Since it is all that we Bangkok residents can talk about today, I felt it only appropriate to interupt my usual rambling on food to share the view from our vantage point.
Frankly, things feel somewhat chaotic here in Thailand's capital. Information on the floodwaters that surround us is inconsistent, at best. In the past few days media reports have ranged from predicting that downtown Bangkok will be safe from the water to all but guaranteeing that we will need canoes to get around by the end of the weekend. Things did seem to take a turn yesterday when the government decided to flood neighborhoods in the eastern part of the city to take the pressure off the water threatening its center. This image below from yesterday's Bangkok Post yesterday makes it clear that, although we've been hit with a sizeable amount of water, much more is still making its way toward us from the North.
This morning we woke up to a cover story in the English language newspaper instructing residents of Bangkok to "Brace For It". Despite the dramatic headlines, there is still no way to know for certain at this point if water will make its way all the way into the city. Although the news has been tragic over the past few months - many people all over the country have lost their lives and homes to the floods - those of us in central Bangkok have been spared from the worst of it.
There is no sign of water around our apartment, but in downtown Bangkok there are precautionary piles of sandbags in front of many local businesses. In most places the piles are haphazard and seem sort of...insufficient.
Although this bank I saw from the BTS is ready for anything. And is possibly building yet another protective wall as evidenced by the metal frame you can see in the lower left-hand side of the shot. Building protective concrete walls in front of businesses has been all the rage these past couple weeks.
Over the past few days, as we in Bangkok have been warned about the water making its way to the city, I have felt cautiously optomistic that they would be able to divert it. It still seems unlikely that my street, in the heart of the city, will be flooded, but this may be naivete on my part. (On the other hand, my subconscious seems to be predicting the worst as last night I dreamt about boats floating by on the street in front of our building.)
Being ever thoughtful about food, as you know I am, my greatest fear in all of this is that we will find ourselves trapped in the house with only crackers and cans of tuna to eat for days. I should pause here to note (and prevent a wave of emails from our panicked moms) - we are covered on all the basics - we have more than enough water, flashlights, candles, canned goods, and a couple bottles of wine (you know, necessities). But the food thing was really throwing me. What will we eat? And more importantly, what will we serve our houseguest who is arriving tonight?! Little does he know that he may be stuck inside with F and I for his entire trip - playing Cranium by candlelight.
Last night F and I braved the madhouse that was the grocery store. While others, in their last-minute panic, were pushing past one another to grab bottles of water, candles, and instant noodles, we bought avocados (for guacamole), fruit (for smoothies), baking supplies (for projects TBD), and coffee. We've got survival covered. Time to think about the fun stuff.
Over the past week I have been stocking our freezer with good things to eat.
I made a big batch of Pork Gyoza...
A handfull of Baked Spring Rolls...
And a double batch of bagels (for breakfast, of course).
Even after the water is gone, there is likely to be a great deal of fallout for the government as they work to clean up the mess. The New York Times published an excellent article today that concisely speculates on the implications of the disaster for the nation and its new Prime Minister.
I will keep you posted if anything changes from our little corner of the world, but for now, we are safe and dry, and feeling very blessed to be able to say that.