10.12.2011 80 °F
The floods around Thailand have been making headlines here for weeks, but it wasn't until a few days ago that I really understood the insanity that is going on. I received an email from my UC EAP program advisor one week ago warning about travel to the Northern Provinces and staying in constant contact with our parents until this passes. Four days ago, he warned us that the grocery stores are sold out of instant noodles from families preparing for the worst. And two days ago, we were informed by Thammasat that school would be cancelled for two weeks because of the flood.
The area around my place is still, but the walk to school is just crazy! We're located right next to the Chao Phraya River, and from standing on the bridge and looking down, it is easy to see that the water level has risen immensely. I'm right in the capital, so the city has excellent irrigation--flooding of my street or apartment building probably won't happen, but people are preparing for every possible circumstance. The lobby of my apartment has moved all of its couches to the 5th floor, and the elevators now have cinderblocks cemented around the front in case water pours in. Even the 7-11s have sandbagged the entrances to protect their store. I have a few friends who live north of Bangkok, and although their houses have not been affected yet, they are insanely close to the flood zones! We'll all be thinking good thoughts for them, and hope that their houses and families stay nice and dry over the next week or so.
Well, since the floods are supposed to hit Bangkok the hardest October 16th-18th and school is out until the 24th, we're trying to make the best of the situation, be safe, and use this time to travel away from the city! I've just booked at round-trip flight to Manila in The Philippines, and I leave Friday morning! Our group is about 7 people, and our friend Brian has been sweet enough to ask if we can stay with his family when we touch down in The Philippines. His aunt may even be our tour guide for the entire trip! The southern parts of The Philippines have been the only areas really affected by the storm, so we're staying up north, visiting some of the most pristine beaches in Asia (Boracay, for starters!), and absolutely going with the flow for this vacation. We booked our tickets on a whim and want to keep the feel of our entire trip the same way! I do have one thing on my to-do list this trip though: TACO BELL. I have been without good Mexican food for months now and I am about to eat so many Crunchwrap Supremes. And yes, for the record, I am apparently now referring to Taco Bell as "good Mexican food." I have a serious problem.
So as of now, I am safe and sound and am leaving Thailand when the storm will hit hardest. Be back in BKK October 24th just in time for classes to start up again! Here's an article about the flooding if you'd like to read up on the current situation:
I'll be sure to update upon my return! All my love to Thailand during this crazy time, and please send some of yours this way as well!