I woke up at about 8, and set about getting breakfast, getting dressed, making tea, and at about 830 it started raining heavily. This was slightly out of the ordinary, as the heavens tend to wait until mid afternoon to open. By 10 I had read enough of my book, practised enough of my guitar and I decided I should probably be getting to work a little early anyway.It was still raining.This wouldn’t normally phase me; after an hour or so the rain is usually quite light, and I don’t mind getting a little damp. Not today, though.
I stood at my window watching the streaming waterfalls that had become the building opposite. A thick grey sheet had enveloped the rest of the view, and I knew that if I went out I would likely be swallowed up by it too. I waited, and waited. Finally at least half an hour later, I felt able to forage out, cardigan over my head (I had left my umbrella somewhere I discovered to my dismay).
“Nam tuam!” said my security guard as I went out the main door. He was hopping about excitedly (I am used to him professionally greeting me with a salute). “Nam tuam!” he said again, indicating just below his knee.
Nam tuam is probably the first word I learnt this time round in Thailand, as I came last year at the beginning of the floods up in the north of the country. I was witness to the panic and worry while everyone tried to figure out and predict what would happen to Bangkok as the water came south.
“Jing lor”. I walked down to the end of my footpath-less soi, past lots of parked taxi’s with their doors open, to witness taxi drivers standing, hands on hips and handkerchiefs on heads. Indeed, a wide river of brown water, just over ankle deep had appeared on the footpath-less main road, my passage to work and beyond.
Two motorbike taxis went past me relatively slowly as I stood and considered my options. I mentally crossed off trying to wade through it (it’s a good 7 minute walk to the skytrain station), and then cursed myself for not flagging down one of the motorbikes – not the safest considering the water, but one has to compromise when one doesn’t want to get one’s feet wet.
For 15 minutes I stood, unsure of how to approach the situation, taking cautious steps backwards, away from the large dull coloured waves that spilled up the ‘bank’ of the new river every time a vehicle decided they could still manage to drive through it. The motorbikes that bravely ferried people across all had several people on them at a time.
Out of nowhere, suddenly a Thai lady popped up and helpfully ushered me onto a mini-truck that was headed in the direction I wanted to go. Unfortunately I had to wade a little to get on it… (why I walked on tip toes through the water, I don’t know. It didn’t help me stay dry one bit) and slowly, slowly we drove, the small truck trying it’s hardest, it’s wheels half covered by water – and I arrived at the station relatively dry, to have the driver “mai pen lai” (nevermind) the money that I offered him!
After many wais and “kop kun”s all round, I got on to the reasonably packed skytrain with a warm feeling in my heart… and a soggy feeling in my shoes.