I know that this post will receive scant sympathy from my family in the interior of Alaska where it's hovering around -50F or in the Northwest where it's either fiercely snowing or disastrously flooding, but I am cold--in Bangkok, in the tropics, mere inches away from the equator. And in other parts of the Kingdom, people are dying of hypothermia.
This is the coldest winter that Thailand has seen in ten years. I've lived in places that have taught me the difference between being chilled and being truly cold, and my mind tells me that I'm only chilly but my body frequently responds to that with goosebumps. When I go to bed at night, I'm clad in a nightgown, two cotton tshirts, and socks, swaddled tightly in a sheet and a blanket, and I still wake up to moments of feeling uncomfortable. I think of people in this country who live in the mountains, in houses that are built for heat, and I shudder. I remember the woman I saw in the market at Ubon Ratchathanee who was knitting sweaters at her clothing stall and I wish I had bought one.
We'll all be sweltering in this country soon enough and I know in April I'll be waking in the night, in heat that is so profound that I'll get up to take a cold shower and going back to bed without toweling away the dampness. But somehow that is a friendly, cheerful sensation while being cold feels lonely and very sad.
To warm myself, I think about my recent trip to Laos, where I fell completely in love with Paxse and Champasak--a part of the world that is uninhabited enough to remind me of Alaska but a warm version of the frozen North...come and see...