Monday, 4 February 2008

7 ways to stay cool in soaring temperatures

Sitting here on a Sunday in Koh Lanta, at the beginning of February it’s hard to believe that we have been here almost an entire month now. Time seems to have passed by in a flash and the sweltering temperature, particularly over the last few days, has left us feeling like a pair of rarely cooked steaks which have just been shown a glimpse of the heat.

This morning we were on the balcony at 9am drinking our morning ice coffee, and we had to push our chairs as close to the wall of our bungalow as possible in order to remain in the shade and escape the burning morning rays. We’ve been told that at this time of the year the weather just gets hotter and hotter by the day, until it reaches the forties, and sends everyone (including the locals) into a sleepy state where they can do nothing but sit inside with air conditioning or a fan blowing directly on them. Joy of joys! By that time we will be feeling like sizzling burnt sausages which have been left on a burning BBQ.

So... we’ve come up with a list of 7 ways to stay cool in soaring temperatures!

1. Go diving
Divers are lucky – they get to sit on the boats and feel the breeze as the boat cruises over the liquid topaz water to take them to their dive sites, and then they cool off by dipping to depths in the 28 degree ocean for almost an hour. You can almost imagine the steam coming from their bodies as they hit the cooler temperature – almost like a hot frying pan being dunked in a bucket of cool water... In addition to the initial release of steam as you hit the water - your body loses heat a lot quicker when under water - by the end of an hour long dive, if you’re lucky – you may even be COLD!!!!

2. Go snorkelling or swimming
If you don’t fancy diving, or your budget won’t allow it – take a snorkel, mask and fins – smother yourself in sun screen – or better still wear a rash vest and shorts – then stroll leisurely into the sea and take a look at some on the critters residing in your bay. If that gets too energetic – then just float around, or even sit on the sand with the water up to your neck...

3. Go for a drive
This is a great way to cool down, especially if you are suffering from beach fever and want to get away from things a little. Hop on the moped and as soon as you’ve pulled the accelerator lever you’ll feel the cooling breeze. Head for the straightest bit of road you know so you can open up and feel the coolness as the air rushes past you, faster and faster.

TIPS while on the moped: If you pick up a pace and feel a little adrenalin kick in – don’t be too shy to allow a huge “yeeeeeeeeehaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” to escape from your lips – it’s good for your soul! And plus if there’s no one around and you’re on your own – no one will hear you anyway!! Watch out for the occasional elephant, monkey or goat who may roam out on to the road and the show them respect by slowing down.
Don’t forget to fill up with petrol before you go!

And alyways wear sunscreen !

4. Go shopping in 7 eleven
7 eleven is THE convenience store of Thailand. Open 24 hours and offering possibly the coolest aircon you can imagine the shop makes for an excellent cool down stop. You can easily amuse yourself for 15 minutes by taking the opportunity to explore the local offerings of snacks displayed along the shelves.

5. Poor a bucket of cold water over your head
I would have said take a cold shower – however we’ve discovered that at our place the only time the water from the shower is cold is in the evenings. Anytime during the day and you experience quite hot water trickling from the shower – which is fantastic if you want to get clean – but not so great if you want to cool down. As the infrastructure of the island is still less than ideal we also have days when we have no water at all in our bungalow. So – we always have a bucket of water in the bathroom – which is great for chucking over you when you need to cool down – plus it’s a back up if there’s no water supply!

6. Find a cool and breezy spot on the island
As you drive around Koh Lanta on the moped you can’t help but notice the pockets of cool and warm air that you hit. Even though it is a small island there seems to be little micro climates going on... (no doubt their is a scientific explanation for this - but I have no idea what it is) When you’re driving around – look for a cool spot which also has a restaurant – and click save to store it in your memory bank. Then on a hot day – head for that spot...

So far I’ve been 3 times to View Point Restaurant – the first one past Klong Nin. Each time it has been cool and always very breezy. I’m there now as it happens – and one of my prawn crackers was just lifted off its plate by the wind, and flew across the restaurant. They have free wireless here too – which is fab – and the view out is amazing!

7. Have a cold beer
If all else fails – simply sit under a fan for the morning – and then when beer oclock arrives (whatever time you set yourself for beer oclock!), simply crack open a bottle of Singha and forget about things!

So if you’re not out diving, you could quite easily stay cool all day if you apply yourself.

1. First make sure the fan is on through the night pointing directly on you, so that wake up to some kind of breeze.
2. Find some shelter on your balcony for your morning coffee
3. Chuck a bucket of cold water over you
4. Head for the hills on the moped, and find a spot to stay for a few hours
5. Head back home and then when it gets too hot again – go for a float in the sea.
6. After all that floating you may feel peckish so nip to 7 eleven for some shopping
7. By the time you’ve done all that it ought to be beer oclock
8. By the time you’ve finished your first beer the early evening will be bringing some cooler weather...

arrghhhh 3 more of my prawn crackers just flew across the restaurant!!!

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