The rain here in Vientiane, Laos, has fallen gently throughout the night and into this morning. Gentle is usually associated with soothing, but the rain is anything but that. Nai phoned his family last night, and the Mekong had flooded his family’s croplands and was threatening to rise further and inundate the various houses in the family compound. Most of the houses are on stilts or are two-story affairs, so hopefully they can gather their belongings and move them to the higher locations. I fear, though, the worst for that area along the river–it looks like it’s going to be devastated. The overnight rise in the level of the river here in Vientiane has caused the flood to approach street level in the capital, which normally sits 10 or more feet above the Mekong. It looks like at least some parts of the city will be under water soon.

Nai and I were going to go on to Vang Vieng today, but we’ll stay here at the hotel along the Mekong another night and see what happens. (We’re on the 4th floor.) I doubt there’s anything he can do to help his family, and, in fact, the road leading into the village is probably under water in many places, leaving it inaccessible (though I don’t know that for a fact). Well, let’s hope for the best, but this appears to be one of those 100- or 500- year floods. I hope I’m wrong. The rain continues to fall, though, but not so gently. More later.