The return – (23/11/11)
When I arrived at Bang Sue station to take the train back to Salaya, it was a much livelier place than it had been two-weeks previously. The ticket seller sold me a ticket for the 4.08 pm train without a moment’s hesitation. As we reached the flood-zone on the western side of the Chao Phraya river, the water seemed to have receded slightly in places and the speed of the journey took me by surprise as I suddenly saw the Salaya sign and quickly scrambled off the train less than an hour after departing. The water appeared slightly lower but the platform community seemed to have grown. There were also a lot of people waiting for a train to Bangkok. I was ushered into a wooden boat paddled by a young bare-chested man. He negotiated the flood waters expertly with his single oar.
I paid him 20 baht and stepped onto the road at the bottom of the bridge. There was a fleet of motor-bike taxis waiting at the bottom of the bridge in the shade of a tarpaulin roof on a metal frame. I walked with my bag to Pitchaya Apartments and found Tu and Ter, Ter’s mother, brother and a friend. They offered me some dinner and I gave Tu the cigarettes she’d ordered from Bangkok.
I popped in to see U and Pui at the coffee shop. Their plank walkway was well above the water and I was offered a tot of whiskey. U informed me that my soi was dry. Their latest estimate was that the water would be down to near-normal levels in about seven days. As I walked home, I noticed that the roadside dwellers had a few smoky fires lit on the grass verge and guessed they were to fend off the invasive mosquitoes. As I continued down the traffic-free road followed by some curious dogs, I passed two or three small snakes, their light-coloured bellies squashed on the tarmac. A man with a torch was cruising the edges of the flood water with a trident-spear.
I arrived at my soi and was relieved to see that U was right and that my soi was dry and dusty with the sediment of the vanished waters. My front yard was a mess with the debris of the receded water. My bin on the wall was still full, my plants sat up there too, looking like I’d abandoned them during a drought and when I opened my fridge it gave off a nauseous odour. But all-in-all, I could only reflect that I had got off very very lightly .. this year.
Paul Wilson is a some time actor, stand-up comedian and cartoonist.
Paul Wilson is a sometime actor, stand-up comedian and cartoonist. Visit Paul’s Top Man Tone Facebook Page…