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Published: September 2nd 2009
Flooded Streets of Bangkok
Sorry about the quality, not exactly on the top of our list under the circumstances
I didn't expect anything eventful would happen on our last day in bangkok. How wrong can you be?
We woke up to the sound of heavy rain but by 10am everywhere was beginning to dry out. We had decided to check into a cheap guest house just for the day as we needed to vacate our hotel at midday and weren't due to leave by taxi for the airport until 10.30pm. That's a long time to walk the streets. The sun never really showed up all day but thankfully the rain held off. We showered and set off around 8.15pm for a last meal at our favourite restaurant. As a last minute thought I dashed back for my umbrella. When we got down to reception it was beginning to spit with rain and we debated whether to hang on a while. The receptionist advised us to “ Go now, it will come harder soon”. We took her advice thinking by 10pm when we needed to come back for the taxi; the storm would have passed over.
We got to Ranee’s Restaurant no problem but within 10 minutes the rain began to pour and pour and pour. Eventually everyone
had moved closer in from the edges where the rain was torrenting down from the roves onto the tables and chairs. Everyone had the same idea - sit tight until it passes over. The trouble was we needed to get going and suddenly the thought of the 10 minute stroll back to the guesthouse became a dread. We were dressed ready for the airport and we were going to get soaked. The lightening flashed so bright that momentarily it became daylight, seconds later the thunder clapped - so loud we all thought the buildings would collapse around us!
There was no let up in the rain so by 9.30 we decided to make a dash for it and dry off back at the guesthouse. As we left Ranee’s we couldn’t believe our eyes. The restaurant is accessed about 200 yards down a narrow back alley off from the main road. The alley was ankle deep in water and was pretty dark in places meaning you’d no idea what you were treading on. All around our ankles debris floated around threatening to trip us up. And still the rain poured, my little umbrella was not much protection. Rain poured over
Outside Gecko Bar
Tables and chairs packed up and lifted up to higher ground. The waitress is carrying on regardless in her plastic mac!
the gutters in torrents and down the many awnings, sometimes as if a bucket of water was being thrown at us. When we finally reached the main road it got worse, the water was creeping up to our knees by now and as cars drove past waves swelled up around us. People lined the bars, restaurants and shop doorways, anywhere to get shelter. This was a really busy part of town; hundreds of people would have been meandering around the streets when the storm had struck. They all looked at us as if we were crazy for not sheltering. But we had to be somewhere!
We finally made it back to our street, Soi Rambuttri and things got even worse, taxis, tuk-tuks and bikes were all trying to drive past us, this was made worse by the fact that for the last few days they had been digging up the road and laying new tiles and we knew that in places there were deep holes - but where? The water was so dirty we couldn’t see anything. Astonished people began taking photos of us struggling along from their dry vantage point in Sawadee Café, as it was raised up a few feet from the walkway they were fine.
At last we got to the passage way that lead to our guesthouse and the water was deeper and dirtier than ever. All I could think was that there was no way we were going to get to the airport dry, if at all! The passageway was too narrow for cars to come through so we’d have to wade back out to the taxi getting drenched a second time! Besides, the rate the water was rising I doubted a taxi would even get along the road in another 40 minutes!
No time to worry - once back in our room we peeled off our wet clothing which rapidly formed a huge puddle on the floor. I struggled with the locks on my backpack and grabbed my hairdryer to try and dry my dripping hair whilst Stan squeezed his trousers between a guesthouse towel to soak up some of the water then tried to finish them off with my hairdryer. He had nothing else to go to the airport in, fortunately for me I had alternate clothes I could wear. The next problem was how to keep these clothes dry while we got back out to the taxi. - Wasn’t all this effort in vain?
We decided to put our travel clothes in a plastic bag in our carry on bags and wear the shortest shorts we had and get changed at the airport. I dread to think what a sight we would make! We both had raincoats so at least our top halves would stay dry. All this time I’m still thinking “but will the taxi even come for us?!”
By 10.29pm we were dried out as much as possible and ready to go. All our wet clothes in plastic bags and squashed into our backpacks that were now twice as heavy. The lovely tidy guesthouse room was destroyed, wet dirty puddles everywhere- floor, bed linen and towels. Oops!
We dashed downstairs and proceeded to wade out to the taxi. The guesthouse owner had checked that the taxi was there and helped us back through the passageway under his big umbrella. Fortunately the rain had eased off a bit and was raining hard rather than torrential, but as the taxi driver opened the door for us the water level was just millimetres from flooding inside.
We were off! We drained the water from our flip-flops, peeled off our wet raincoats and hung them on the front seat to dry.
Next problem - would we make it in time, we were only 10 minutes later than our planned leaving time but due to the conditions, traffic was crawling along. Thunder and lightening struck all around us continually and spasmodically the rain would increase again. As we got onto the elevated freeways we could pick up speed as there was no surface water, miraculously, just 15 minutes later than we intended, we arrived at Bangkok Airport - under cover so we didn’t get wet again. phew!! A quick change in the toilet and no one would ever guess our adventure.
Well- we’ve seen the good side to Bangkok many times, now we’ve seen the bad. Has it put us off coming? Probably not but next time we’ll avoid the rainy season like the plague!!
We are now back home and guess what? It's raining!
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