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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Jeddah's amazing flood 26 January 2011

I love rain. I love it when it rains. But this is really something different. Jeddah have been experiencing sporadic raining for several days now and today was the worst. It started in the morning around 10 or 11 am and soon after the streets were flooded. Until around 2 pm.. I decided to go home and I knew for a fact that I will have to walk all the way to my house as both Siteen Street and Madinah Road is expectedly flooded.

Thank God there is IKEA plastic back to cover my head.. although I was wet from the rain from the chest down, I was able to keep my head and my hair dry and comfy with the IKEA plastic bag.
However, everything took me by surprise. I was just expecting maximum knee high waters, but that I already got on the corner of Madinah Road and Tahlia street. Upon going through that, I knew I will be in for greater surprise.

Traffic was already building up close to the Baladia wooden bridge and you can see that a lot of cars including big trucks and bus were not moving. Things went from worse to worst... a few hundred meters approaching Palestine Street corner Madinah Road, everything just came crystal clear.. this is no ordinary flood, and it was no ordinary rain.

Near the Ministry of Interior, cars were already left by their owners with alarms set off by water inside them. The traffic has come to a virtual stop. Nobody can pass by this place as water have gone to waist deep. WAIST DEEP...........

Onwards to Balad, the water would only be down a few inches but maintained above knee deep.

I had to navigate in and out of smaller streets, I realized that Madinah Road is lower as the water is cascading with strong currents towards it so I had to find my way away from it.

Alhamdulillah got inside those smaller parallel streets to Khalid Bin Waleed, but not after I accidentaly submerged myself from head to toe!!!!!!

This is after a small incident I had with a Yemeni guy sitting on the side of a big mosque, who I accidentaly wet a bit as I steppeed on a puddle.. he shouted "esh shada.. mafi shoof???" (you didn't see?".. I apologized, but it seems the man had already cursed me with his amazing evil eye... not a second after that, I find myself with a painful leg cramp and all wet... honestly, I thought I was going to be swept by the current.... That I think was my real life encounter with someone with an evil eye.

Anyway, after 3 painful hours of continous walking, I finally got home at 5:30 after leaving the office at 2:30 pm. The underpass in Wali Al Ahd streets were full to the brim again, there were some helicopters hovering above, I supposed from the police to assess the situation.

Traffic was lighter in the inner streets with shallower flooding.

So many students are stuck in their school premises unable to go home. A lot of workers caught stranded also in strange places...

I heard from a friend that there were some portions of Siteen street with chest deep water. My friend and her husband is now staying on the 2nd floor of their home near Abu Sinada hospital as flood water have gone to as high as shoulder deep - totally damaging their properties on the 1st floor of the house.

At the end of the day, we can only say.. Alhamdulillah.. it could have been worse.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Aquaponics - bringing me back to my childhood, with a benefit.

About a few days ago, trying to search for some worthwile projects to do, I discovered Hydroponics - the science of raising plants, as in farming, without the use of conventional growing medium or SOIL. Many years ago, I have seen this on the news. Japanese city dwellers having amazingly healthy and greed garden in the rooftops withouth the need for soil. I thought, well, of course, its Japan and people are inately inventive. Fast forward to 2011. I was sort of drawn, you know, like a deep black hole - drawn, I could feel my eyes growing ever wide watching videos upon videos of people in youtube having their own hydroponic system at home, in an apartment, or with very little need for space. I've always loved plants. Growing up, I remember being the only one among my siblings who would take the responsibility of watering our plants at the front and backyard of our rented home in Cavite. We lived near a river so it really is hard to find the right ornamental plant to grow in a salty environment. We had a big Kalachuci trea in the left side of the front yard that bears white and yellow smelly flowers, and near the road just at the right side of the tall coconut trea in the corner of the front yard was the red Kalachuchi tree, thinner but gave more colorful flowers of bright red, almost like maroon. There was also Melendres, Palmera, Fortune, San Francisco, Espada, White Grass, Kutcharita. In the backyard was mostly vines grown by our 2nd Floor neighbor, Dr. Domingo, who also loves planting.

As I got into highschool, little bit of college and finally worked, I could barely find time to care for the plants and mostly it was my Nanay who would do the gardening. We moved from one place to another until I came over to Saudi Arabia to work, but I would always find some plants around the house because of Nanay.

Now living in Imus, Cavite - we still have a few plants, albeit not as much because of lack of space. I remember a few old orchid plants that my Nanay brought along wherever she moved and are alive until now. I also tried to buy new orchids and other plants whenever on vacation but it wasn't like before.

Back to my research, I just found myself in a sudden positive switch as I discovered, then again another childhood passion = FISH! I learned about about Aquaponics.

When I was young, the river near our house used to overflow to my Lola's backyard and the river water brings with it schools of Asube, Siliw, Tilapia, Bubondat etc. Me, and sometimes joined by my younger brother Gerry, would use traps to catch the fish and put them in bottles. Saltwater fish as they are, obviously, they would die within a few hours in freshwater from the Poso. Only the Tilapia, Martaniko, Hito or Gourami would survive for a few days but also succumb to death after because of, of course, poor living condition. Sometimes I would use the Labangan in the small babuyan as the pool to put the Tilapia, whenever we don't have Pigs to tend to. At an early age, because of the wisdom from my Tatay Ipe, I learned how the male and female Tilapia differs in physical appearance, and I would try to catch a pair hoping to breed them.

Now more than several decades later, I am still carrying with me the bug of plants, fish and animals. After being here in Saudi ARabia for more than 15 years, I don't remember a single time that I did not have a plant and/or a small aquarium with fish and/or a few birds in the flat that I am living. For me, its a part of my life, I have to have a pet.

Anyway, going back again to Aquaponics.... am I glad to have found about it... I AM EXTATIC!

. . . to be continued