First-hand flood story
A long-time Thailand resident tells her story of trying to hold out against the floods in the Lat Prao area. In the end, the floods won. (The audio is is done by the writer. It's British English, a nice change from my American accent.)
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"After a restless night, I pushed open the windows and looked down to the narrow street below to see a medium-sized blue fiberglass boat..."
There is a lot of vocabulary in this story, so you might want to look at the words list first for words you don’t know. Be sure to listen to the audio file since you will get to hear a British accent rather than my American accent
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Blue boat blues
After a restless night, two floors above the murky knee-high paddling pool that my ground floor had become, I pushed open the windows and looked down to the narrow street below. A medium-sized blue fiberglass boat, was being paddled, less than expertly, past my house. The man in the boat was trying to navigate round concrete poles for power lines and telephone cables. An intrepid orange-jacketed motorcycle taxi rider swished past him, rocking the boat and filling the air with exhaust fumes.
The pillion rider hitched her skirt higher, and juggling an assortment of plastic bags attempted to maintain her side-saddle poise as the motorcycle chugged down the barely visible yellow line in the middle of the road.After five watery days, the incongruous sight cheered me up.
"We had been waiting for almost two weeks for the threatened floods and when they actually came, it was almost a relief."
We had been waiting for almost two weeks for the threatened floods and when they actually came, it was almost a relief. Not for long – within hours the flood had filled my little kitchen and the whole of the ground floor was awash. Although thirty years of accumulated books and papers had been taken upstairs, the furniture had not. The space at the bottom of the stairs was too narrow for the cupboards, shelves, filing cabinets and a recently-bought desk. They needed to be disassembled to get them upstairs. They were already rusty from previous flash flooding. It was not worth the trouble.
"Although thirty years of accumulated books and papers had been taken upstairs, the furniture had not. The space at the bottom of the stairs was too narrow... "
Three days later, returning from a fruitless search for bottled water and in semi-darkness, climbing over the flood barrier at the front door, wading into the office and seeing plastic shelves bobbing about in the water was totally disconcerting.
The shophouse is about 80 years old and built for simpler times. The bathrooms and toilets are on the ground floor, so my sons and I had constructed a primitive bathing space on the narrow balcony. But after five days of splashing cold water on myself to bathe, plus nightmares of floating on my back, in a dark lake, like a lady in a Pre-Raphaelite painting and breathing in assorted toxic fumes, I became a refugee in the Bangkok Post building for the duration.
blues – a feeling of sadness and loss ความเศร้าหมอง
restless – without real rest or sleep ไม่ได้พักผ่อน
murky – not clear; dark or dirty with mud or another substance มืดมัว
knee – the joint between the top and bottom parts of the leg where it bends in the middle หัวเข่า
paddling pool – a shallow swimming pool for children to play in, especially a small plastic one that you fill with water สระน้ำตื้นๆ ขนาดเล็กสำหรับเด็กๆ
narrow – not wide; having a small distance from one side to the other, especially in comparison with the length แคบ
paddle – to use a short pole with a flat wide part at one or both ends to move a small boat through water พายเรือ
expertly – done with or involving great skill or knowledge อย่างเชี่ยวชาญ, อย่างชำนาญ
navigate – to find and follow a path through a difficult place หาเส้นทาง
intrepid – very brave; not afraid of danger or difficulties กล้าหาญ, ไม่กลัว
swish – to move quickly through the air or waterin a way that makes a soft sound; to make something do this ทำให้เกิดเสียงดังเฟี้ยว
exhaust fumes – the waste gas from an engine, especially a car's, or the pipe the gas flows through ควันท่อไอเสีย
pillion rider – a person who rides behind the driver of a motorcycle ผู้ที่นั่งบนเบาะนั่งซ้อนท้าย (รถจักรยานยนต์, จักรยาน)
hitch – to pull up a piece of your clothing ดึงขึ้น
juggle – to try to hold or deal with a number of things at the same time without dropping them
assortment – a collection of different things or of different types of the same thing ต่าง ๆ นานา
maintain – to keep รักษา
side-saddle – riding with both your legs on the same side of a horse, motorcycle, bicycle, etc.
poise – the ability to move or stand in an elegant way with good control of your body ท่าทาง, การทรงตัว
chug – to move making the sound of an engine running slowly เกิดเสียงดังชั๊กๆ (เช่น เสียงของเครื่องยนต์)
barely – only just; almost not เกือบจะไม่
visible – able to be seen ที่มองเห็นได้
incongruous – strange, and not suitable in a particular situation ซึ่งไม่สอดคล้องกัน, ซึ่งไม่ลงรอยกัน
cheer up – to make someone feel less sad or to become less sad yourself ทำให้รื่นเริงขึ้น, รู้สึกร่าเริงขึ้น
threatened – at risk; in danger ตกอยู่ในความเสี่ยง
relief – a feeling of happiness that something unpleasant has not happened or has ended การผ่อนคลาย
awash – covered with water จุ่มอยู่ใต้น้ำ
accumulate – to get more and more of something over a period of time สั่งสมมานาน
cupboard – a piece of furniture with doors and shelves used for storing dishes, food, clothes, etc ตู้ถ้วยชาม,ตู้เสื้อผ้า, ตู้อาหาร
shelf (plural: shelves) – a flat board, made of wood, metal, glass, etc, fixed to the wall or forming part of a cupboard/closet, bookcase, etc, for things to be placed on หิ้ง, ชั้น
filing cabinet – a piece of office furniture with deep drawers for storing files ตู้เก็บเอกสาร
disassemble – to take something apart แยกออก, ถอดออก
rusty – covered in the rough red substance that damages the surface of iron and steel เป็นสนิม
flash flood – a flood that happens suddenly without warning น้ำที่เกิดท่วมในที่ต่ำโดยฉับพลันทันทีและไหลลดลงอย่างรวดเร็ว
fruitless – producing no good results, especially despite a lot of work ไร้ผล, ไร้ประโยชน์
semi – partly; half กึ่ง, ครึ่ง
barrier – a wall, pile of sandbags, etc., that prevents water from entering สิ่งกีดขวาง
wade – to walk with an effort through something, especially water or mud ลุย เดินท่องน้ำ หรือ โคลน
bob – to move or make something move quickly up and down, especially in water ผลุบๆ โผล่ๆในน้ำ
disconcerting – making somebody feel anxious, confused or embarrassed ประดักประเดิด, รีๆ รอๆ, ยุ่งยากใจ, สับสน,
construct – to build or make some thing, especially buildings, bridges, etc. สร้าง
primitive – very simple and old-fashioned, especially when something is also not convenient and comfortable เบื้องต้น, ง่าย ๆ, เก่าแก่
balcony – a place where you can stand just outside an upper window. It sticks out from the wall of a building ระเบียง
nightmare – an extremely unpleasant event or experience or possible event or experience; a very upsetting or frightening dream ฝันร้าย
float – to rest or move slowly on the surface of a liquid and not sink; to be lighter than air, and to move slowly through it ลอยบนผิวน้ำหรือในอากาศ
Pre-Raphaelite – a style of painting which tried to reproduce the very detailed yet simple compositions of early Italian artists
assorted – including various types หลากหลาย, หลายชนิด
toxic – poisonous and harmful to people, animals or the environment เป็นพิษ
refugee – someone who leaves their country or living place, especially during a war or other threatening event ผู้ลี้ภัย
duration – the period of time during which something continues to happen or exist, in this case, a flood ช่วงระยะเวลา, ความทนทาน
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