I woke up at 8:00 on Sunday morning. I could hear a slight drizzle as i awakened from my groggy state. Sure enough i looked outside and it was raining, albeit softly. I knew i had to go to work at 9 which meant at the latest i could leave at 8:30
I had breakfast, brushed my teeth etc… and at 8:25 i could see it was still drizzling. I decided to wait an extra 5 minutes just in case it stopped. Terrible idea in a tropical country…..
Five minutes later the heavens opened up. It was raining sideways, upwards, whichever way you could imagine. I made my way downstairs and went to get on my bicycle until i realized that it would be way too dangerous to start cycling in that weather, so i put on my raincoat (a bright silver waterproof suit that makes me look like i’m one of the space guys from ‘Dude, where’s my car?’) and waited for it to subside.
At around 8:40 it was still down-pouring immensely, however the gale force winds had stopped. I decided that this was a good a moment as any to leave. Twenty minutes later i came to a crossroads which is a well known flood zone area. Once i got there i found a small ‘island’ where i could place my foot on the road, since the rest of the road was covered in water (Yep, it took a grand total of 20 minutes for Chiang Mai to be flooded. And this isn’t because of a poor irrigation system; this is solely due to how intense the rainstorms are here)
Not that it mattered. By the time the lights turned green that island had become like the lost city of Atlantis and i was now standing in 12-18 inches of floodwater. I got off my bike and pushed it through the current that was going against me since the next part of my journey was up a hill. Dodgy hand and all (See one of my previous blog posts to find out why i have a dodgy hand…) I pushed my bike through the crossroads.
Then i was treated with another dilemma; i knew there was a pothole that dropped about half a foot somewhere (enough to damage or even break your ankle if unseen and you step on it wrong) but i couldn’t see where due to the rising flood water. This meant that i had to stand in the middle of the road with my bicycle in between 1-2 feet of floodwater watching the traffic go by waiting for a gap so i could go around nothing. (Well, it was nothing to the car drivers who would have been oblivious that this hole existed, considering it would have never affected them in any way.
Once i had safely negotiated that obstacle, i then had to push my bicycle another 400 metres uphill because the rain water was turning into a river and it was way too dangerous to get back onto the bike. Once it was safe to continue i got back onto the bike, soaked from just under the knee-cap down and continued to cycle. The water was still 6 inches deep as it was running down the hill, just to give you an idea how heavy this rainstorm was.
I was 20 minutes late. Unsurprisingly i was the first person there. I assumed that nobody was going to come and took off my shoes that were literally filled up to the brim with water. I stank. The stanch of the flood water had gotten into my trousers and socks. There was nothing i could do about it; i simply had to wait until i had finished work before i could get out of those clothes and have a shower.
At ten o clock i started to think “Why don’t i spend two hours writing my book? That way when i’m done for the day, i’m actually done for the day. Rather than having to go home, write my book and probably finish at midnight.” (the concept of finishing for the day at 6pm is normally something i can only dream of nowadays!) I was just about to start writing when one of my students turned up.
“Sorry i’m late teacher!” She said enthusiastically.
“I secretly hate you…” I thought to myself.
Once the lesson was over, it was time to go home. “Oh scheisse…” I thought to myself, “Imagine how deep that flood zone is now!”
I stepped outside and saw that it the sun was beaming at a scorching 35+ degrees. All the clouds had gone and there were no signs of them coming back any time soon.
I got to the crossroads and i couldn’t believe my eyes; the floods had completely disappeared! 2 and a half hours before and it was well over a foot deep at its deepest point, the rain was showing no signs of stopping and it was seemingly only going to get worse judging by the amount of rain water pouring down the roads that were slightly hilly. It’s not as if there were small puddles either. The sun had dried out a flood in a matter of hours! You would have never have guessed what the roads looked like a couple of hours before.
I cycled through the crossroads with my trousers and shoes still soaked from what had happened that morning and thought, “This country never ceases to amaze me……”