Gray and wet and hot. Sunday morning around eleven heavy sheets of rain hit Bangkok. I stood at my window and watched as the rain blew down Asoke, cars slamming through a low spot in the road sent large fountains of water in the air. Within an hour Sukhumvit and the small sub-sois were under water. I drove to my health club in this mess. Whenever it rains in Bangkok the traffic turns wildly mad. The drivers are accustomed to the relationship between large volumes of water on the road and the engineering features of a car, which like a cat, don’t do well in water.
It was slow going along Soi 22 as the water level near the school was 30cm in places. Drivers hugged the center lane on the theory (mostly wrong) that the center had a high elevation. The occasional van and truck tried passing slower cars. It is difficult to get up speed when moving through so much water. No head-on collisions but a couple of close calls. I saw a couple of motorcyclists on the road looking forlorn and terrified, and getting splashed. It took thirty minutes to drive about 2 kilometers to the health club.
I start my workout with 40 minutes on the Sky Jet, one of those aliens like machines that have ski poles to hold onto and your feet are positioned on two small platforms, requiring you to shift weight from leg to leg, getting up to speed. The effect is like cross-country skiing. These machines are in lined up in a row in front of a window overlooking Sukhumvit Road. Outside the rain had nearly stopped. At the bus stop, the homeless man I’ve noticed has made his home in the shelter for past few weeks sat alone on one of the plastic chairs. Next to him were a large number of plastic bags holding his worldly possessions. His totally white hair flared out like an English riding saddle. And some demon was riding to an invisible finish line on his head. I did my thing on the Sky Jet, looked down, and saw this old man sitting in a bus shelter, the rivers of water near his feet. No one wanted to get near him. This storm lasted only an hour or so. A storm that last for three or four hours will wash him away, plastic bags and all.