They say that English people always talk about the weather. That is probably because it can be so varied and so difficult to predict. Here in Bangkok, you can safely say that it is going to be around the 32 degrees Celsius mark for most of the year. December to January is the coolest and April to May is the hottest. At the moment, it is nearly 11 p.m. and the temperature has dropped to 29 degrees Celsius from a high of 35 Celsius. Humidity is only about 60% so it is not too bad here at the moment. We had some heavy rain at about 4 p.m. which helped to bring the temperature down.
It is now of course the rainy season for most of Thailand. Although it usually starts to rain around Songkran in April, the main rains don’t begin until about June. This then peaks in September and October. By this time, the rivers are at their highest levels and floods are more prevalent. The rains slow down a lot by November and then December and January are relatively dry.
One of the most common questions that we get is about the weather in Thailand. Many people want to know whether it is worth coming to Thailand during the rainy season. They want to be assured that their holiday won’t be spoiled by rain. Well, I can say that in the Central region of Thailand it doesn’t rain every day. and also it doesn’t rain all day. We usually only get an hour or so of heavy rain and then the sky clears up. Usually this happens either at the start of the day or the end. However, if there is a weather front passing through it can rain at any time during the day. As a consequence, the rainy season shouldn’t spoil your holiday here.
I cannot talk with authority about the other regions of Thailand. However, I can say that northern Thailand experiences a different weather pattern compared to the deep south. Up in Chiang Mai the temperatures there can vary greatly between evening and daytime. During the cool season it can get close to zero degrees Celsius. It can also get hotter than what we have here in Central Thailand. In some ways they are luckier than us as the humidity is not so great there.
Down south their temperature doesn’t vary so much during the year. They also have two different rainy seasons which splits the peninsular in half. The Andaman Sea side, which includes Phuket, has very heavy rains between May and October. If you are stuck in the monsoon there then all you have to do is cross to the other side that borders the Gulf of Thailand. This area is not so affected by the southwest monsoon. So, at this time of year it is better to visit Krabi and Koh Samui. However, their rainy season runs from October to January as a result of the northeast monsoon. Of course, all you have to do then is go back to Phuket on the other side!
There is no point bringing heavy raincoats as you will get more wet from sweat than the rain! Ponchos are good and cheap versions can be bought here. These are lightweight and can easily be packed away. However, I cannot remember the last time I wore a raincoat. When it rains hard I do like any other Thai person – I stand by the open door and gawk at the rain coming down! Usually it passes quickly. If I do have to go out then I just use an umbrella. Of course, these are also cheap to buy here and there is no need to bring them from your home country. Having said that, it can get quite windy at times and the rain goes almost horizontal.
When it is like this it is best just to sit it out indoors.
Has anyone missed me? It has been a few weeks since my last literary opus (ha!) it seems there was always something getting in the way, including my own procrastination sometimes I admit, to sitting down and hammering out a new blog for the cyber masses. We’ve got so many new and excellent writers on here now for compettition, don’t think that since I haven’t been writing I’ve not been reading I need to hustle and get back in the swing of blogging or I could lose my place!
This time I want to share with you some of this past weekends adventures with my friends in the North Virginia Thai Langauge Group. Our core members are me, Vut, Oop, Dew, Tiffany and Tim and we had a great couple of get togethers this weekend in Virginia at the Lao temple there on Sunday Wat Lao Buddhavong and then back in DC to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday on Monday. At Wat Lao we went to see a true national icon of Thailand in concert, Carabao! I’m going to write more on them tomorrow when I get all the pics we took from the concert ready.
Instead today I want to talk about our other get together the next day to celebrate the Fourth and also one of my favorite subjects…thai food! As our dear Oakmonster would say you don’t entertain guests without offering food (it’s a Thai thing) and the same is true for many Americans you don’t celebrate our nations Independence day without eating but at least you don’t have to dress up like for Thanksgiving unless you decide to wear all red, white and blue for America or the same great colors for Thailand! :p
What would our countries birthday celebration be without hotdogs, hamburgers and BBQ on the grill? Well actually I wouldn’t know since, yep, we went all out and did things Thai Style! I don’t cook unless it’s Thai food (it’s a Wit thing 😉 ) as you can tell in my pic here แกงคั่วสับปะรด anyone?
We had planned to have a potluck get together for awhile now as a group probably at my place since I wanted to cook for the everyone but I have this strange phobia about cooking in someone elses kitchen (lol) I like to know where everything is otherwise I am even more of a wreck when trying to put on a big meal for folks.
Since the Fourth of July was this month I had the brillant idea to combine the two and we could have an outdoor potluck. I would fix everything at home and then finally get to use my nifty Tiffin that I bought at the Thai market last year. Everyone would bring something and we’d have a nice eat out until time for the fireworks to start at least that was the intention.
However what is that expression? The road to hell is paved with good intentions? Well it certainly wasn’t that bad but we did have a few misfires that almost sunk everything! It started Sunday ….
I was attached to the Computer Center of Local University in Penang, Malaysia some 25 years ago (hope that I could boast I was a child protégée and started work at 5). There was a UNDP or UNESCO sponsored project to combine all the South East Asia bibliography into a single volume. There were no problems for Bibliographic materials from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Philippines because they all have romanized titles and cataloging information. However, when it came to Thai, there are Thai scripts as well and romanized text. I was assigned to transliterate the Thai script stored on computer tapes.
The project started with me visiting the Thai professor in the university to understand the Thai letters, how words are formed and pronounced. The consonants, vowels and tonal marks, their positions and how they affect the intonation. A proto-type transliteration program was written and presented to the professor for her reading pleasure. Like a chef waiting at the dining table for clues on how the diner enjoyed the culinary creation, I nervously waited for her comments. She started with a smile and a few seconds later burst into laughter.
After a few rounds of refinements with the professor, I was ready to travel to Bangkok to meet up with some officials at the Thai National Library. After many meetings, discussion and dinners (the latter being the part of programs I enjoyed most), I had to bid the host farewell and went back to writing my report and findings. A few months later, I left to work for a US multinational company, and my task was taken over by a graduate student.
On a smart fellow’s recommendation, the key people in the project decided to buy a Thai Print Train that is able to print Thai Scripts along with Romanized text. Printing was a big deal then and it wasn’t a matter of just getting another printer driver.
The transliteration was finally LOST.