Monday, October 25, 2010

The River

As I've mentioned before in this blog I live next to the Chao Phraya river in Thailand. It is the rainy season  and has been raining almost every day since mid-June. It rarely rains all day, usually just brief bursts of intense rain for maybe 20 or 30 minutes. Then sometimes it will drizzle for longer periods of time. I don't mind the rain at all - it usually cools things off and cleans the air and I like sitting on my balcony and watching a storm blow through.
The rainy season is almost over - the end of October signals the end of the wet season and that's close. However for the past month I've watched the river gradually and steadily rise until now it's well over it's normal banks and is flooding several streets in my neighborhood. It's problematic because of the especially high tides (called king tides) this time of year which slow the water flow to the ocean. And this after months of rain so there's no other place for the water to go. In some provinces to the North there's major flooding as in three to four feet deep in places where it's normally dry. It's not nearly as bad as Pakistan but for me it's a lot closer to home. One of my co-workers spent a day last week moving all his furniture to the second floor, just to be safe. Of course I am dry on the 9th floor of my apartment building although we all moved our cars from the underground parking garage. And there are sandbags lining places in the drive leading up to the building.
Sitting on my balcony I can see that some of my neighbor's are not as lucky as I am. There's a small house almost directly below which sits on stilts as many of the houses do around here. For one thing it's cooler if the air can circulate under the house but the main reason is for times like these of high water. The water level is almost up to the first floor and the raised walkway that is used to access the house is under water although I can see that it's at ankle level. They have their wash drying on lines extending over the railings of the walkway. It is almost surreal to see clothes drying over water. I feel somewhat helpless - as close as it is visually I can't see how I would get there or what I could do if I did. I hope the water starts receding soon but I hear we're in for a couple of more days at least before that starts to happen.
I'm happy to say that my housekeeper, Khun Malee, who lives right on the river, right across from me is fine.
View of some houses across the river with some clumps of water hyacinths floating by.  The water level is high 

If you look closely you can see the clothes hanging in the upper left quadrant of the image. The round leaves in the water are lotuses.

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