but I suspect it's because they're assholes. Again, don't bother being a nice guy and try to share the space. You'll only find yourself bullied out from under the cover into the rain and all your hair product will have been for naught. Instead, stand your ground. Don't move to the side for anyone. This might mean walking into a few people but hey, all is fair in love and keeping your shirt dry.
5. As previously mentioned, gutters will overflow. Don't make the mistake of standing to close to the curb when you see this happening because people will drive through the puddle at speed and you will get drenched. Bus drivers are particularly bad when it comes to this kind of behaviour. Just today I saw a girl get splashed from mid torso to feet by a bus driver that didn't even try to avoid the puddle (even thought he had the lane space to do so).
6. Finally, if you suffer from SAD at all, do yourself a favour and get a good sun lamp, start going to tanning salons or get the hell out of Vancouver. Clear skies and sunny days are going to be few and far between from now until the spring.
Fear not though, at least this weather means you won't feel the slightest bit of guilt about staying indoors, watching movies and drinking big glasses of red wine to get you warm.