Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Weather - Thailand versus England

Almost a year ago now, while sitting in the living room of the flat I was renting in Suffolk, England – I came up with my top 10 reasons for wanting to leave England to live and work abroad. Now, I’m sitting in Thailand, living the next episode of my journey to lead a simpler life.

I’m from the school of thought “you never know until you try” and firmly believe that events and situations are very rarely as you imagined they would be. With that in mind, I didn’t leave England in January under the banner of “never to return again”, but more in an attempt to explore and discover the realities of living in other countries. Only then did I feel I could possibly be in a position to make an informed choice on “where to lay my hat”.

Having now spent 3 months away from England, and having gained a good insight into life in Thailand I felt it was time I started to revisit my top 10 reasons for wanting to leave England – to see if anything has changed.

The number one reason for wanting to leave England to live and work abroad, I previously attributed to - The Weather. Click here to read my thoughts on English weather.

So – now that I’ve been in South East Asia for longer than a 2 week holiday, how do I feel about the weather here – in comparison to the UK.

Even if you can’t stand the British weather, there are positive aspects to the seasons we experience in England. Whilst it has been great to be here in Thailand, beside beautiful beaches, with beaming sunshine radiating heat of 30 or 40 degrees, we have often craved a cold wintery night so we could snuggle up on the sofa with a duvet, and enter into a kind of hibernation. Winter in England, although it’s cold, meek and for many depressing, it is also a great time to rest, stay at home, rejuvenate, and consider new ventures. Then, only after the sleepiness of winter, can you experience the waking up in spring.

As we sweated our way through a very hot March over here in Thailand, we occasionally drifted off to fond thoughts of daffodils carpeting our local country park in Suffolk, spring born lambs playing in the fields, and walking the dog in the woods while witnessing the first signs of life in what seems like Nature’s New Year.

Here in Thailand, the changes in weather during March were less apparent. We were well into the hot season on Koh Lanta (South West Thailand), and at that point, no seasonal changes in nature had really been obvious – even the diving conditions were fairly constant. But as it got nearer the end of March, it got hotter and hotter, to a point we could barely move. While I enjoyed the laziness the heat inspired, Paul got frustrated and dreamt of cool, fresh, pine woodlands...

Then just as it got too hot to bear.... the weather cracked!!!

Lightening from our balcony a couple of days ago.

Then yesterday morning we sipped hot cups of tea, huddled under the cover of the Aqua Bar, outside the dive shop, while watching the treacherous rain carve rivers into the beach.

Suddenly the frogs started their loud choruses which more resemble the sound you would expect to hear from a gigantic herd of mooing cows, than a mass of frogs. And last night, riding home on the moped was more like racing around an obstacle course, as Paul swerved again and again, in attempt to dodge the frogs which seem to have appeared everywhere – from nowhere. Every now and again throughout the day, the insects in the trees and bushes started up their high pitch singing for a few minutes, and then miraculously, like a conducted orchestra, they all stop at the same time.

Thailand has two prominent seasons - dry season, and rainy season - high season and low season. The timing of each season varies considerably depending upon where in Thailand you are, and in some areas is actually the complete opposite to here on Koh Lanta. During low season (April/May – October/November) Koh Lanta pretty much closes down apart from Kan Tiang Bay in the South. The conditions of the sea make it difficult to dive, and the rain, although by no means continuous, is frequent enough to deter tourists.

Over the last couple of years the rain has arrived on Koh Lanta in May – and locals are unsure at the moment as to whether this last couple of stormy outbreaks - is the low season arriving a month early, or just a freak outbreak.

Whatever – the storms are amazing to watch for now – and provided a pleasant, but temporary break from the humid heat of the last few weeks..

1 comment:

malia said...

oh my! we've been caught in some torrential downpours too in the past few weeks! that's a great picture of the lightning storm...

i can totally relate to craving a colder evening - and i'm from hawaii! it gets hot back home, but definitely not THIS kind of hot. more reason to hide out during the day in air con...

although i can't help but feeling guilty when i've skipped yet another trip to some historical site or market because i'm JUST TOO HOT!!

we'll see. i'm in saigon now, and heading north soon... i've heard hanoi is much cooler, and i can't wait!