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Posts posted by StoneSoup

  1. To zzzzzzz.


    Maybe I should not have used the term "sea level". Maybe I should have used the word "ocean level."


    If you look at the various tide tables - such as at: http://www.myforecast.com/bin/tide_extended.m?city=75672&metric=true&tideLocationID=T2323 or http://tides.mobilegeographics.com/locations/362.html - and you look at High Tide and Low Tide levels, what becomes apparent is that "ocean level" never gets down to "sea level" on a lot of days. Even the "low tide" level is above "sea level".


    At any rate, Bangkok certainly has elevation differentials within it.


    When I look at the headline piece at Bangkok Post on-line this morning, the headline photo caption reads: "The Western flood defenses of Bangkok are breaking down, and all of Thon Buri looks likely to be under at least half a metre within 48 hours - as canals and the Chao Phraya spill their banks" - I am left thinking that water is not "spilling banks" to run uphill. The bank must be higher than something that the water is spilling into.


    Yesterday, I lost my "flood virginity" by standing about 2 cm deep in floodwater on Sukhumvit Soi 50 - water that was maybe 15 cm deep. of in the distance. Again, the report was that the flooding occurred because a breach had occurred in a flood prevention barrier that enclosed the Phrakhanong Canal, and water therefore spilled onto Soi 50. Do you think that the water "spilled" uphill? Do you think that Khlong Prakhanong south of Sukhumvit is significantly higher than ocean level?


    I may be wrong - but my impression - after watching and listening for several weeks - is that some significant portions of Bangkok are LOWER than the embankments that border the Chao Phraya, large Khlongs like Khlong Prakahanong, and various other watercourses that "drain" Bangkok. And - in many cases, this "drainage" requires the use of massive pumps - to "push" water over some sort of barrier to natural drainage.


    Maybe that concept exists only in my imagination - and the hundreds (or thousands?) of pumps that Governor Sukhumbund described as being part of Bangkok's water management system are just there to help water flow "downhill" from Bangkok's superior elevation, on toward the ocean or the rivers and major khlongs that drain Bangkok. But - I went out on a limb and drew the conclusion that a lot Bangkok must be at least a tiny bit below the levels of the drainage watercourses.


    And - again - what someone's GPS gadget or on-line reference says does not outweigh what my own "lying eyes" absorb as I am standing in floodwater on Sukhumvit Soi 50 - that got there when a protective barrier failed, and water DESCENDED onto the soi.


    I wonder myself what "sea level" means, in a tide scenario where low tide remains half a meter above "sea "level."




  2. I heard the same report, and since I live directly opposite Sukhumvit Soi 50 (on Soi 79), I went to take a look.


    From a point 1.8 km southwest of Sukhumvit, I took the photo shown at: http://twitter.com/#!/StoneSoupBKK/status/129822334596038657/photo/1 This was looking southwest.


    500 meters to the west, Khlong Prakhanong water level was absolutely normal - see http://twitter.com/#!/StoneSoupBKK/status/129831847847931904/photo/1

    and http://twitter.com/#!/StoneSoupBKK/status/129831048124178432/photo/1

  3. After watching, listening, and reading for two weeks, I have reached the following conclusions about the potential for Bangkok to flood:


    1. Bangkok is a shallow bowl. It has flood-walls to isolate itself from the ocean, and from the Chao Phraya River - both of which are slightly above Bangkok's elevation. Typically, these barriers reach a level 4-5 meters above Bangkok elevation, and - typically - 2.5 meters above sea level.


    2. Bangkok is criss-crossed with an extensive network of canals (Khlongs), all of which eventually empty into four or five major khlongs. These major khlongs carry water to the Chao Phraya River, or to the ocean. But - at the discharge end - gravity cannot project water over the flood-walls. So - massive pumping stations are located at the discharge ends of the major khlongs, to pump water over the barriers.


    3. One major function of the khlong network is to drain rainwater out of Bangkok - and the network performs this function well. But - even within and throughout the khlong network, there is insufficient gradient to naturally project water forward toward the discharge end. So - there are many pumping stations, which must be working aggessively, to keep water moving toward the discharge end.


    4. We now have a situation where a massive amount of water has accumulated in an arc around Bangkok - covering perhaps 150 degrees, centered on north, and extending back between 100 and 200 km. A very good overview of the magnitude of this problem can be seen in this helicopter footage: http://youtu.be/HhMp8AnhDF4


    5. Because of the weak elevation gradient across central Thailand, this mass of water is not likely to be going anywhere quickly. It will mostly have to slowly drain off via the Chao Phraya and a couple of smaller rivers. Bangkok does lie between the flooded area and the ocean. Many flooded communities seem to think that the key to draining their area is for Bangkok to simply accept being flooded - as that will expedite drainage from their area. They think that this approach is being blocked by conscious human decisions by Thai government officials.


    6. In reality, water can escape Bangkok, and project itself into the river or the ocean no faster than the pump stations at the discharge ends can pump water over the barriers - and even this process will not work if river depth is elevated, or during high tides. And - water can move through the greater Bangkok khlong network no faster than all the intermediate pumping stations can project it forward. I suspect that no human action is presently blocking drainage from up north. The simple urban typography of Bangkok is such that water cannot penetrate far based on just gravity. To the extent that it can penetrate on its own, it has already done so - as at Vibhavadi Road - but the water eventually drains away into the storm sewers (and ultimately into a khlong), and projects no further. Without active human intervention, it is unlikely that floodwater will further penetrate Bangkok.


    7. In the absence of rain falling on Bangkok, there is a LOT of reserve capacity in the khlong network to drain water southward. The trick is to get floodwater from up north into the khlong network, at a rate of flow that does not overwhelm that network - and which can be shut off during high tides.


    8. Ignorance and poor government communications have created two bad perceptions:


    a. People up north need to understand that flooding Bangkok will not help them. I don't know the real computations, but if you flooded the entire surface are of Bangkok up to equilibrium level with the surrounding flood-zone, I suspect that water levels in the flood zone would only fall perhaps one cm (or less). That water would not then drain further - it would just sit there, contained by the southern and western flood containing walls of Bangkok. It thus makes no sense to allow water into Bangkok at a rate faster than the discharge pumps can pump it over the retaining walls.


    b. Politicians are - in general - not blocking natural water flow. Urban topography is blocking water flow - due to the shallow drainage gradient of the flood waters. Other than natural flow via the Chao Phraya and other small rivers, it will take conscious human intervention to move water through Bangkok. At present, intervention by community activists - who are misinformed, but fearful - is blocking optimum flow through the khlong network - flow that could be smoothly projected through the system.


    9. The only proposal to increase drainage that has any technical merit is the announced plan to cut a new water channel through the urban topography on the East side of Bangkok. If sufficient pumping resources are included, then this plan would indeed contribute to draining additional water from up north. It is up to government officials to carry out a cost/benefit analysis to determine if the benefits for up-country flooding victims justify creating a fresh swath of urban victims.



    Bottom line: The Governor of Bangkok is generally correct. There is unlikely to be further significant flooding in Bangkok, unless it is deliberately created. Riverfront areas will continue to receive overflow from the flood-walls for a couple of hours during high tides, outlying areas of Bangkok will remain flooded as encroaching water dribbles away through the storm drain network, and any sustained heavy rain that falls on Bangkok - particularly during high tide - will cause temporary flooding. Otherwise, life in Bangkok could more or less be "business as usual."


    The flooded arc above Bangkok served as the "breadbasket" of Bangkok - with a nightly flow of tens of thousands of small trucks bringing fresh produce into Bangkok to feed 10-12 million people. That bread-basket - out to several hundred km - is basically wiped away. Fresh produce will mostly disappear for the rest of 2011 - or be very expensive.


    It would be nice if the story above could be coherently explained to the public - so as to allay fears, and secure better cooperation.




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  4. If you want a guaranteed free table that you can book by the hour, try the Red Parrot pool hall. It is located in the building along Surawong Road, in-between Patpong 1 and Patpong 2 - third floor. There are easy to see signs outside at ground level, on Patpong 2.


    The place has 35 tables - all of them full-size (9 foot), and in pristine shape. Top-quality cues, brand new balls - first class everything. The place is HUGE - and everything is first rate. Individual games cost 30 baht. I think it's 240 baht per hour to rent a table.




  5. Years ago, I read a master plan for a SE Asian rail network that was based on two main rail lines - one connecting Kunming, China, to Singapore, and the other connecting Assam, India with the Vietnamese port of Danang.


    I remember looking at a map, and mentally positioning those two lines - and thinking - Wow - someday some land near the intersection of those two rail lines is going to be worth a lot.


    One big problem that holds Thailand back on improving its rail service is that all rail lines in Thailand are single track - so that trains going in opposite directions cannot use the line at the same time (they must frequently shunt off, to allow an apposing train to pass). I would guess that the two main lines would be created with dual tracks.




  6. On Tuesday, September 27, at about 11:30 am, I saw the first running of a five-car train on the Sukhumvit line, while waiting on the Onnut platform. The train was running from the Bearing end, toward Mochit.


    It was running EMPTY - and did not stop at stations - and it was also running at about one third speed - presumably to avoid catching up to the normal three-car train ahead of it.


    One interesting aspect was that the train appeared to be completely new - or freshly refurbished. Its undercarriage was completely black - no rust or oxidation - and the entire train glided by it total silence - it was really eerie. It was also pretty impressive as the mid-point of the train reached my spot - where I am used to standing, day after day. With the extra cars, the train extends almost twice as far in each direction - and the length is really noticeable from the mid-point.


    So - anyway - the testing has begun, and at least one train is already running - so it should not be too long before the five-car trains are put into regular service. And - that day cannot come too soon for me.



    As an aside - I wonder what genius decided to implement the zero-cost fare for FOUR MONTHS from all of the five new stations, as far as Onnut? That move puts about 100,000 extra people on the train daily - without expanding capacity. Brilliant move, sunshine - you really nailed that one.

  7. After a couple of years of near celibacy - driven by low sex drive after about 11:00 am daily - I moved toward "involvement" with a couple of selected professional nightlife performers. Feeling a need to "refresh my game" in anticipation of coming events, I bowed to the inevitable, and picked up a five-pack of Kamagra gel packets at the pharmacy next to Bully's - and devoted myself to giving that solution a "test drive."


    Well, Kamagra works wonders. For me, it seems to "kick in" within about 35-40 minutes - and its effects are still quite operational some 16-18 hours later. Along the way, it lets me pull off about three "sessions" within a two-hour massage - if the masseuse is up for it.


    So - anyway - to give my new pharmaceutical solution a proper workout, I began visiting various massage shops. I tried a couple on Soi 23, and one on a sub-soi off Soi 24 (which had been written up on Stickman's site). All were pretty much the same - pick the girl from a gaggle that were hanging around, be lead upstairs, shower yourself, lie down, girl eventually comes in - clothed - and starts a legitimate massage on your back, with you lying face down. As time moves on, and small talk progresses, you can eventually talk them out of their clothing, and move on to more sensual activities - and - at four different shops - quite complete "full service" was eventually forthcoming - pretty much with a smile.


    Fairly consistent approach.


    And then I visited Tulip massage - located virtually underneath the Thonglor BTS Station on the south (even Soi) side. Non-descript entrance, which leads to a large room with a small beauty parlor on one side, and a small reception desk. On my first visit, at about 3:30 pm, a plain looking lady was at the desk - I told her I wanted a two-hour oil massage - and she spoke a name into a microphone - and a slightly chubby girl (by Thai standards) popped out of a doorway leading to a back room. She was not particularly beautiful, but she had a big smile - and I just decided to go with the flow. She led me upstairs to a room, turned on the aircon, asked me what I wanted to drink (I asked for cold water), and told me to just wait for her - and she left the room.


    Oh - by the way - this girl spoke almost no English - I speak Thai well enough that we had smooth communications throughout - but I would suggest that a non-Thai speaker specifically ask for a girl that speaks your language.


    After a couple minutes,a service girl brought a bottle of water and a glass of ice to the room. The masseuse was gone for almost ten minutes, and I had just started undressing myself, when she returned, with a basket full of "stuff". She squealed at me to stop undressing, as she unloaded items from the basket around various corners of the massage bed. Then she came over and slowly undressed me. I then stepped toward the shower - and she proceeded to peel off all her clothes. She then joined me in the shower, waited for the water to heat up, and then began soaping me up. Big smile, big tits, more solid/strong body than I had perceived while she was dressed. Responded happily to my exploring her body - and gave me a long warm kiss when I made that initiative. After soaping and washing off my legs and groin area, the Kamagra effect was kicking in, and she happily started a slurping blow-job right there in the shower.


    After couple of minutes I pulled her up, and she gave me a good rise all over, and suggested that I exit the shower - and she then gave herself a full scrub-down. I had started drying myself - but she again squealed at me to stop and wait for her - and she got out and diligently dried me off - and then gently pushed me toward the bed. I laid down on my back - Kamagra effect at full mast - and watched her dry off. She then came over to the bed, and went right to work on my flagpole, with a quite talented mouth and tongue.


    There is no bull-shitting around at Tulip massage - it is all pleasuring, all the time.


    Over the next 100 minutes or so, this lady proved herself to be virtually the Energizer bunny. She was "game on" for everything (I'm not into anal - so I don't know about that) - and wore an ear-to-ear smile throughout. This girl was EXTREMELY responsive to stimulation - of nipples, by kissing, and by more obvious and direct stimulation. This ended up being right up there with the best experiences I have ever had - unbounded enthusiasm - the girl got herself off four or five times - and she got me off three times by 1 hour 40 minutes - at which point I was worn out, and called it a day.


    This girl LOVED sex, and loved to please - and blew away every other masseuse I had visited over the previous couple of weeks.


    The two-hour oil massage was 800 baht - and I gave the girl 1,500 baht, and she seemed happy.


    Ten days later I returned to Tulip, and asked for the same girl - but she was not there that day. This time, there was no one at the reception desk when I came in (about 1:00 pm) - but someone from the beauty shop side of the room came over - and it was katooey. She handed me a binder that opened to a two-page spread of girl's pictures - probably about 50 girls total. I picked one, the katoey spoke the name into a microphone, and the chosen girl quickly appeared.


    The rest of the experience was pretty much the same - but this girl was slimmer and prettier, and spoke English quite well, and was not as "bubbly" enthusiastic as the girl from my first visit. Still - she delivered the goods - and was "game on" for anything I wanted, for as many times as I could muster. A completely satisfying experience.


    By the way, in our small talk, I learned that over the 18 months she had worked there, she had made more than 100,000 baht per month during one five-month stretch, but that business recently was down quite a bit. She worked six days a week, and typically did 2-3 massages per day (although an average of four per day, in the "good old days").


    The only slight glitch came when I went downstairs to pay - this time I had just specified a 90 minute massage, which ran 600 baht. So - gave my girl 2,000 baht, and told her to keep the change. There was brief discussion with the cashier - and they made me understand that 1,500 baht was the "standard" tip for the girl. It was bit awkward - so I just dug out another 100 baht note, and handed it to her. I feel that my money was well spent - but I was a bit taken back by the idea that they require a standard tip. Then again, I had not discussed money any time during the session, so I suppose that price might have been revealed to me, if I had asked.


    Unless I want a real massage, I will not be bothering with any other massage venues in the future - Tulip leaves the rest in the dust.

  8. She vows to restore "international relations", apparently referring to Cambodia.


    Translation: All the furor on the Cambodian side of the Prah Venehr temple issue was "manufactured" to order, at Thaksin's request, in order to discredit the sitting Thai government. The problem now miraculously resolves itself, based on the "superior statesmanship" of the new PTP administration.



  9. She's an attractive lady.


    I can't wait to find out to what positions of power the top tier of PTP gangster arsonist terrorists are appointed:


    Chalerm (and his spawn)





    I weep for Thailand, with these thugs gaining power.




  10. Well, there I was last evening, getting off the BTS at Asok Station, headed over to Cactus Club at Cowboy for a pulled pork feast. So - down the escalator, to cross through the MRT station under Asok, and do the little dog-leg hike to Cowboy.


    Oops! Not so fast - I have to go through the metal detector security check. I am carrying one tiny Villa grocery bag, containing three things:


    1. A small package of Guylian chocolate

    2. A pack of Gillette Vector razor blades

    3. One slim can of Gillette shaving cream


    The can trips the metal detector. I open the bag wide to show the guard. He pulls me aside. He reaches in and pulls out the can of shaving cream. Then he points out to me the little red square near the bottom of the can, with the flame on it, and "Flammable Gas 2" text. Then he points for me to hit the sidewalk.


    So - I walked out into the rain chuckling, and waited the six minutes or so for the light to change, so I could cross Asok at street level.


    Well, at least there is one highly vigilant MRT security guard out there.


    And - my can of shaving cream will not be endangering any MRT customers.


    Of course, I could probably walk through the same checkpoint with a Claymore mine in a briefcase, and they wouldn't notice anything - since "Front Toward Enemy" doesn't have the little red flame thingy next to it.



  11. You are going to get a bunch of conflicting answers here - some based on "theory" of how things work, and some based on practical reality.


    I have spent some time with a retired senior Thai diplomat and his wife. His last post before retirement was as Thailand's ambassador to China. He previously served as Thai ambassador to Kuwait, North Korea, Mexico/Carribbean, and several other countries that I now forget. He told me that over an entire career, he had never heard of a Thai citizen losing Thai citizenship. However - he had personally signed off on thousands of applications for new Thai passports, sometimes for Thais who had left Thailand 40-50 years earlier - and who had left the country without clearing Thai immigration (or without ever having even had a previous passport). There was a procedure they used to track down someone's national ID number - that is the only thing needed to reestablish citizenship identity.


    He also indicated that many Thais travel on multiple passports, and that Thai embassies overseas are accustomed to issuing Thai entry visas to Thais who will visit Thailand using a non-Thai passport - but that such Thais must follow all the same rules as non-Thais, while they are traveling as such.


    My acquaintence is presently a retired diplomat who recently served as an Associate Judge of the Intellectual Property Court of Thailand - until being hospilatlized for bypass surgery.


    Let's see what the rest of the rabble comes up with! (By the way, my son, born in Bangkok, is a Thai citizen as far as Thailand knows, but he is also a US citizen - with a US passport).


    "Let the good times roll!"

    Stone Soup

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