This article was originally posted on WomenLearnThai.com.
The Thai floods just keep on coming…
Flood tourism is now a popular sport in Thailand. And even if an area isn’t flooded, you’ll come across people crowded around klongs, leaning over to check the water level.
And if I had the time and inclination, I’d drive around Thailand taking photos of people draped over bridges. But just their butts. Because from where I’m sitting, butts are about the only thing NOT being photographed during this latest Thai crisis.
There are plenty of photos of dogs, cats, cars, houses, but no butts. Think about it.
Anyway… whenever expats get together (and Thais for that matter) the first thing out of their mouths is, “are you flooded yet?” And after that’s out of the way, the comparison about who’s seen what starts in.
Well. I’ve seen a fair bit (and I have rotting feet to prove it). First I drove out to Ayutthaya (Ayutthaya Underwater), then all around the north of Bangkok. And then I took a boat to Kho Kret. I even drove out to the notorious planes sitting on the flooded runway in Don Maueng.
Ok. Except for Ayutthaya, why haven’t I written about these trips? Two reasons. One, I found it difficult to write without spitting fire or spilling tears. Not helpful. Two, on some of those outings I’ve chosen to help those in need in my own way. And that means privately. And going for privacy sort of nixes the sharing.
I haven’t been to see the Big Bag Barriers and most likely won’t. There’s supposed to be a ton of water walking to do before you get there and my feet are already suffering from the bacteria laden mush. Bits are falling off. Seriously.
And truth is, I’m flooded out. Most of us are. That includes those under water, those still under the threat of being under water, and those suffering from fleeing Bangkokians drinking all their beer. And water.
But even so, on Sunday, when the “whatdoyouwannado” question came up, I mentioned the boats pushing water to the Gulf of Thailand. I was reminded again of the boats when they were shared on twitter by Wayne in this photo.
Yeah. The boats are old news and even after the Thai government took all that flack from the public, the boats are still going strong. Six of them anyway.
During the Sunday trip I also wanted to wave at the flood waters in Min Buri where Paul Garrigan’s house is sitting under water. So a detour was arranged.
Reaching the floods, a foul stench filled the taxi. With both of us thinking it was Khun Pissout, in the backseat we froze.
But going through the second stretch of flood water we put two and two together. We could hear the waters lapping at the undercarriage. We could actually feel the force of the water vibrate the taxi. And we could smell the rotting water.
My apologies to Khun Pissout. Heh.
When he’s not flooded out, Khun Pissout lives along a black mucky klong. So I mentioned the (to me) unbearable stinky funk. He replied that yes, it’s bad to live with. But your nose eventually gets used to it. Hmmmmmm.
Arriving in Bang Kapi we did what everyone else there was doing. We stared at the two boats, we checked out the water level, and we discussed the theory of water pushing.
Shortly after arrival another passenger boat came along. And at a fair clip.
So the docked passenger boats are pushing water back towards the Gulf of Thailand and the still operating passenger boats come along and undo their progress. That’s what I was seeing anyway. You?
Back when the 1000 boats started hitting the news, Plodprasop Surasawadi, Thailand’s Science and Technology Minister, admitted that 75,000 more water-driving boats are needed.
Ok, that’s for the huge Chao Praya River, not this little klong. But it does make you wonder what this exercise is all about.
From what I understood, on this klong there are three different groups with two boats each pushing water to the Gulf of Thailand. I’m not swift on maths, but in my thinking six boats just won’t cut it.
So this is more about the Thai government using the King’s idea (originally meant for a much smaller waterway) to show the people that they are doing something to help.
I mean, people have been flooded for months, losing homes and cars and stuff. And lives. So the chugging boats are meant to give Thais something else to think about.
That’s my take on it anyway.
What the sign says…
Watching passenger boats pushing water was a decent enough outing. But you know me. Once I see a Thai sign, I just have to… you know.
rát-tà-baan hâi mee gaan păn náam tûam
The government is making a flood diversion…
pêua ban-tao kwaam dèuat rón kŏng bprà-chaa chon
…in order to alleviate torment to residents.
kŏr kòp kun bor-rí-sàt krôp krua kŏn sòng jam-gàt
Thank you Krop-krua Kon-song Company, Limited.
Thai Floods: 2011…
As much as I’ve resisted writing posts about the Thai flood crisis, I still have a decent number dealing with the floods:
Ayutthaya Underwater: Bangkok Now Bracing for Floods
Bangkok is STILL Bracing for the Thai Floods. Barely.
Thai Language Thai Culture: Primer on Thai Disaster Words
Thai Language Thai Culture: Basic Thai Flood Phrases
Bangkok Flood Info: Preparing for Floods in Bangkok
Thailand’s 50 Million Blue Whales Flood Bangkok
Karn.TV Cartoons: Flooding in Thailand
Thai Floods: FROC’s Highway to…
What else is on my flood agenda? The plan has always been to document Ayutthaya’s recovery. And regardless of what I said, I just might go for a Big Bag Barrier experience. Or take photos of butts. Shrug. But who knows for sure. I certainly don’t.