Monday, February 10, 2014


December 2013 was a colder-than-usual winter month in the Isaan and January 2014 was the coldest January in the Isaan in decades. Instead of people greeting each other with:

Hawn, baw?” (hot, no?)

The usual greeting has been:

Nao, baw? (cold, no?)

And the reply is invariably:

Nao lie.” (cold a lot).

Many nights I’ve cuddled up to Thip with a long-sleeve cotton shirt, sweatpants, socks, cotton gloves and a hooded fleece jacket under two comforters. Thip has had pretty much all of that plus a sleeping bag.

Some mornings we could even see our breath. I know for many of you, this is not cold at all, but for me at 65 years-of-age and just getting used to the heat of Southeast Asia, the cold is just a difficult adjustment.

As a result of these cold days, my wife and I were usually in bed, after prayers and meditation, not long after sundown. In the mornings, we stayed in bed as long as we could – with just enough time for Thip to steam the sticky rice for sai baht. I had my jacket on, with krama, until late morning and then back on shortly before sundown. I missed taking my daily shower upon occasion, generally taking them in mid-to-late afternoon before temperatures started to drop.

Contrast this daily schedule with my usual ones for the morning, afternoon and evening.

About the only good part about the weather was that it was great for working outside. But – can you believe it? – my arch enemies, the nyoong (mosquitoes) have adapted to the cold and some still fly around, although far less in numbers.

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