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How do you Beat the Heat?


How do you Beat the Heat?

I know it doesn’t help to talk about it, but damn it’s hot! The word “gradual” never gets used by Thai meteorologists now does it? One day it’s nice and breezy. The next day, WHAM! Hotter than the devil’s backside. Now we’re staring down the barrel of Songkran and suffering the first round of “the dog days of summer”.

It’s the time of year when the long sleeve shirts get tucked away in the back of the closet, the flip-flops come out and we find ourselves digging for that tube of sunscreen purchased last year. When I start changing sides of the street to walk in the shade, I know its summertime.

Everyone has their own solution for beating the heat. Some folks break into what I’d call a Mediterranean pattern of living. They start the day early in the morning before the sun has a chance to heat everything up. By early afternoon going outside is nearly unbearable, so they hole-up in a dark bedroom, turn on the air con full blast and have a nice cozy “siesta” for a few hours until the sun is sinking in the West. Then they rise again when things cool down and continue their lives until the wee hours. It is an effective strategy this time of year if your lifestyle allows such a change.

My friend employs what he calls a “cold storage” approach. He closes up his guest bedroom and turns the air con down to “freeze”. The ceramic tiles on the floor actually start to get condensation on them. When he gets too heated up, he runs to the cold room and lies on the floor. He claims the ice cold tiles suck all the heat out of his body within minutes.

Like many others, I run for the water. That’s the story this picture is telling. Slogging around the sweltering Bangkok heat wears a person down. Everyone is sweaty and a little bit cranky. The only consolation is that no one is immune from the heat. Even Thai people are soaked with perspiration. After a couple weeks of this urban oven, I feel like a big sweaty pachyderm. On Friday afternoon I jump on the motorway and head for my condo in Jomtien. As I slide open those glass doors this jolly fella in the picture is waiting for me; smiling and spewing water in my direction as if to say, “Come on in … the water’s fine”. And come on in I do. For 48 hours I sit chest deep with a frosty adult beverage and a good read, exiting only to refresh my drink and order food.

Waterlogged and sufficiently cooled down, I am ready to face Bangkok’s concrete beehive once again. That’s how I beat the heat. Thank heavens for the motorway and for Bangkok Beach.

Orlando Barton

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