Image by dany13
When my wife and I booked into the Westin Grand Hotel in Bangkok on October the 23rd last year to celebrate our daughter’s first birthday, little did we realize that we wouldn’t be seeing the inside of our own home for another 6 weeks. Enough has been written about the shambolic attempts at flood control that presaged the worst floods in living memory in the Land of Smiles but now, seven months later, how is the city coping?
Image by DVIDSHUB
The answer, as with all things Thai, is very well. We have just moved into a new house which from October to December last year was under a metre of stagnant, smelly, detritus-filled water – but you wouldn’t know it. The place has been redecorated and the ‘soi’ or small road outside our house once again rings to the sound of street vendors, and Buddhist monks are again doing the rounds picking up their food for the day from the local residents.
The place where we now live was one of the most badly affected areas, near to Don Muang, the old airport, iconic pictures of which were sent around the world with aircraft up to the top of their wheels in water; however the people here are nothing if not resilient. OK so some of the roads after 90 odd days of submersion have some major potholes, but the local councils are doing their best and every day road gangs can be seen out in the almost unbearable heat filling them in and fixing them up.
Image by feserc
When we were house hunting in April and May there was still a lot of rubbish lying around on the streets, especially in the grass and tree-lined vacant lots but this too has gradually been cleaned up and the hot dry weather has dried up any lingering bad odours which were around for some time. Perhaps the best legacy of the floods has been the wakeup call which the government received. They are now in the middle of a massive overhaul of the klong (canal) system which runs throughout Bangkok and indeed Thailand. The Thais have been promised that it will not happen again anytime soon.
Image by ebvImages
Thailand has had a bad few years, tourism wise. There has been political unrest and outbreaks of bird flu which have really cut down on the number of visitors and last year’s floods almost killed off some of the smaller hotels and tourism outlets but it is fighting back. Even during the floods, the major tourism centres in Bangkok managed to stay open – albeit for reduced numbers of visitors – and this year, for the first time in quite a while, we are looking forward to a trouble free year with lots of sunshine and, hopefully for the locals, lots of overseas visitors as well.
The Thais have a great saying, ‘mai pen rai’, which means, roughly, ‘no worries we will be OK’. I must say that in this instance it really does seem to be true.
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Category: Guest Post