Tuesday, October 25, 2011
For a change, I will begin the post with a subject other than the flood...
I was feeling a little French fever on Monday afternoon so I decided to make "baguette de tradition francaise". Oo la la! In France, in order to be called baguette, the bread must contain only flour, yeast, water, and salt. However, my recipe called for the addition of sugar to the proofing liquid. The sugar acts like food for the yeast cells and then the cells release ethanol and CO2 bubbles which help the bread to rise. From what I have read, the sugar isn't really necessary but it does hasten the the yeast's activity. So, I guess my baguette wasn't truly baguette but, hey, we aren't in France and it did turn out perfectly! I realized how much I missed my bread-maker as making the baguette tied me to the house ALL afternoon - 10 minutes for the sugar/yeast/water to react, 30 minutes for the first rising, 10 minutes of kneading, 45 minutes for the second rising, 15 minutes for the shaping, 30 minutes for the final rising and then 25 minutes to bake.
As far as the flooding is concerned... there is still a tremendous amount of water to flow down from the North and every day there are more and more reports of new flooding around us. However, Nichada continues to remain completely dry, an island in all of the flood waters. Nichada management is doing a great job of monitoring the water levels nearby and reporting to us on a daily basis. It is unbelievable to look at some of the flood maps and see how much water is closely surrounding us and yet we are still unaffected. School has now been cancelled until November 7th. Since almost all of our district (Pak Kret/Nonthaburi) is flooded, I imagine busing and transportation issues necessitated that decision.
Monday was a Thai holiday and with Kevin being home, we decided to take a drive toward the river to explore a bit. We drove West on Chaeng Wattana Road which, after a few kilometers, turns into the Rama IV Bridge over the Chao Phraya River. The bridge is three lanes but there were cars parked three deep which left us a very narrow lane to drive in. As we drove on the bridge, we could see that all of the riverfront homes, temples and restaurants on both sides of the river were about 3/4 submerged. In some places, you could only see rooftops. As we approached the other side of the river, we were shocked to see the road immediately disappear into flood waters as far as the eye could see! Fortunately, the locals had knocked down an area of the barrier so we were able to make a very sharp U-turn onto the East bound lanes of the bridge. It was a very surreal scene. There were army trucks distributing supplies and people were loading them into boats, canoes, rafts, and whatever else would float before heading farther out West. I managed to get a couple of photos before we went back over the bridge.On our way back into Nichada, there was a family of water buffaloes grazing outside the back gate.
We are going to go on our trip to Northern Thailand tomorrow as planned. Depending on which report you read or which official you listen to, the worst flooding may or may not come this Friday and Saturday - but we have been hearing reports like this for almost 10 days. Last weekend we were told to expect the worst because of the high tide and the full moon. Based on that report, many families from Nichada moved their household items to the second floor and then spent the weekend in hotels downtown. Some are still there because each day, there is at least one report that makes it sound like the flooding is inevitable and will be immediate. Kevin and I spent a lot of time talking about whether or not to go and what our options are. While there is a chance Nichada could still flood, we feel like we have been sitting around waiting for the flood waters for the last couple of weeks and yet we remain unaffected. I know we would be upset (plus out a lot of $$) if we cancelled our hotel and flights to stay home and Nichada continued to stay dry. So, off we shall go. I will spend some time today either moving things to the second floor or putting them up on tables and counters on the first floor. I figure that we would need at least 3 feet of flooding for water to enter the house and another 3 feet of water to reach the tops of the dining room table and kitchen counter tops. Two of our neighbor families will keep an eye on the dogs as the dog-sitter I had originally booked them into has been flooded.
I am taking my laptop on our trip and will try to post as time allows.
Early wishes for a great weekend!