Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thailand: The Air Conditioner

Thailand is hot, Thailand wrote the book on hot. In April, most years, it’s so hot that it makes us all delirious, Thai’s, Farang, Puerto Ricans, everybody. Walk around in the sun, especially if you’re carrying something, like a briefcase, anything, and you get dizzy, you might start having hallucinations. There are three seasons in Thailand: Hot; Dangerously Hot; and Hot with Rain.

I have discovered that I have a much different behavior pattern with the air conditioner than most Thai’s. When Thai people get home from work, they’re just happy to get out of the sun. Thai people sweat much less than we Farang. When they get home, they don’t put the air on right away, maybe they run a fan or two. Air conditioning costs money, electricity is expensive. But then, when they go to bed, they put the air on and sleep in the coolness.

Me? When I get home, I can’t wait to put the air on. I get the domicile down to about twenty degrees, Centigrade, and I enjoy walking around, sitting around, in the beautiful cool, no shirt on. Then when I go to bed, I turn the air off. Most of the year I admit that I run a fan while I sleep, but it’s not a money thing.

After all, I’m not digging any ditches, I’m not moving around at all. I had an epiphany in my first year in Thailand. My wife and I were living in a rented house that had no air conditioner, and my wife thought that the fan made too much noise, so that was that, we had no fan on. One night I woke up, and as I was thinking wow, it’s nice and cool, I realized that I was sweating up a storm, it was running off of me in every direction that was down. But I was cool. It’s that old evaporative cooling, that’s what sweat is for!

So now, when it’s really hot, I don’t care, I don’t need no air con. I have my fan, if it’s really hot, and if there’s some real sweating to be done, I sleep on top of a “towel blanket,” which may be a Thai innovation. No sense in staining the sheets. But I’m fine, I’m cool.

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