Sunday, November 13

Home sweet home and the Bangkok Floods

We are back home from our wanders in Thailand.

It is good to be back.
Back with my stuff. I don't know whether this place really feels like home yet though, but I guess home is where your stuff is.
On the way home I was kind of wishing I was heading back to our old farm. It just felt like home there.

But it is good to be back.I definitely felt like I was coming home driving back from the Gold Coast airport to Northern New South Wales. I just need to find a real home here one day. But I'm not too worried about that right now. Things happen in their own good time.

Our Thailand trip was awesome. We managed to avoid all the floods but didn't avoid being affected by the absolute destruction that these floods are bringing to Thailand.

When we first arrived in Thailand we spent a week in Bangkok.


view from the apartment over the "good side"


We stayed in a private apartment. Which was lovely. It was the same price as staying in a back-packers on Khao San road! And it was clean, had a flushing toilet and even a swimming pool!



 It seems that most of the flood coverage I have seen in the media is focused on Bangkok. Of course! Bangkok is the capital and it is where the wealth of the country is, but many other regions have flooded too.

When we first arrived we had planned to go to Aruthaya, a province north of Bangkok where the old Capital city was and there are heaps of Kmere era ruins but we couldn't go as Aruthaya was flooded...it still is flooded six weeks later!


In fact in a bid to keep Bangkok safe the Government has been sand-bagging areas to keep the water out which is causing the flood waters to stay in out-lying areas a whole lot longer than it normally would. Understandably people who live in these areas are a bit annoyed!

But people were being prosecuted for removing the sand bags to save their own parts of the city.
It is all a bit of a mess. Who can say who is right or wrong?

See this article in the Bangkok Post: Big Bag Barrier under threat

The apartment where we stayed bordered two suburbs of Bangkok. One was Sukhumvit, a newly developed business area, on the edge of Bangkok's shopping precinct. The development here is just incredible. Twenty years ago there were still rice paddies here and now there are multi-story, crazily huge shopping malls and skyscrapers being constructed everywhere.

When you looked out the windows of the apartment on the other side you looked down over a suburb called Klong Toei.



view out the window onto the Klong Toei slums


Klong Toei is Thailand's largest slum. Walking along the streets and canals (Klongs) was an eye-opener to say the least. The kids were confronted by how some people live in such utter poverty. I know there are homeless people in Australia and every other country for that matter but we just don't see the poverty and the sad conditions that these people live in. I was amazed at the children's ability to process what they were seeing and to accept it.
The biggest assault on our senses was the smells. The kids were saying so many times each day "OMG! What is that smell!"
I wish I had smell-a-vision so I could share the odor with you.
The pollution from millions of cars, buses, motorbikes, scooters, Tuk tuks is just incredible. A couple of times I thought about buying us face-masks like some of the smarter locals wear when out on the streets.
The odors coming from some of the hundreds of street stalls made me check out the cooking methods. Some of the cooking fires smelled like burning rubber and sure enough they were burning rubber to cook the meals.
The open sewers along the street and the dog shit everywhere, lack of toilets so areas of streets smelled like public Urinals...

But now Klong Toei is flooding too. I read yesterday that Water had started to breach the Klong Toei port.
My greatest fear for the people who live there is the disease and sickness that this will bring. There was a disturbing photograph in the Bangkok Post one morning last week of a local man brushing his teeth in the flood waters.
It's sad to see the political crap that has ensued from these floods. Yes, no, maybe there are better or worse ways to deal with these things.
When Brisbane flooded at the start of the year the Government was criticized for letting water out of the dam and also for not letting water out of the dam sooner; for not having warning systems, for not knowing what would happen.

The PM of Thailand was criticized for the Gumboots she wore when inspecting one flooded area. Sometimes I think politics were created to distract us from the real issues.

The issue here being that millions of people are being adversely affected, that many poor people who didn't have much to start with are going to now have nothing, that these people need help.


The issue is not the brand of the Pm's wellington boots!
Nature is powerful and unpredictable.
Governments are fallible just like the rest of us.

So I did enjoy Bangkok. For the fact that I have never been to such a big city, for it's crazy, madness.

 For the consumerist, tourist frenzy of places like Khao San road.


...for the beautiful temples and art



and all that pollution sure does make beautiful sunsets!





1 comment:

A Blessed Life said...

Welcome home, sounds like it was very educational for the kids as well as fun,so glad you are back safe,and I hope that you are feeling more settled than you were before you went.

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