Wednesday, November 27, 2013

29. Rainy Day

Chian Saen Lake

A perfect day to give the motorcycle a well deserved rest and keep the cover on.

Instead, I took a kayak to explore Chiang Saen Lake which is directly at my door steps.

The morning hours were comparatively cool, however the humidity and my rain gear ensures that one is soaking wet after about 30 minutes of crossing the lake. You have to imagine the absolute quietness, no distant car noises, no indices of civilization. Instead you here ducks, frogs, water hens, and other birds and water foil, and the noise you generate yourself.

However, what amazed me the most on the lake are two phenomena, and please excuse my ignorance, I am a lay persons observing all this in wonder, and no expert in such topics whatsoever. I am also entirely incapable to provide the correct scientific lingo:

1. The lake is populated by large patches of "floating islands", which I can move around with my paddle, if they are small enough. They have turf on top, looks really like a patch of lawn, flowers and little plants, yet they are not connected to 'terra firma'. 

2. The other fascinating aspect are water lilies.

Years ago I met several times Professor Wilhelm Barthlott from the University of Bonn, who discovered the so-called "Lotus-Effect", a truly astonishing piece of  nano bio-engineering with fascinating consequences for future surface technology.

Please read below:

However, I was not familiar with the fact that it also can be observed on the large, floating leafs of the water lilies in a lake such as this one. Morning dew, unpolluted, pristine water, collects on the leaf and forms large bubbles which don't 'wet' the top surface of the leaf. See the photographs I took this morning.

Another fascinating aspect of the leaf is that it is 'tethered' to the bottom of the rather deep lake; a 'life line' connects the plant to the ground for the transport of nutrients and to keep it physically in place. I am fascinated by this!

Taking the kayak out to explore the lake.

Large floating islands.

I can push them with my paddle and they will move.

Water hen, I believe.

The big dew bubbles on the leaves.

The nano structure of the leaf surface (under an electronic microscope it looks like a field of golf balls) prevent the water from wetting the leaf.

Tethered to the bottom of the lake.

The rest of the day was spend checking my equipment and getting some repairs done.

Here in town lives a true craftsman, a shoemaker and leather repair shop. He needs to repair my DAYTONA leather boots who were damaged in yesterday's little mishap.

The boots feature a rubber surface on top to allow for better grip for up shifting. This rubber piece gave way, something needs to.

The town shoemaker looked at it and was not happy. He will now replace the rubber with heavy duty, black leather, on BOTH boots he said, of course. He doesn't like rubber.

Since my leather gloves show also signs of disintegration due heavy use and high humidity, he replaces the leather on both palms as well. Amazing. He will be done tomorrow evening, since I will leave on Friday morning.

Watching the river pass by.
There is always something interesting to see.
People are crossing with little water taxis from the Laos side to here freely, back and forth.
The current is strong.

The shoe maker and his wife.

Left of the green dust pan are my gloves, the leather replacement parts are already cut.

It may not be your style, but these are hand-made shoes, entirely.
They would set you back in Munich, Germany, around 2000+ Euros, or a thousand British pounds in London.

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