The rain hasn’t stopped in Ubud. The second driest month of the rainfall calendar is creeping up to rainy season statistics. Our usual 10mm is already up to 94.2mm and the month is not half over. It’s annoying and depressing. The air is so damp that nothing will dry and even the sheets on the beds feel damp. It’s just an inconvenience for many of us, but the implications are far more serious than first glance would suggest. It’s particularly bad here, but the rest of the island is experiencing unseasonal weather too. Our landlord says that in his whole life he has never known the like. And most seriously, the economic implications are frightening.
Rice crops are now saturated; mould will take hold and ruin the harvest for already-struggling farmers. Those in the know say that the flowers of future crops are being washed away. The entire padi ecosystem is crumbling. The harmless rice field snakes have been washed away, so without predators rat numbers are growing and the rodents are seeking food in peoples’ houses. We have been battling ants. The ants are winning despite our best efforts; we have even pulled out parts of the walls and ceiling to find the nests. Millions of them weaving their trails in search of food. When the apocalypse comes, the ants and the cockroaches, and possibly the rats, will survive.
But not just rice, other crops are suffering too. Mangoes are unlikely to crop later in the year. The entire clove crop up in the mountains has failed. We hear that this year there will be no avocado, durian, or mangosteen and the coffee yield is about half the usual and the ripening pattern disturbed, and therefore unpredictable. Fortunately there have been no reports of landslides yet, but if this keeps up it’s just a matter of time.
The rain may stop soon, and we all hope it does, but for months to come its effects will have an impact on everyone, including visitors who will notice shortages and higher prices.
Rain, rain go away. Come again another day. In the rainy season when we are ready for you.