My friend Jeff wrote this article for our PC Thailand newsletter, Sticky Rice, this past edition. I figured since I just posted about cold season, Jeff’s explanation of fan usage is far more effective in explaining how PCVs in Thailand understand heat now, rather than reading thermometers.
My view of ‘hot’ has totally changed now that I’ve lived in Thailand for almost a year now and it’s hard to explain to my friends and family that at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, I think it’s time to turn the fan on low. Jeff and I have talked about this a lot and I feel like many a phone conversation has been dedicated about the weather. He’s from the midwest. We’re living in Thailand. Enough said.
By Jeff Jackson
Much like the pace of life, weather can come on slow in Thailand. If it‘s going to get hot, it seems to take a few days and the same if it should turn chilly. Weather websites hardly seem necessary. If you need a forecast, open the window.
Volunteers from group 123 have been in Thailand for almost a full year and two years for those in 122. All volunteers have a pretty good idea what to expect.
Sometimes looking out the window isn‘t necessary to get an idea for how hot it is. There are other indications such as how the old Thai ladies respond when you ask them if they‘re hot (―rawn mak mak!‖). Volunteers can also count how many times in a day they‘re asked if they‘re hot or the number of times they shower.
I prefer the fan situation. When I go to bed, what is my fan doing and where is it?
The fan is off
This indicates lower than regular temperatures which generally means the Thai people are dressed like American Midwesterners in January.
Fan is blowing, but pointed elsewhere
It‘s cool, but not so cool you don‘t need a little airflow in the room. You might even be able to wear long pajama pants to bed.
Still a bit ―cold‖ for the Thais, but a comfortable night‘s sleep with a bearable cool morning awaits. You fall asleep welcoming the breeze when it hits you and wake up cursing it.
Fan at foot of your bed on low level
Most Thais wouldn‘t have it any other way. These are days you can easily get sunburned and the first hour of sleep probably doesn‘t involve any covers.
Fan at foot of bed on high level
Hopefully you showered before hitting the hay otherwise you‘ll be sleeping with that layer of dried sweat you‘ve been accumulating all day.
Fan within two feet of your face on low level
It‘s been a rough day, hasn‘t it? Unless you have an air-conditioned workplace, men have spent the day cursing the long- pants policy while the ladies are dreaming of the spaghetti-strapped dress they could have worn in the states.
Fan within two feet of your face on highest level
You hit the pillow thankful you‘re alive. You‘ve drank so much water today that you‘ll have to get up another three times in the night, but that‘s okay because you can‘t sleep anyway on account of the parts of your body not hit by the fan and the fact that the breeze will dry your mouth and throat and you‘ll likely have a sore throat before your second bathroom break when you‘ll not only empty your bladder, but possibly take a bucket shower to cool off. I have yet to experience this last level. I‘ve heard from 122 volunteers that the hot season this year was very mild. Last April in Thailand was no worse than August in Washington D.C. I may regret this come hot season, but I didn‘t sign up for Peace Corps to be comfortable. I‘m looking forward to going back the states with some Thailand heat stories