Yesterday afternoon the Monsoon finally arrived with the suddenness appropriate to its name. The sun was shining and then abruptly it became dark and the rains came down in a torrent, knocking out the lights and more significantly the internet connections. It stopped just as suddenly but the clouds remained and it rained on and off throughout the night. There was a strange-sounding thunder, more like someone threw some pot and pans down a flight of steps. Several times I awoke thinking there had been a car accident outside my window. This morning the sky remained cloudy.
Contrary to what one may expect the monsoon rains do not bring relief from the heat. Yes, the temperature is lowered a bit for a while but the humidity prevents that from providing any comfort. What the rains do however, is wash the particulate matter from the air relieving some allergies and the like.
Often when I am spending some time in a place I am not to familiar with and need to do something fairly complex like finding the various bus stations and other transportation venues and make reservations, I make a dry run a few days earlier when I don’t care what happens and can avoid the anxiety of being some place at a particular time. I did so today. Pattaya has multiple bus stations and other transportation venues placed around the city, each owned by a different company and specializing in taking passengers to a different part of Thailand. I planned to take the overnight bus to Chiang Mai tomorrow to pick up some of my things. I am glad that I did my dry run because it was more difficult to get to than I thought and there were no spaces available on tomorrow’s busses. So I plan to leave on Monday and hope I can find a way back from CM since the return busses are all filled throughout the week.
On my return, it rained hard for a while and I was thoroughly drenched while changing the taxi-bus, a modified pick up truck called a Baht-bus or songtaew in Thai. The worst part of the trip back which takes a different route then the trip out is that the route back is along Beach Road in Pattaya, the main nightclub and bar area in the city and the Songkran festival was still in full swing despite the coming of the monsoon and I was drenched again by the revelers as I transferred from one songtaew to another. I found a songtaew that was covered and not open like most and it sheltered me from the worst of the excesses.
The weapon of choice was a three and a half-foot long tube with a plunger at one end. One fills the tube by inserting the business end into a barrel of water and pulling out the plunger. When the tube was aimed and the plunger depressed in could propel a copious amount of water across a sizable street and knock the unwary to the ground. This weapon was wielded most often by young male western tourists (Farangs). While the Thai children and young adults were happy just throwing the water from a pan or bucket in my general direction or could be dissuaded from doing so with a stern look, the farang delinquents seemed to find great pleasure in hunting you down. At one point I was about ready to jump from the vehicle grab the dripping phallus and shoving it where…you know the rest. If I sound like an irascible dyspeptic old codger, well I am. Also my prescription happy pills have run out and cannot be reordered until the festival is over, I am slipping into withdrawal which always makes me happily annoyed at everything.
When the Baht-bus arrived at the Jomtien Beach Road, we found that the road was flooded much like, for those of you who have been there, Soi 11 in front of Ava Pub during the rainy season except that this flood extended for about a mile and lacked the rats, snakes and stinking offal pouring from Bangkok’s sewers and canals that assured a long slow death to anyone foolish to let their unprotected skin touch the water.
Anyway when I got off at my stop, I found the long driveway flooded knee-deep and had to wade the 50 or so yards to my building.
And if I did not enjoy the whole thing, I would not have spent the time writing about it.
DIARY EXERPTS PRIOR TO POST:
WEDNESDAY APRIL 14 2010 11 PM
As usual cannot sleep. Will try Valium tonight. I seem to be getting back into a daily rhythm again that allows me more time to work on my writing. Today joined Daily Kos diarist. Suddenly all my contemporary political commentary rattling around in my mind that often kept me awake at night has vanished. I need to calm myself and perhaps review my emails for material.
FRIDAY APRIL 16 2010 2PM
Well the monsoon season just began. A few minutes ago a torrid rainfall began and knocked out the lights in the condo. The internet is down also.
Today I will probably not take my nap. Instead I intend to work on some of my much delayed writing projects and prepare for my trip to CM on Sunday.
The Cafe Le Mar is closed for vacation beginning tomorrow and continuing at lest until Tuesday so now is probably time to go.
SATURDAY APRIL 17 2010 2 AM
Cannot sleep again. Took two Tylenol but they haven’t worked. Took a small portion of Valium and am now waiting to see if it works. Do not know why I have been having such trouble sleeping recently. Whenever I think of Hayden my mind becomes so agitated sleep becomes impossible. Usually I solve this by thinking of something less emotionally stressful like the 49rs draft prospects this year. Even that does not work when my agitation it accompanied by itchy skin. I am not too sure what has been causing that condition. I think there are fleas in the apartment. On the other hand my bedding feels scratchy and uncomfortable. When I go to CM for the rest of my things I will try to take some sheets and pillow cases with me. I am sure they have a higher thread count than those that I currently sleep on.
Speaking of CM, my plan is to go to the bus station tomorrow and check the schedule and make a reservation if necessary. I will also check to see if my SS payment has been deposited yet.
I hope to arrive in CM early in the AM and get my work done at the house before the maid can call N. in Italy. Then I will go visit Choti and Jerry and the missionaries to say goodbye before meeting with Cordt and then returning to Pattaya on the night bus.