As much as you folks in the further reaches of the Northern hemisphere may scoff at it, Thailand has been in the grip of a high pressure trough which has dropped down from China, bringing with it the chilly Siberian air.
Temperatures Sunday night hit an nine-year low in Khrungthep: 15 C / 59 F. The last time we were colder was on Christmas Day 1999: 13.2 C / 56 F while the coldest I could find on record was January 12, 1955 at 10 C / 50 F.
“Oh, that’s nothing!” scoffed one of Tawn’s former colleagues, a British expat still living in our tropical paradise. “Thais don’t know what cold weather really is!”
Put it into perspective, though. Our average low temperature in December and January is 21 C / 70 F. So we’re significantly cooler than the norms and much cooler than I’ve experienced since I moved here in October 2005. People aren’t used to this and even I closed the windows today for fear I would catch a chill from the cross-ventilation.
Tawn even reported that one rider on the SkyTrain was wearing earmuffs, although that may be just because the air con is often quite cool on the train. We would see this at the cinemas, too, but then the digital sound (which is cranked up to 10, by the way) would be muffled.
In Loei province, in the more mountainous north, the overnight low was 2 C / 36 F. Provincial governors have been coordinating the emergency distribution of blankets.
And last night a monk in his 70s died from exposure in Ayutthaya, about ninety minutes by car north of Khrungthep. He had only a knit cap and a jacket to add warmth to his robes, and was discovered in his cell by other monks when he failed to show up for the early morning alms collection rounds.
Speaking of knit caps and jackets, Tawn has dug deep into his closet and is enjoying this opportunity to layer and dress in a more wintry fashion. Above, a wool vest purchased at Macy’s while in the US. Below, an ascot and sportscoat keeps Tawn warm while enjoying his morning oatmeal on our balcony.
Oatmeal isn’t the only cozy food we’re eating. Last night I heated up the Dutch oven and cooked some split pea soup. I’m perusing other hearty recipes that will help us get past this cold front until the warmer days of the hot season return. Tis the season for braising!