A friend in the UK commented recently that these days all my articles seem to talk about the weather. It’s true. The fact is, I really haven’t been able to get out to do any exploring, which has left me with little else to write about.
But, I think it’s taken me by surprise. Having lived near the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia for so long, I’d become accustomed to tropical weather being a mixture of sun, cloud and rain, in fairly equal proportions, just about every day.
Okay, there were some variations. Around this time of the year when the east coast states were getting drenched, there was a spillover to the west, and there would be more rain than usual. And after Chinese New Year there would be a few weeks of drier weather, but still that same mix of sun, cloud and rain – just in different proportions.
Here, on the east coast of the Thai Isthmus, the seasons seem to be more pronounced. When I arrived in April, I was told it hadn’t rained for several months. You could see that. Everywhere was brown and parched. And for a few months after that it stayed largely dry. Maybe just a late afternoon thunderstorm that lasted a half hour, which was enough to turn the grass green for a day or two.
I could live with that. It was nice. And predictable. I could plan to go places.
But I can see from past articles, I’ve been complaining about the rain for more than two months. And it’s still raining! I hate rain. If I wanted to see rain I could go live in the UK.
I’m a sun & snow person. I loved both the summers and the winters in Switzerland and Canada, especially the latter where it could snow from late October to April, sometimes into May. Well, not all of Canada. I lived in Québec, which Voltaire once described as quelques arpents de neige. By which he meant, it’s nothing but snow. For half the year he was right.
Well, I guess I’m going to have to adjust to the fact that this part of Thailand isn’t much different than the east coast of Malaysia. There are definite seasons. And this one right now is wet. A good day is an hour of sun early morning. Or a glimmer of light in the afternoon. The rest of the time it’s gloomy and wet. Did I mention that? 🙂
It’s depressing. I remember from having worked in Geneva that November is known as suicide month. The sun never shines. The clouds are low and you never see the mountains. Depressing.
So, I’m planning a trip – a long way north, where I hope the sun will shine. At the moment it is, so that’s a good indicator. If nothing else, I can write about something other than the weather.
I’ll be north of Bangkok for a while, both to the northeast and the northwest, but not at the same time! Unless I get quantum-ly entangled like Schrödinger’s cat. I hope not. I don’t like cats.
First I’m going to take in a little motorsport. Next month it’s the International Rally of Thailand, which back in my motorsport days we competed in many times and eventually won, with a couple of guys from Finland competing for us. It’s a prestigious event being part of the FIA Asia Cup, with the winner being awarded the King’s Cup. It’s considered a great honor that H.M. allows his name to be used, and sadly, that means the winners don’t actually get to keep the trophy. But after showing due respect, they are allowed to hold it for a while.
Anyhoo, the rally is based in Lopburi, best known for its monkeys, which thankfully don’t come anywhere near the hotel I plan to stay in. Monkeys may look cute, but they’re actually nasty biting and stealing creatures. There is one famous old temple where they hang out during the day, which I plan to avoid.
If you visit Lopburi you are told the monkeys don’t actually live at the temple, but commute each day from and to the jungle, by riding on top of a train. I think it’s just a story to amuse the tourists, but I can’t be sure, and don’t plan to find out.
I expect to stay about four days in Lopburi, watching the rally, meeting old friends, and visiting ancient temples that are not money-infested. Oh, and I plan to enjoy the sunshine. Hopefully the weather gods are reading this.
Then I’ll spend a few days further east in Kanchanaburi Province, which is known for it’s spectacular hill scenery, cooler weather (oops, I said the “W” word again) and its wartime history – which I’ll write more about once I’ve been.
After which I’ll head back south. By then the rain will have stopped!
In the meantime, which means in the next week and a half, I’ll try to find some things to see and write about, that don’t involve me getting drowned.