So, there’s going to be thunder, lightning and rain galore today for the next few days. I am told by locals that Bangkok has two seasons. May to October is the rainy season, the remainder of the year it just gets hot, peaking in April at 40C+. For a boy from the woods of Surrey and Sussex who fell for a Canadian – think Narnia under the rule of the White Witch – this is exactly the opposite of what my sub-conscious desires. I like snow. Heck, I even went to Ottawa at -28C attired in a T-shirt and a corduroy jacket and felt OK. Britain’s summers are a washout – period. Statistically over the past 40 years the British summer – which is encapsulated in a 90day period from June-Sept – officially rains exactly 50% of the time. This year we were handed our usual hosepipe ban in April only to have it lifted pre Olympics because of the 6 weeks of non-stop rain.
You can tell the Brits love to moan about the rain whilst secretly loving it. Clues like the fact our roads are designed to handle it and we have 50+ words for it. Every morning I’d bound out of bed, energetically heading for the window (my real self sheepishly following this fantasy about five minutes later) to gleefully announce:
“it’s sh*tting cats and dogs again today. Let’s go out!”
A far cry from the: “oh, no we’ve got 0.6mm of snow. Everything stop. Country down. Medic. Someone send a photo to the BBC.”
Anyway, I am told that this rain is of mythical proportions compared to that paltry Sceptred Isle and we should be stocking up on everything, arming ourselves against snakes (I have watched that Samuel L Jackson film on a plane so I consider myself tutored), and crocs, and effluence and,…I don’t know…anything else that chooses to drift by. As such, a trip to Villa Market for the 24Baht per can of Chang beer, a lot of Pepperidge farm soft-baked, double choc chunk cookies (try them, honestly, they are more-ish), and I’m good to go.
Here I stand on the balcony of 11th floor of our apartment building, knitted galoshes on, peering out from under my two-tone Cornwall Biosphere umbrella, nervously glancing at a sky that is searingly blue. It’s getting a trifle hot in this 35C heat, to be honest. Still, “rain will come” say the diplomats with the unswerving tone of the well-informed and I am ready for it, despite the raised eyebrow of our nanny who calmly vacuums around the crazy farang.
Outside the apartment a calamity has hit the docks, where the shipment of Canadian Henry of Pelham has been dropped from on high to the docks. It is not yet reported if a splintering sound was heard and anxious glances for oozing liquid will be the order of the day. Should the worst have occurred then, on the plus side, docks varnished in 10 billion litres of Canada’s finest wine sounds like a boozy lunch for the next week for the crabs, limpets and everything else that lives on the rim of the great fish toilet bowl.
Yesterday was a new experience for me. Tofu. I have to say, mixed in with a vegetable Pad Thai, it wasn’t bad at all and I won’t say “No, thank you” next time round. Washed down with some Baby Fish biscuits is quite a palate sensation. And orange juice. That’s it for now, I’ve been warned by the diplomats, prepared my rain attire, stocked my cupboards and understood the processes of handling snakes. The clock is ticking…
Is this what diplomacy is all about?