03 November 2011

Missions Accomplished

.
3 November: Two major accomplishments today: Immigration Office visit and paperwork done, and a bridge built over our polluted knee-deep water surrounding our house.
.
I did virtually nothing to contribute to these successes. Tuk went with me as a guide into the heart of Bangkok, and her cousin did the last miracle.
.
Considering how messed up transportation is due to many roads closed by floodwaters, it is a creative nightmare linking up the means to get around. There are no express boats for the time being and few taxis on flood zones. From our flooded intersection at the police station, Tuk contacted two motorcycle taxi drivers to take us over the bridge on the great Chao Phraya River. I haven’t been on a fast open-road cycle ride in a long time, and it was fantastic. From there we lucked out to find a regular taxi to take us straight across the city to Immigration. People will do anything for Tuk.
.
Immigration at the old office was more than the usual chaos, but the job was eventually finished. Traditionally, when completing frustrating Immigration visits, I would take Tuk to The Hard Rock Cafe, but today I took her to an expensive restaurant called Café Chili, Northeastern Thai food, the really good spicy hot stuff. It brought tears to my eyes. We got home via taxi, then bus, then walked the rest of the way through water.
.
A really pleasant surprise awaited us when we returned home. The husband of Tuk’s cousin fixed a walkway bridge above the horribly polluted water that surrounds our house and our neighborhood block like an evil, smelly, stagnant bog. It is actual sewage plus.
.
Our problem had been leaving and entering the house while wading through the filth. Once you get to the main sidewalk, it is a series of temporary elevated walkways that take you to the main intersection. The water in the intersection is sometimes deep, but it is moving and is thus not as fetid. This new walkway leads from our 2nd floor steps over our flooded 1st floor's water, over the flooded courtyard, and to the main walkway (by using our big stepladder to surmount the wall), we don’t have to wade through the filth again. I honestly did not think it could be done with materials at hand, but Thai ingenuity proved me wrong, to my delight.
.
No one has ever mistaken me for a handyman who can fix things. Rather, I usually break anything I touch. (To be fair, I can set a tight fence for cattle or horses, I can set up a bombproof climbing belay, and I can often cobble together quick fixes with rope and knots.)
.
While getting around in a big city as a foreigner looked easy when I knew a couple of trustworthy transportation connections, when chaos hits and nothing is operating as normal, then I need more than my map and compass. I really appreciate the kindness and helpfulness of Thais when stuff hits the fan. They are wonderful people.
.
In an unrelated news item, it seems that 15 Green Mamba snakes escaped when their owner’s property was flooded. This was not in our district, but they are up-river in our province. Green Mambas are native to Africa, and this guy had them evidently as pets. They are deadly and they are on the loose. Great.
.
-Zenwind.
.

2 comments:

  1. Your updates on the flooding situation are riveting, keep them coming. Glad to hear that you're managing some reasonable semblance of normal life. I'm very glad to live in a town that, unlike many in the Czech Republic where flooding is a major problem, is more or less impervious to flooding, having only two very small "rivers" (neither would rank above "run" in PA), one of them dammed, and being built on top of a massive system of underground streams, medieval catacombs and cellars, and mysterious ancient storm drains, all of which give a pretty wide margin for error when it comes to too much water. (Though they present their own peculiar problems; in the communist period, one sidewalk in an old part of town collapsed and an unfortunate woman fell into the abyss underneath. Her body was never recovered.) At any rate, by chance I was at the immigration office yesterday myself. I am now "in the matrix", having submitted the biometric data required by new (tedious and pointless) EU legislation. Hurrah. Watch out for those mambas. Some Czech man here was bitten by his pet one a few months ago; unfortunately he did not die.

    Stay strong and my best wishes to you and all your neighbours. -ERM

    ReplyDelete
  2. Once you are in “the matrix,” don’t lose your sense of identity!
    .
    -Zenwind.

    ReplyDelete