Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Udon Thani is dry and beautiful

Had my first motorcycle ride with friends today -- three bad boys from Homer, Albert, DC, Al and I rode together to a favorite spot about 35 miles south of here, Phu Failom National Park. I've posted pictures from there in the past and I'll no doubt post a few more in the future because it is such a nice spot and within easy riding distance from this city, our "northern headquarters". We had some good Thai food at the restaurant there at road's end, argued about which route we should have taken to get there and speculated on which route we should follow to get back. This time of year it's all good though. The weather is perfect, temps about 85, no wind, partly cloudy, and everything is green as hell after the rainy season. It was a great ride.

Three bad boys from Homer at Phu Failom Park
(N17.16164 E102.69558)
Rice paddy on Rte 2313 south of Udon Thani
The other good news is that Nut is finally ready to leave Bangkok. Barring some unforeseen difficulty, she'll be on the 8 o'clock overnight train arriving here tomorrow morning. I'm relieved of course. I've been in a funny place since we separated. I've gone through several kinds of, let's call it emotional unrest, since last Friday. I've been worried about her and have missed her, sure, but I've also been angry that she had to stubbornly push this to the limit. Now that the water has reached the streets right outside our apartment block she finally thinks it might be time to leave. I've been begging, cajoling, and warning her about the terrible waterborne diseases to which she will be exposed if she stayed in my attempts to convince her to leave, all without success. Better late than never is all I can say.

In her defense, I must say that she was only trying to protect our place and her things. She has more to lose than I do if the place gets inundated. When we returned to Bangkok a couple of weeks ago neither of us thought Bangkok would actually flood. Now, that seems inevitable. The only questions are, how bad will it be, how much of our stuff will get destroyed, how long will it last, how long until things return to normal?

Most of our other friends have left by now too. Henry was holding out for some reason but he finally came to his senses and booked a flight out today. Homer friend Scott was headed to Bangkok for some dental work. He wisely decided to wait until the crisis ends. Our thoughts are with the gals at the Gecko Bar, Geni and Pookie, who live in Bangkok and cannot leave. Hang in there ladies.

Daily I watch scenes unfolding in the English language Bangkok Post and watch Thai TV. It seems endless. The suffering, the wreckage of homes and livelihoods, automobiles, farm animals, pets, all lost — by some estimates the disaster could last into the New Year. I'll take the Red Shirt rallies any day compared to this.

Interesting trees - Phu Failom Park (Albert photo)