You Can’t Beat the Heat

April 6, 2010

I am sitting here at my desk.  The thermometer on the wall says its 96°F/35°C.  It’s over 100°F/38°C outside.  It has been the same daily temperature every day for the past 10 days or so.  Pretty boring.  Why can’t it get to 105°F/40°C so we would have something to talk about?  March and April are like this.  So I will sort of make this a stream of consciousness piece since my brain is very close to ceasing functioning.  If it gets to 40°C then all you will probably see will be random letters typed on this page.  Wish me luck.

I just came back from getting my motorcycle inspected.  That sounds like a routine enough undertaking except that I got a flat tire halfway to the inspection center and had to push the bike about 2 kilos to a place that repairs flats.  (Remember the temperature.)  Luckily there was a Big C (Thailand’s equivalent to a Wal-Mart) nearby so an hour was spent there, cooling off and drinking iced coffee.  But I made it back alive, which at a few points was in question.

I want to talk a little about living through the hot season here.  Many people come here in the winter time on vacation, fall in love with the place, and decide that Thailand would be a great place to live and maybe even retire.  Well, don’t make any decisions until you experience a hot season here.

There are basically three seasons in Thailand.  There is the rainy season, June –October.  Coming from Seattle, I find this season quite nice.  Unlike Seattle, where it rains for what seems like months at a time, here it will rain for a few hours a day, just enough to cool things off, or to steam things up, depending on your point of view.  Then there is the cool season, November – February.  Here is the way I describe the cool season in Chiang Mai.  If you are really good in this life, and do lots of good things, and make wonderful karma, then you will be reborn in a place that is like Chiang Mai in the cool season.  But you will have to be really good.

Now if you are pretty bad, then you have a good chance to be born in a place that is like Chiang Mai in the hot season.  Not only is it really hot and humid but there is lots of burning of fields and forest at this time of year.  This makes for what has become a yearly time of smog and smoke.  If you have a lung disease then this is not the place and time for you.  My Thai friend just spent 5 days in the ICU with a lung infection.  He had to be put on a ventilator when his lungs filled with fluids and ceased to function.  We brought him home from the hospital yesterday and he was advised to stay indoors for the coming future or until the air clears up.

Look at the picture of me above.  That’s my house and Doi Suthep Mountain in the background.  Today you can’t see the mountains, only about 1 kilometer away.  That is how thick the smog is.

A typical hot season day is spent like this:  Wake up, eat a little breakfast, lay down on the tile floor or anywhere that is cool, wait until lunch time, have a little to eat, lay down on the tiles again until dinner time, have dinner until the sun sets, then begin your day.  Now a lot of expats will add “have a beer” between each of the stages above.  I don’t imbibe anymore so I drink lots of water and juice and cokes along the way.

So here are my thought processes lately.  Where can I go for March and April that will save my poor brain from cooking?  I have been thinking of Kunming, China.  There are direct flights from Chiang Mai and the average temperature in April is 75°F/24°C.  Living there is cheap and, interestingly enough, there is a large population of ethnic Thai (or Tai) people living there.  Anyone ever been there?  Drop me a comment and let me know if it would be a good place to run away to.

OMG!  I just looked at the outside thermometer.  It is just about 40°C.  I am afraid that lojfpo ;lfjmew paoj39 flirp3mf lkajamnfl.

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4 Responses to “You Can’t Beat the Heat”

  1. Catherine said

    Hugh,

    I am sooooooooooooooooo hot here in Bangkok. My morning walks are really dragging me down.

    I leave the house around 7.20, finishing about 9am. I sit in a local shop for 15, enjoying a cool drink (trying to recover), and then drag myself home.

    Today I passed out on the sofa after my brief time out in the heat. Useless.

    And just like you described, it’s a deadening tiredness.

    I just might escape elsewhere too (but I know nothing of China).

  2. andy blevins said

    hey,

    i was wondering if you could give me a ballpark guess of insurance (health) cost there in thailand..i am in my mid 60`s and am a diabetic..thank you for any help you can give..

    andy blevins

    • Andy,

      Here is something I wrote on medical care in Thailand a few years ago. It has some website links to insurance companies. http://www.chiangmainews.com/ecmn/viewfa.php?id=1648

      If you are diabetic then most likely you take medication or injections. It would be best when you visit here to check to see if they have the meds you need and how much they will cost. Some medications are made in Thailand and are fine, but lots of people will opt for medication that is imported from Europe or the U.S. to be more sure of the quality. These can be much more expensive.

      I myself do not carry medical insurance. I do keep an (medical) account with enough money to cover most problems up to and including open heart surgery, just in case. One should probably have one or the other. The last I looked I would have had to pay about 10,000 baht a month for a basic insurance policy. For me, the bank account seemed better. But insurance is a very individualistic thing and I make no suggestions except get as much info as you can.

      Lots of luck.

  3. […] blogged about the hot season in Thailand before (You Can’t Beat the Heat) and how enervating and life sucking the 40 degree C (104 F) can be. This year hasn’t been […]

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