Wet, Wet and Wetter

Wet, Wet and Wetter

Finally the wet season arrived in Bangkok this week. It has been an unusual twelve months weather wise. The serious floods that affected huge swathes of the country at the end of last year were the worst in Thailand for a hundred years. As I write this it’s late afternoon and the rain is absolutely hammering down. There is nothing unusual about that, but what is different this year is that instead of the rain lasting for about an hour then drying up, this season it just goes on and on. Some evenings it has started at 3 or 4 pm and has still been raining at midnight. Very un-Thai like.

When it rains in Asia it really does rain. Not for us the drizzly, grizzly, grey murky stuff of my home town Manchester, oh no! We get the full on Thor’s hammer stuff. Thunder shaking the buildings and lightning lighting up the whole city. It is magnificent, Mother Nature at her awesome best. The roads flood in minutes to about a foot deep but amazingly after the rains eases it dries up in no time at all. I am constantly amazed at the drains of Bangkok having the ability to move huge amounts of water in minutes.

A few years ago I lived on Sukhumvit Soi 33 in the heart of the City. In their wisdom the powers that be decided that the footpaths needed repairing. All well and good you may think, but that they chose to do this in the middle of the wet season caused havoc. Huge loads of sand and cement were dropped on the streets in the morning and in the afternoon when God brought the water, guess what happened? The cement leeched out of the bags and joined the sand and water, the resultant mix was washed into the drains where it promptly set, like concrete in fact! For a whole month every time the big rain came the Soi was flooded to a depth of about three feet. Now to most people this would be considered a major problem, but to Thai’s it was merely a small inconvenience. The girls threw off their sandals and waded through the water to the seven eleven. Nothing as trivial as a flood will keep a Thai girl from her food.

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None of these incidents even make it on to the local news bulletins never mind the International News. One gets the impression that if this happened in the heart of London, it would preoccupy the world’s news agencies for days on end. It is not the Thai way to make a drama out of a crisis, they just accept it and get on with life as normal. Within a few weeks, the work crews managed to get the paving work done and all returned to normal. Of course the standard of workmanship was shocking and the footpaths were quickly back to the state they were in before the work commenced.

So the weather is definitely changing. Now I don’t know whether or not this is global warming beginning to announced its arrival or just a blip. But there is no question about it, this year my trainers have needed drying out more than any other year. The scientists say it is happening and the skeptics stand like King Canute and ignore the floods. Last year as the floods gripped the whole of the country, hundreds died and millions lost their homes. I just hope it is not a sign of things to come.