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Thai Floods: 1000 Boats? Nope. Just 6 Boats Pushing Flood Water

Thai floods: Six Boats Pushing Flood Water

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.

Thai Floods: Six Boats Pushing Flood Water

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.

Thai Floods: Six Boats Pushing Flood Water

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.

Thai Floods: Six Boats Pushing Flood Water

Shortly after arrival another passenger boat came along. And at a fair clip.

Thai Floods: Six Boats Pushing Flood Water

Thai Floods: Six Boats Pushing Flood Water

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.

Thai Floods: Six Boats Pushing Flood Water

รัฐบาลให้มีการผันน้ำท่วม
rát-tà-baan hâi mee gaan păn náam tûam
The government is making a flood diversion…

เพื่อบรรเทาความเดือดร้อนของประชาชน
pêua ban-tao kwaam dèuat rón kŏng bprà-chaa chon
…in order to alleviate torment to residents.

ขอขอบคุณบริษัทครอบครัวขนส่งจำกัด
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.

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My passion is promoting the Thai language. Fullstop. Oh, and traveling. I'm passionate about that as well. And photography too.

13 Comments

  1. Good article. My GF had blisters on her feet after only a brief exposure to the foul water that filled Rambuttri Road during a heavy rain storm a few weeks ago. I’m glad we’re up north now. Sorry to hear about your feet. You should probably avoid any more field trips for now.

    You mention people peering over bridges but what I am continually struck by is the number of smiling people I see on the TV news shows. Those folks are flood victims after all — in the states they would be exhibiting masques of suffering and anger. I wrote a short blog entry on it using screen shots taken from the TV.
    http://dswarthout.blogspot.com/2011/11/bangkok-flooding-alternate-view.html

    Be well.

  2. Hi Dave. Thanks for your post (enjoyed reading it). Some smiles have continued but Thais are no longer sitting back, uncomplaining. Compared to the Yellow-Red Shirt crisis of the last few years, there is a LOT more bitching going on. And some for good reason. What a mess.

    How I react to the floods effects the Thais I met. Logical. Walking around with a pained expression gives me back the same. But as soon as I noticed what I was doing I tried to brighten up (difficult). And the Thais did too. But really, under the circumstances, it wasn’t always easy to pull off. I’d come across kids swimming in filthy water and smile at them regardless. They were having a crappy enough time of it and did what kids do – play in water – so who was I to ruin their fun. And even if I protested (what I wanted to do) I’d be ignored.

    My feet are a worry because I haven’t found the right solution. If they are still in this state next week I’ll be forced to see a real doctor. But first, I’ll try a Thai remedy – raw garlic. That’ll be… an interesting experience.

  3. Eagerly awaiting–butt pictures in particular. ;)

  4. lol… then I just might take on the project – I need to lighten up and taking photos of butts would do it for me :-D

  5. Cat, great post and insight to what’s going on over there. As many have mentioned (on the internet in general), news of the floods in Thailand get minor, or now, no coverage at all overseas.

    I hope your feet start to mend soon. Garlic sounds like a feasible cure as it’s a natural antibiotic as well as being antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal. So it looks like it would cover all bases including keeping any vampires at bay ;)

    I second Kaewmala in looking forward to the butt pics.

  6. Cat, thank you once again for sharing your amazing insights and photos. You are an inspiration! Please take care of yourself as the foot stuff could be serious business. mc

  7. Hi Snap (and ta :-) It’s just so very odd that a huge chunk of a country can be suffering like this and for so long – with the International press (besides the BBC) mostly ignoring it. But then, this week friends in inner Bangkok said they’ve stayed away from the floods and they are having a hard time getting their heads around the extent of the damage. If all you see is dry everywhere, then sure, it would be difficult to understand.

    Hi Mary! Thanks for stopping by to say so. Each Thai crisis changes my perception of Thailand and having photos to remember is important to me. Oh. And the photos remind me that I’m not going crazy, that this stuff actually happens.

    My feet are showing improvement. I guess all the bad bits have to fall off before my they give the appearance of being healed. While I’m waiting they are not very attractive (but neither is my black toe :-D

  8. Catherine I’m sorry to read about your feet being in such a mess, although your reply to Mary states they are showing signs of improvement. Is it the garlic that’s healing them?

    How Thais keep smiling through this flood disaster is beyond me. Kudos to them and I hope their situation improves very soon.

    Will we see a feet photo sometime in the near future?

  9. Martyn, feet photos? Hehh… no. But I just drove in from Ayutthaya and I have a ton of photos (much more attractive than my feet). Because of the cars parked on the highway and the floods, it was three hours over and almost five hours return. Ayutthaya is a mess (huge piles of rubbish everywhere) but they are working hard at cleaning it up. With smiles (I’m sure you are not surprised).

    I’ll try the garlic tomorrow – I didn’t want to make the two KP’s suffer for what ended up to be 12 hours together, a great deal in a car.

  10. Heya Cat!

    I’ve been meaning to email you and see how you were doing. But then I decided I better check and see what you’ve posted and viola! this post lets me know how you are doing…sigh.

    That said, I hope conditions improve for you and your fellow Bangkokians. I find the whole situation confusing and have been getting information small bits at a time from friends down South.

    In any case, take care. Thinking of you, xxoo

  11. Heya back Lani! I was just thinking of you this morning. There was something about you on FB to do with cats and chocolate but it whooooshed by.

    Sorry I haven’t been over to your places on the web (this flood sucked my time dry). And emails. Ouch. I have a zillion unanswered. If they weren’t about the flood then they often sank to the bottom of my to-do list. How sad is that?

    Bangkok, except for the outer edges, is doing ok. It’s everyone else that will need months of work and attention.

    Here’s hoping that the recovery goes better than the emergency planning and rescue…

  12. It’s really hard to walk around flooded streets, you’ll be prone to a lot of diseases especially those affecting the skin.

    I hope that you’ll be out of that situation soon.

  13. Hello/ Sawadee Khp,, can anyone please get me some info on where to buy the blue plastic longtail looking boats they were selling and useing during the floods ? Thanks my address is kevmo60@hotmail.com

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