Ubon Ratchathani Man vs Wild Continues

Sunday evening around 21:00 my wife and I were walking back from Ubon Ratchathani Rajabhat University Cultural Center from attending the International Cultural and Folk Art show that was held there.

As we rounded a corner onto the soi on which we lived I heard a soft exclamation from my wife. I looked in the direction of her stare and was greeted by a large fire engine from the local Ubon fire department sitting in front of our house.

It was parked crossways and blocking the street for all intents and purposes. I couldn’t see any flames or smell any smoke so I was perplexed about what reason they could be parked there. I did see a ladder rising from the rear of the truck, which was butted up against our fence. My wife seemed to know instinctively and immediately the reason for their presence.

It seems they were there to rid the cement pole of the wasp nest I had posted about on this blog earlier in the day. I don’t really believe in coincidences but I was finding it hard to believe anyone with any power to take action had read my post as well.

My wife initiated a conversation with one of the members of the team. He asked her for a large plastic trash bag or something similar. I was reluctant to assist them as they were about to destroy my benefactors. But alas I was all but powerless to stop them.

The mystery was solved as to what led to their presence there.  I had mentioned in my post about other services that might be affected other than the public address system. That concern came to fruition. My neighbors phone service was out. It would never occur to me to call the fire department if my phone didn’t work but I guess that is common practise here. I would call the phone company and expect them to finance service restoration.

I don’t know if the neighbors phone works now or not. The next morning I went out and reconnoitered the pole. There was mass destruction of the nest but it was not competely gone. Also members of the community who were out on missions at the time of the attack appeared to be fairly hostile and pissed off. I don’t blame them at all.

Everytime I ventured outside yesterday I was on full alert because pissed off wasps will more than likely vary behavior in this situation. The survivors might be looking for revenge and retaliation against whatever target they can find.

Today I noticed there was still activity encircling the wasp lair. But today it was more organized and less frantic. I watched for a short time and realised they are rebuilding. From the ashes there will be a new wasp nest.

I have no idea of the speaker is still out of commission but I do know that the wasp family refused to accept defeat. So now the score is nature 2 – man 1. Stay tuned for the continuing saga of Man vs Nature in Ubon Ratchathani.


  1. Hello Darwin
    Looks like you may have to listen to that damn PA system again for a while until the nest is rebuilt fully. Ah well….

    Maybe you need to get your wire cutters out and leave the PA powerless in the early hours. Ha

    Those speakers are a real nuissance and I can’t see the point of them but that’s just me. Any other country would call in noise pollution if above too many Db’s within close range of a home but not in Thailand.

    Hope you’re well matey

  2. Jay,
    All is well in Ubon. Hope the same back in Greenwich Mean time.

    I somewhat understand the PA systems out in villages. The residents might not have the same access to modern technology to keep up to date. I guess if you grow up hearing it everyday it becomes the norm and nothing is thought of it. It appears to be a tradition so nobody considers alternative methods to get the word out such as text messages, webboards, email, or making the announcements on a radio broadcast.

    Sometimes I flash back to military training in a POW camp mock-up. The loud speakers were used for psychological warfare to re-educate the “prisoners”.

    I have fantasized about mounting a covert operation in the cover of darkness but without a doubt I would be the only suspect.

    So far the silence remains and as the songs lyrics go, “silence is golden”.

  3. Michael Hare says:

    Hi Guys,

    This is for all you Ubon-Warin guys out there. Nothing to do with bees and loud speakers.

    We are experiencing heavy continuous rain which could cause flooding later towards the end of August and September. Maybe into October. The Mun river is very high.

    I’m an old hand here in Ubon and remember history a bit more clearly than the locals. Like in 1915 when they bused several hundred Free Isarn men from Roi-Et down to Ubon for a meeting and lined them up in Thung Sri Muang to raise the flag and the machine guns rose up and shot them down. We have our own killing fields in the middle of town.

    Back to rain and floods. In 1978, I lived in Khon Kaen, and for my late wife to get home to Ubon she bused to Roi-Et, changed buses to Surin. Then a train from Surin to Warin. She then took a boat a little way down from the railway station across to the main Ubon market. In Khon Kaen my house near the hospital was flooded through the ground floor and my friend erected fish nets in the garden to catch all the fish from the fishery research station.

    In 1982 the same floods occurred again in Ubon. Then in 2000, 2001 and 2002 the floods were more severe. This time the ring roads impounded more water, more business had been built between Ubon and Warin (Ubon Watsatduk the big offender here). I couldn’t drive on any road out to the university. Army trucks were brought in to ferry people from the main market across to Warin. There my researcher would pick me up to go out to the university.

    The cause of these floods is caused elsewhere. Heavy rain upcountry in Udorn and Kalsin will cause their dams to almost overflow; the Ubonrat at Namphong and the Lat Prao in Kalsin. The dam authorities open the gates to release the water to protect their dams. All this water flows down the Chi into the Mun and along to Ubon. If China then releases more water, the Mekong backs up, the Mun can’t flow out and so the water spills over around Warin and Ubon. Further north the same happens in Sisaket, Yasothon and Roi-Et.

    Flooding may not happen in 2009, but at the moment with the high level of the Mun, signs are ominous.

    Buy some gumboots.


  4. Michael,

    Thanks for the heads up. I think it will be a severe flooding season this year. I am already seeing more standing water with less rain than in the past. There has been a lot of build up replacing grass and trees with cement. The cement is at a higher level than the street and so all the rain creates a river in the soi.

    A few years back I had to make a trip to Phibun on September 30th to get my visa extended with 3 colleagues. The driver had a 4×4 and still with the water levels and speed of travel it took us over 4 hours to get back to Rajabhat Ubon from Phibun. Quite and experience.

    Last year wasn’t too severe so I am expecting mother nature to show us her might. I just watched the movie 11th Hour too so that has me in the mindset that some things we humans do to make life better helps to incur the wrath of nature.

    I expect to see the shantys across the Mun on the Warin side maybe end of August or first part of September. Thaks for sharing. I know quite a bit about Ubon but wasn’t aware of the 1915 incident. Seems history is in the process of repeating itself 94 years later.

  5. Michael Hare says:

    Thanks Darwin.

    I can cope with the floods but not anyof those other incidents.

    I went to buy cloth for a pair of trousers from my Indian mate in town and he served me himself; ie got the cloth and cut it etc. I asked him where his good ladies were. He replied, ” They been gone a month. They are in the red shirts rent-a-mob somewhere. They get paid 500 baht/day to demonstrate and block roads. I can’t compete with that sort of money”.

    So there you are. Thasin’s mobs are well paid. Last Sunday in Bangkok with my son we got stuck in a traffic jam because the red shirts were blocking the road celebrating Thasin’s birthday.

    I really don’t know when all this politics (red vs yellow shirts) is ever going to end.


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