After my post yesterday, we took a walk along the river and had lunch. All of the numerous open-air restaurants that line the Mekong were open for business as usual, despite the rising waters. Sandbagging was just beginning, but there was no sense of urgency, no air of desperation. In fact, most of the police, soldiers and ordinary citizens engaged in the activity with mirth making, laughter and playfulness, which seems to characterize Lao attitudes in general.
While we sat in a restaurant, I marked a spot on one of the posts supporting the platform on which the restaurant rested. The waters rose only about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in the 3 hours we were there, but later in the evening, the river had come up to several feet short of the sandbags, which are stacked 4 or 5 high, 2 rows deep. This morning, I saw that the river had not risen too much in the night and was still short of the bags. Hopefully, this marks the end of the rise–perhaps the crest has passed.
I think we’re going to try to go out to Nai’s village today to see what we can do to help his family, though they seem to be coping ok by the phone calls Nai has made to them. The first floor of his house is about knee-deep in water and everything has been moved upstairs. The rain has fallen off and the forecast calls for partly cloudy skies in the upcoming days. Let’s hope there’s no more rain here or elsewhere along the Mekong, though it’s only about half way through the rainy season. More later.