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    « Pakkret Coffee Shop View | Main | Yep, there's a flood coming. »

    The Bangkok Flood of 2011

    Since my house wasn't flooded (yet), I decided to go down to the Chao Phraya River to take a look around the town of Pakkret and take some photos.

    This is the sand bag barricade that is holding the river back from flooding MY HOUSE! I, and other old fat people, wandered to the river's edge, took a look, and turned away.


    What I saw was not all that bad: yes, some shop houses right on the river had become swamped, but a huge barricade of sand bags held back the mighty river.  People walked about on these makeshift gang planks.


    Life goes on, as they say.  Send the motorcycle taxi out to get lunch for you . . . . as usual.


    The big fresh food market was still open, but showed signs of having been under water recently.


    People gotta eat: feeding the flooded.


    There were some very large sand bag embankments.  You could see that the water had been much higher.


    There was still a fight with the river going on.


    The sand bags did not keep all the water out, so there were many pumps going to keep the market dry.


    The elderly seemed to be adapting . . .


    . . . the children too.


    The flood did not mean the same thing to everyone.


    This well protected man (see the Buddha amulets around his neck!) liked to sit in the middle of my photos. Well, why not, he was very photogenic.


    Speaking of photogenic, I hope this young boatman moonlights as a model.


    He's got the look!


    On the other side of the sand bags was the river.  Boats came and went ferrying people to their flooded homes.


    A flooded spirit house and side street.


    The little back alleys of the old wooden dock district of Pakkret was also flooded. Beauty in tragedy.


    A sand bag portrait, strangely photogenic.


    Although the floors are flooded, all the shops are still open . . . but things are not exactly flying off the shelves . . . er, I mean the shelves are not flying off the shelves . . . er, I mean the shelves are not flying off the wall.  You know what I mean.


    Old Pakkret follows the river bank in a maze of small alleyways.  Up ahead on the right, the tall sand bank embankments are holding back the water.  The river level is only a few inches below the top of these bags.


    The discolored plastic sky lights let in an eerie mood as volunteers continued to shore up the defences against the rising river.


    Water sat still in the old riverfront wooden shop houses.


    Amazing images around every corner.  Buddhas reflected in the greenbrown waters of the flooded shop.


    Different shop, different Buddha, different reflection.


    The dark, flooded alleys held much beauty.  I am not sure who will be buying this hat today -- perhaps someone who lost theirs in the flood.


    Bright blue nets in the flooded gloom.


    Beautiful light.  You could make your own netting.


    People moved around in their once familiar neighborhood silently, except for the sloshing of their feet.


    It was quite difficult to navigate the maze of sand bags, planks, and barricades.


    The look of concern was on the faces of may residents in the Pakkret old town.


    Of course some merchants are less upset than others.  Being a paddle salesman is a good thing during a flood, although those 99 baht ones on the bottom may be hard to sell even during a flood.


    Potions and elixirs seemed to be moving well enough, despite, or because of, the flood.


    He may have to discount these Spirit House garlands as they did not keep the flood away.


    A rack 'o paddles . . . just what you need when you are up the proverbial creek. There was no line for these.


    On the river side of the sand bags there was complete submersion.


    I left the flooded old area along the river to walk over toward the big Pakkret food market.


    The Happy Hawker, perched upon the sand bags. The people gotta eat.


    This part of the northern suburbs of Bangkok still has the feel of the old order world . . .


    . . . but mechanized modernity is catching up.


    The ubiquitous Thai Tuk-Tuk.  The tuk-tuk driver was very suspicious of me.  So suspicious, I thought there might be a crime in progress nearby.


    Just inside the entrance to the big market sat this Buddha amulet repair and refurbishment service.  Now I know where the old man at the flood wall got all of his!


    The market had food . . . if you count stuff-on-a-stick and deep fried everything. Gotta love those deep fried weenies. There was a lot of bottled water on sale for those whose homes are swamped.


    The clothing and shoes sections were fully stocked, but there were very few shoppers. These are definately post-flood fashion items.


    Other than the merchants' children, there weren't any customers.


    Many of the small shops that line the big open market space had cemented block walls built to keep out the water . . . and sand bag steps for getting in and out.


    Not a customer in sight.


    The shops were well stocked.  If you wanted to buy a . . . what the Hell are they selling here?


    Heavily discounted Thai sweets were available for the non-diabetic. Noticed the furniture sitting atop cement blocks, upper right.


    Some shops were cleaning up after the morning fresh market had closed.


    I'm not sure what this shop specializes in, but they were clean.


    A perfectly androgynous market laborer posing.


    Come Hell, or in this case, high water, the COOKING FAT MUST BE DELIVERED . . . and it was!


    If the site of your flower stall is now occupied by sand bags, no problem, use what you have.


    I guess people were not feeling lucky. I waited around, but didn't see anybody buy any of these lottery tickets.


    I walked through the market toward the river and encountered the sand bag wall that was keeping the river water out. The flood in Pakkret is not too bad, but a million or more Thais have had their homes and businesses inundated by water.  The government now says that most of Bangkok will be flooded for up to six weeks.  It could get bad.


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      Good page, Stick to the fantastic work. Regards.

    Reader Comments (3)

    Great shots, Jeff. You've captured the atmosphere as well as the physical setting beautifully. Fabulous portrait of the man with amulets. Remember that one for my gallery!

    October 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Stiles

    Congratulations These are seriously good photos, I think you have captured so many aspects of bangkok! The strength and love that the Bangkok people possess shines through!
    This the best photojournalism I have seen covering this flood. I can't help wondering is this what the old city and its many khlongs were specially built for?, maybe too many of them have been blocked and silted up for too long. I think Bangkok will become refreshed, rebuilt and back to a new vibrancy in no time at all. I think I would be mortified by such a disaster if I was in the middle of it.

    John - Thanks for your kind comments. I appreciate it. I do this for a hobby, so would appreciate if you would repost my site's URL to your friends or wherever. Thanks. Dr Jeff

    Beautiful and stirring pictures. I am reposting your site's URL to people here in Sarasota!

    Keep well!

    Thanks Trine. Fee free to re-post and pass on to others. It is terrible what is happening. Our house is still dry, but the waters are not far away. Drop me a line.

    Best Regards,


    October 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTrine Bolling-Patel

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