Water rising


Today we took the bus to the floating markets of Damnoen Sadauk in Ratchaburi.
The drive south and west allowed us to observe several examples of economics in the region. The major source of salt,is sea salt, which is harvested in large drying fields.
The fields are flooded with sea water which evaporates and allows salt to be harvested for sale. There were also rice fields which are similar to those in New Orleans – 100% utilization of the land. Rice is planted, grows and harvested, after the harvest, shrimp are planted on the paddies. The shrimp eat the remnants of the rice fields and fallen rice, the shrimp waste fertilizes the paddies for the next crop of rice following the shrimp harvest. The recycling of wooden houses has also become an industry. With population growth many forests, the source of lumber were lost. Today a person with a wooden house wishing to rebuild may sell the wood to recyclers for about 3 times the cost of building a larger house on the same spot with bricks or concrete. The recycled wood is cleaned and resold for other wood products.

Bangkok used to have a floating market but the population growth and increase in construction, both roads and housing,has closed them down. Because of the high elevation in the north and sea level elevation in the south the Delta region is a series of canals that used to prevent flooding and was a major source of transportation. Just as human settlement and infrastructure growth around New Orleans caused massive flooding six years ago in the United States the flooding this year in Thailand can be attributed to climate change and human interaction with the environment. As construction increased the canals were covered or filled in preventing the monsoon rains from draining without flooding. The floating markets are an example of how life used to be along the canals in Bangkok. We traveled to the market in long boats which have motors with extra long shafts that allow the props to have a shallow draw about two feet behind the boat. Farmers living along the canals raise coconuts and other crops that benefit from the irrigation along the canals. The houses along the canals are built on silts, probably have plumbing that opens directly into the canals and many times had no doors except for tarps covering the opening to the outside. I did see several satellite dishes so they do have television.

Following the market we went to a restaurant called cabbages and condoms.
The restaurant was started by a doctor in the late sixties who was concerned about population growth and the proliferation of Aids Every guest receives a condom and literature about family planning and aids. The restaurant has become a chain and sells very fresh healthy Thai food to support their educational program. It was the cleanest, healthiest place we have been.

On the trip back to the hotel we saw the water rising and beginning to threaten new communities.
at the hotel we heard the airport will be closing at 5pm Wednesday( our flight leaves at 2 pm) and the water from the rising tide inundated the street outside our hotel. This water did recede later in the evening but was higher and faster than we have seen since we arrived.

god willin’ and the creek don’t rise we will be in SEIM REAP Wednesday night as the real threat hits Bangkok.

1 thought on “Water rising

  1. Always good to have a little excitement on every trip. But I do hope you fly out smoothly.

    (By the way, didn’t you mean, “I did see several dishes so they do have *food*” — or am I behind the times yet again?)


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