The Me Nam Chao Phraya is a major river in Thailand, even referred to as the River of Kings. On my second day in Bangkok, during my Rattanakosin Island walkabout, I ended up in a plaza across Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn) where the Chao Phraya river has overflowed, swallowing most of the benches by the riverbanks. If you remember the flooding in Bangkok and Thailand in October 2011, you wouldn’t think that the overflow from the calm Chao Phraya River can be the cause for severe flooding in many of the provinces and its capital city. This photo, taken the next day when I explored Bangkok outside of Rattanakosin, was when I took the Chao Phraya Express Boat so I can have a closer look at some of the sights I have missed! Also coz I’m so cheap to buy the dinner river cruise ticket. Hehe 🙂 We passed under the towering Industrial Ring Road Bridge or officially, the Bhumibol Bridge, named after King Bhumibol Adulyadej (apparently, naming bridges after Kings is customary). By the time I left Bangkok the day after, the city was already frantic trying to prepare for the floods — communities passing and arranging sandbags, construction of 2-feet cemented walls by their homes’ doors, diversion of traffic in some areas. Although the Chao Phraya River caused misery to many Thai people, the River of Kings remain to be an important part of their daily lives — either for agriculture, trade or transport. I hope measures, by government and the communities, are being taken so that the October flooding won’t happen to Bangkok or to Thailand again.
The first dam I ever saw in full in my life is Pantabangan Dam in Nueva Ecija. This photo was taken in 2009, back when having a 3.2 megapixel Nokia phone was the in thing. 🙂 Pantabangan Dam is a multi-purpose dam / water reservoir that’s used for hydroelectricity generation, irrigation water for farmlands, and household water supply. I think it’s also used as catchment basin (or reservoir) for rainwater. Its water comes from two sources, I just can’t remember their names. (Help from NIA colleagues please!) When we were there, the Pantabangan Dam and it’s water (after the spillway — it’s not a slide!) was so still and it’s mostly green colored, which I am guessing is either a reflection of the trees, or moss. Either way, I found (actually find) it really beautiful. >
I first heard of Varanasi from a co-volunteer during my first week in India. He said that it is a must for him to visit Varanasi, the Hindus’ holy city. Varanasi is said to be the place where Hindus’ would like to die in, if they get the chance. I was told that it is believed that dying in Varanasi or having their remains sunk below or their ashes scattered across the Ganges River will either stop their reincarnation (maybe especially when they expect to rep bad karma in their next life) and/or go straight to heaven. Another reason for Hindu pilgrimage in Varanasi is the belief that you can be cleansed of your sins and cured of your illness once you drink from or bathe at the Ganges River.