The thing about living in Bangkok right now, is that you never know what to believe or expect. For roughly a month now, we have been told to stock up on water, on ramen, on the essentials. That, or leave. One of my friend’s mom called her to ask if she had purchased a boat! She had not. There’s been a lot of media hype, a lot of confusion, and a lot of frustration and worry on all parts when it has come to the flood water reaching Bangkok.
Until now, the flooding within Bangkok proper has been pretty limited to Northern Bangkok, pretty far away from where I live. However, things are getting more desperate and less confined. Last week, school was cancelled on Thursday and Friday since many of my students live in places that were already affected by the floods. When I think about the flood, I often think of one of my sweetest, brightest students, Meiji (she even brings books to class to read, just like I did! Nerds will always be drawn to other nerds). Meiji was pulled out of my English class last Wednesday because her house was flooding and her parents came to collect her so that they could help save their belongings on the first floor of her house.
In Koh Phi Phi this weekend (a trip that had been planned before the flooding in Bangkok), I received a text as I was about to board the boat to leave the island. “DSIL will be closed until Friday 28 October because of flood situation in Bangkok and for the convenience of everyone’s transportation in this week.”
So no work at all this week. Further information by one of our overseers instructed us to either stay in our apartments for the next week or to leave Bangkok entirely. To get away. I wasn’t too keen on being trapped in my apartment for a week with 1.5 meter water all around me. Nina, my roommate, is heading to Udon Thani (in the northeast of Thailand) with family. I decided to follow suit. I’ve been meaning to visit Nongkhai since returning to Thailand, and I might as well now. Nongkhai is only an hour away from Udon and a hop, skip, and a jump away from Laos.
I made my way to Hua Lamphong, Bangkok’s main railway station, this morning. It was more crowded now than I ever remembered it. Granted, the majority of the time I spent in Hua Lamphong last time I was there was at entirely unreasonable hours in the middle of the night. My plans were to buy a ticket leaving tonight. All of the tickets were already sold out. So I’m leaving tomorrow night if the waters stay back. There’s no promising anything though.
The bus I spend a lot of time on runs straight from my apartment to Hua Lamphong. On the bus on the way back to my place from Hua Lamphong and lunch in downtown Bangkok, I saw something that made my heart stop. One of the sois (alleyways) off of Charoen Krung Road (one of the streets I frequently travel on, a street parallel to the mighty Chao Phraya, Bangkok’s river) was flooded!
Nina was heading to her grandma’s house on the bus, just an hour after I had returned and snapped this picture:
This isn’t a soi either, this is Charoen Krung! The water has risen considerably in just an hour.
Things have become less and less something I read about on news websites and more and more something that’s happening and affecting my everyday life. All of the 7-11s look ransacked. Stores have cinder-blocked their entrances closed to protect themselves from the water. Water is hard to find. Trash bags are hard to find – people living close to the ground on the first and second levels of their buildings have to shut off and cover their toilets to protect themselves from the sewage that will come up into their toilets.
I realize how completely selfish I am through this situation and I’m kind of disgusting myself. It’s very easy to think about myself and not about the other people who have had their houses flooded for months now. It’s just that these things become far more real when they happen to you.
I have a little over 24 hours before I can hopefully leave BKK. I’ll try and update a few small things from my wonderful weekend, since I can’t really do anything else.