The towns north of Bangkok are experiencing flooding, but how is the center of Bangkok fairing? I decided to take a boat trip from Saphan Thaksin north to see if the river has broken the banks anywhere.
As you can see, mostly no - it hasn't broken the banks, there are some places where sandbags are holding back the water, and some places where it's flooded riverside houses, but the flooding is not major.
In the north there are housing estates with water up to the second floor, but in Bangkok center it looks OK. As I came back, the water level at Saphan Thaksin Pier had dropped too, back to below the level of the pier.
Thai news is reporting a few breaches of canals. These canals run all through Bangkok, but I think they only flood the road, and are quickly sandbagged. There's a few more days of concern, but even the weather has let up in the last few evenings. You can see this from the video too, the sunset was calm, not the storms and rain we've been having .
Reports of low level but widespread flooding in the north of Bangkok in the suburbs around Don Muang airport.
TV news reports that the water pipe carrying drinking water into Bangkok has damage and water may be contaminated. They say, check the colour, smell, look for any signs of contamination before using it. Bottle water is sold out, I've been using boiled tap water.
Now I think is a good time to remember what we did on the farm before clean drinking water. Obviously we boiled drinking water too, but that often wasn't good enough, since solid matter would still make the water dirty. We used a crystal, that you would swirl in the water, to clean it first. See aluminium sulfate.
These crystals are sold on the streets of Thailand (usually in small hardware/general stores, the kind that sell buckets), they are for water cleaning. Take some dirty water, swirl the crystal in the water and you'll notice the dirt clumps together. Heavy clumps fall to the bottom, and sometimes lighter scum floats to the top.
Don Muang airport is flooded, but the trains are still running, and the news has some amazing footage of trains sliding through a calm sea of water. Which reminded me of Chihiro or Spirited Away, a wonderful cartoon from Studio Ghibli of a theme park for the Gods surrounded by water. Dream World theme park is in flooded Patumthani too.
It also lets me see the flooding without actually getting in anyone's way. The flooding begins just south of Don Muang airport, the old airport (Suvarnabhumi is the current International Airport, which is for the moment safe behind its 3.5 metre embankment).
As you see from the video and the map below, the residences to the west are flooded to knee deep, with some of the lower slum ones completely filled. Some buses are still running, albeit with extra life savers in the back window and a lot of the people were heading home to the flooded areas, just with extra supplies.
It seems some villagers have taken down a sandbag barrier into one of the feeder streams that run through central Bangkok. They thought it would help drain the water quicker, which it will, it will trim a day or two off the 40-50 days to drain from their flooded houses.
It has another added benefit too, it means that the feeder river at Phra Khanong is expected to break its banks (on the map below), with the consequence that finally the streets might get a good cleaning!
Outdoor leisure facilities, there just aren't enough of them in Bangkok. More golf courses than parks, almost no cycle routes, swimming pools in some condos, but few public pools. The government has announced a major expansion plan in outdoor swimming facilities, convenient located right in the heart of Bangkok!
Much has been said about the division between red and yellow shirt politics. Red represents the farmers on the rice farms, Yellow is concentrated on the center of Bangkok and represent the city folk. Well finally, city folk can experience standing in a water filled paddy field all day in the new 'rural life' theme park, located between Phra Khanong and Klong Toei.
But it's not all good news, anti-fungal cream is in short supply and Cassa Khiewchanta has stockpiled most of it, naturally I have guns to protect my supply with poison tipped dum dum bullets and I'll kill anyone who even looks at it, but if you see someone with a bad fungal foot infections why not share your cream with them, for the good of everyone.
Help their sole to help your soul as it were.
[Seriously, Bangkok floods often, it's not as big a deal as you may think judging from the pictures of the floods. Don't let the news make you worry.]
As expected the canal at Phra Khanong in central Bangkok broke its banks in some places. The army are busy sand bagging where the water broke through, but if you're quick you can enjoy this new recreational facility "Flood Land"! Watch the video for what there is to do there, since it's Sunday I had help with the camera and was able to capture a lot more of the flood filled fun.
Nearest BTS Skytrain station is On Nut, follow the tankers down towards the docks, then follow the sound of splashing water and laughing children. See the map for location details.
The Thailand Red Cross is the way that most foreigners will donate money to the Thai flood appeal. They in turn buy food and medicine, and together with donations from suppliers, they prepare red cross bags, each bag tailored to each problem.
For the floods there is tinned & dried food, essential hygiene articles, staples like rice, perhaps a toy for the children, and a small quantity of household medicine; things like paracetamol, anti diarrhea tables, vitamins, salt - essential for re hydration, and anti-fungal cream.
All of this food and medicine arrives in big pallets from the factories, and needs to be packed into individual bags for delivery to the flood victims. An army of volunteers does this work. You turn up, sign in, work the day, they have food for you and water, but in exchange you have to work and it's hard work too. The final packing line is back breaking, the truck delivery men do even harder labour.
Friday morning I wake to a call, good news, the rain abated and the pump has worked, the house is dry! Well dryish, it's not knee deep in water, but it's hardly dry either. Corners are flooded with a dirty brown water. Inside the bathrooms, a crusting of dark brown fecal matter covers the walls. I open the toilets, they've backed up. Yuck.
There's plenty of help around, the village is managed and the office has arranged for workers to help the flooded houses. They lift my bike up onto a concrete seat area of the porch. Bungees secure it to the steel fence. This is as high as it can go, I should have moved it to high ground like everyone else did!
In my videos you may have noticedtherain. Heavy strong downpours that overwhelm the drains, and go as quickly as they came. The living floor of my house is raised off the ground by 2-3 feet, with the wet-rooms (toilets and bathrooms) being the lowest rooms in the house. So a little low level flooding is no problem normally. At worst the wet rooms flood and no lasting damage is done.
Tuesday night we had heavy rain, the water level began rising, and approaching my scooter. My precious scooter! I've only just got it, The bruises have only just healed from my driving test! What if the water gets into my bike?? I move my bike up onto the porch, this is higher than the floods normally reach, better safe than sorry. The rain slowed and the water receded, I'll move my bike back in the morning.
Phuket is expanding very fast and with it, the water supply needs to grow. I thought I saw what is to be a new reservoir being built above Chalong bay, and so naturally I have to go explore it!
Even if its not being built there is a mountain road to explore here, so the journey won't be a complete loss.
When you arrive in the hills, yes indeed there is what appears to be a major damn building project underway here. The hill around has its access road, but the damn itself doesn't even have its footing yet.
The road is missing in places, neatly ending in rocks and soil, but nothing impassable. If 3 wheelers can get across it, so can I!