Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ah!  The rain.  The beautiful rain.  I love rain.

Thunderstorms are my favorite.  It's very hard to describe, but thunderstorms give me a very cozy feeling inside, kind of like a sense of security knowing I'm inside and safe while the weather is violent outside.  

Its been raining for four days.  Sometimes steady rain, sometimes severe downpours, sometimes drizzle.  But it hasn't stopped for four days and four nights.  

Floods are eminent.

I set out with my umbrella to check out our local river at the bridge, just to see how how severe the rains have become.  Luckily the rains have come during a holiday, so I have time to get my camera and record what these monsoons are really like here in Southern Thailand.

The umbrella keeps me relatively dry as I forge down our tiny little path leading to our main road...

As I walk under the tree cover, there's only a slight pitter patter on my umbrella, but as soon as I wander into the open, the pitter patter turns into a loud assault, drumming down hard on the umbrella's taut's not a drizzle, but a steady downpour.

Eventually I reach our main road and turn right, heading towards our local bridge that spans across the Tong river.

You can see the driveway to my neighbors house to the left.  We don't know the man's name, still opting to nickname him after his dog that we fell in love with when we first moved into our little cottage.  "Khun Dab's father," we call him, after his dog who is now deceased, having fallen victim to some local Thai who poisoned him.  

The black thing on the ground is his garbage container.  All villagers have one similar to it, paying 10 baht per month for its use.  You have to get inventive with these black rubber containers made from old tires, or the neighborhood dogs will raid them, dragging your trash out into the road for all to see.  I built a large base for ours, made from salvaged wood I took from a logging site.  The wood is heavy enough that the mongrels can't tip it over.

The large can to the left is where my neighbor burns his trash rather than have to deal with the dogs delving into it.  Thai's love to burn things.  The large white container is a latex tank that he places on the back of trucks to gather latex from some of the local rubber farmers around the area.  Our neighbor is a big-wig in the latex industry.

Here we go down our road, heading west/northwest actually.  At the end of this road comes a tee intersection where if you turn left you head towards the village of Thung Lung, and if you turn right, you head further west, heading into the village of Ban Khuan Niang.

As you can see, this road begins to take a slow downward grade.  We're actually walking downhill right now, but ever so slowly, as the grade is only very slight.  Just before you get to that telephone pole on the right, the grade takes a sharp downward turn, dipping down toward the bridge, which is at the bottom of the grade.  

Rumor has it that the villagers petitioned the village head, asking to have the road leveled, lessening the chance of flooding, but evidently the owner of the land refused, so the dip in the road stays.  It is very inconvenient as it floods every year, sometimes several times a year, and makes the road impassable.  People then have to take several big detours to get around it.  

Here we're taking the plunge down the steepest grade toward the bridge, which you can now see clearly.  It appears there is a bit of water on the bridge from the river, which is clearly rising.

Well, perhaps my observations were a bit premature.  It seems there is'nt actually any water from the rising river on the bridge as yet, but if this rain keeps up, it won't be long.  

To the right of the picture is the area where the local kids swim.  Of course it isn't this flooded when they show up as you will see in some of my other postings.  This water is dangerous due to the current, so you won't find any kids swimming in these conditions.  I hope.

This is the damn to the right of the bridge as you approach it from my house.  Normally it doesn't look like this...naturally.

Whoa!  There you have it!  The water is now over the bridge and over the road, and Mam and I have only been standing here for maybe fifteen minutes talking.  Once the water is rising, it rises fast.  Most of it is run-off from the mountains to our west.  

Sheesh.  What the local villagers won't do for an opportunity to wash their motorcycles.  Heh, they won't be here long as fast as this water is coming up.

Here's a shot of the dam again.  The water has risen at least another ten or so inches.  

Whoops!  Dam is gone!

Here's a shot of Mam venturing down to what used to be the bridge but is now solid water.  Many of the locals stop by to gawk...including us!

There you have it.  Total devastation.  Somewhere under all of this is the bridge and the dam.  This is the highest I've seen it.  Mam and I use this flooded bridge as a rule...if this is flooded, the river in Thung Lung has burst its banks and the Soi's will be flooded soon, which means no school!  Yeah!