May, 2002 from the rice farming community of Nondu, Thailand.

There is not much happening here, which is one thing that I like about this place. Yesterday morning it rained very, very hard for several hours straight. When I finally got out of bed and looked out the window, the rice paddies under the window were filled with water and there was a lot more water rushing into them from the fields across the road. In the late afternoon, I rolled up my jeans and went for a walk on the dikes between the paddies. The German Shepherd happened by the house at the same time, I guess looking to see if anyone was around who was interested in playing with her, so I took her with me, and both of us managed to make it, zig-zagging all the way, to the road on the other side of the rice fields. This was no easy trick because the water was rushing over the dikes at such depth and velocity as to make some sections of the dikes impassible. I lost my footing slipped in up to my knees a couple of times. The dog had her troubles too, but she was not as timid as me and dashed ahead, often wondering why I was taking so long.

When we got to the road we found it was flooded. One little boy was riding an inflated inner-tube. We were able to walk along the road, to the part that wasn't flooded by keeping to the edge of the road. After that we walked a couple hundred yards for the exercise then walked back. Going back across the rice paddies the second time seemed a lot more difficult, but we both survived.

Since I was soaking wet from the waist up anyway, I decided to go for a motorbike ride. I had to get out of the neighborhood quickly, though, or the dog would follow me out of town. There is a little circuit I ride. I go out of town about three or for kilometers, then turn left onto a road that runs through an area with small rolling hills and lots of farms on either side. This lets me connect up with another road that leads back to Nondu. All-in-all a nice ride in the evening, if made in that critical period between when it cools off and the bugs come out, just before dusk. The roads are very quiet, and I can ride along at 20 km/hr (about 13 mph) and enjoy the breeze while watching out for the odd herd of buffalo.

Last evening, it was a little late when I set out, but I wanted to see what the roads looked like just after the huge rain. I managed to make it about 3/4 of the way around the loop, about 1 km from Nondu. It was getting dark enough I had to turn on the headlamp, and it was bug city. Why the heck are all those bugs flying around at that time of night? What do they think they are doing there? Any way, I was starting to get concerned that it would be so dark that I wouldn't be able to navigate the roads safely. They had been torn up by the rains pretty good. There were many places where the water approached a foot deep, and some where I to maneuver very carefully to avoid dropping the bike or running off the road (which would have resulted in the same thing). Every now and then I would pass a farmer or one of those people who shepherd buffalo all day, and they would either try to ignore me or say "Hello!".

Here I was, darkness setting in, coming down the home stretch, around the next curve I would be able to see Nondu in the distance, and I came to a place in the road where there was water running across it. I slowed the bike down to a crawl and took it in a few inches at a time. The water level crept up the further I went, and when it started splashing up onto the engine block, I realized that it would be too risky to continue. The only way to Nondu, only a thousand meters ahead, was to turn around.

I went all the way through all those hazards again, and through all those kilometers of solid bugs, back to Nondu. It was quite dark when I go home, but I got there in one piece. I took a nice long, hot shower and put on clean clothes. Enough adventure for one day.

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