Thursday, November 3, 2011

See the Water, Photograph the Water

After a wonderful morning of e-learning (okay, it wasn't that bad), I set out on my bike to take a look at some of the flooding that is nearby the house.  The major road near us is Changwattana Road, and I knew that part of it was flooded a few kilometers from the house.

I rode my bike to Central Changwattana (a mall) and made my way against traffic on Changwattana.  Right after I got to Central I realized that I should have take the back gate from Nichada, as it was probably a kilometer or two closer to my destination, and would have allowed me to avoid riding my bike on the road or the rather uneven sidewalk.

The Klong Prapa (klong is Thai for canal) crosses under Changwattana road and is the source for the water processing plants that supply tap water to Bangkok.  The canal is protected from the flood water coming from the other side of Changwattana by a flood wall or dike.  Changwattana and the surrounding area on the opposite side of the canal are flooded, while the other side (my side) is not.  We've had some incidents in the past week where angry residents on the flooded side have destroyed parts of the dike in hope of getting some relief from the flood.  Fortunately they have been convinced to stop, as not only did it do little to relieve them, but it also contaminated the tap water source and caused some additional flooding.

As I approached the canal, I saw vendors of all sorts on the sidewalk and in the right hand lane (by the curb here).  There were vendors selling boats, water boots, water, eggs and all manner of supplies.  There were also army trucks with a very high clearance parked along the way.

I parked my bike on the dry side of the canal, and walked about twenty meters to where the road was flooded.  There were surprisingly a fairly large number of people there, including taxi cabs, motorcycle taxis, and something that I don't see every day, boat taxis.  You could hire a boat to take you into  and out of the flooded area.  The grocery store a few hundred meters down the road was open, although the road in front of it was flooded.  They had built a makeshift sidewalk out of crates and sandbags that let you walk to the grocery store.  Once on the sidewalk, you could walk (as I did) to the grocery store without getting wet.  The only problem was that to get on the sidewalk, I had to take one or two steps in the water.

If you didn't want to walk to the grocery store, you could hire a boat.  There were boats powered by all different types of power.  Some boats had motors, others were paddled, and one was simply pulled by a man walking in the water.

I stayed for a while and took photos of the area.  I returned through the back gate, which is a much safer and shorter route.

I am considering going back in the next day or two and hiring a boat to take me into the flooded area so that I can take photos.  If I do, I'll probably have Tim write a note in Thai explaining what I want to do.


There are more photos on Flickr.  If you click the photo, it will take you to the photo there as well as the rest of the flood photos that I have posted.

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