Written by Marissa Pham
I think it is safe to say we all faced some pretty heavy extremes during our trip when it came to weather. Being SoCal natives, we don’t know ANYTHING about rain or humidity when we’re encompassed in sunshine all day, every day. So feeling the rain for the first time on our hike back from the river during our second day in Mastatal is an experience I will never fully be able to capture again. As we trekked up the giant, red-soiled hill in the 85°+F temperature, these huge raindrops began to drop one by one, and by huge, I mean massive. These raindrops had to have been at least half an inch in diameter! The raindrops continued to come down slowly and gracefully. Once we had reached the top of the hill and come back down to the main road, there was a small section of concrete paved on the side of the dirt road where we could see the rain meet the pavement. The strange thing was the pavement looked completely dry as rain continued to splash on it. After watching closely, we realized that as the water hit the ground, the air around us was so hot, it was causing the water to almost instantly evaporate after contact! We could literally watch a raindrop hit the concrete, and watch the dark, wet mark slowly disappear within about five seconds. It was incredible to watch it happen so naturally. In an area where this is normal, we were all incredibly baffled when we realized this isn’t something we would ever see back at home.
Moments after we made it back to the farm, we realized how lucky we actually were. Just minutes after we had arrived, the rain started coming down in sheets. The power of the rain was unbelievable. The drops were coming down so forcefully, it sounded like hail as it hit any hard surface. But it wasn’t hail, obviously; they were huge raindrop pellets. Listening to the rain hit the earth was thunderous, and looking out, you couldn’t even see rain falling because there was so much and it was coming down so fast. But stepping out from shelter, we could feel the difference in nature from a different part of the world. Seeing, feeling, and listening to that rain was proof to me and proof to many of us that our environment is capable of more things that we can imagine.
As the rain came to a halt, the world around us seemed to be at some kind of ease and serenity. After hearing what sounded like constant thunder for about twenty minutes, everything seemed so peaceful, it was almost surreal. Looking out toward the hills from the kitchen, there was a strange fog rolling over that looked ready to devour anything it its path. It was scary at first, until we discovered that it was actually mist emerging from the evaporation of the rain from the heat. We were literally watching the effect of water evaporating before our eyes.
Needless to say, it meant the humidity level cranked up over one hundred percent. It was okay, though, because although we were drowning in the moisture in the air, we had witnessed a part of nature that many people would never get to experience. We discovered something new this day, and we all felt something beyond words.