Hibernation Complete.

Every time it happens.  And every time I fail to see what is happening to me until it gets too late.

Rainy season.

Every rainy season, without fail.  The rain comes, the sun goes into hibernation.  My summer sun-kissed-ness (new word) fades.

Every.  Thing.  Is.  Damp.

And somehow I let myself become the weather personified.

I am the cloud.  I am the rain.  I am the doom and gloom and I forget why I ever came to Thailand.  A brief internet search has me self diagnosing myself with Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder.  Which I probably don’t have considering I have survived many a grey Autumn/Winter back home in the UK.

My facebook news feed fills up with friends enjoying ice cool ciders on a Cornish beach.  With festivals and BBQs and all that is wonderful and right about a British summer.  Deck chairs.  Pimms.  Sipping Pimms in a deckchair.  I even find myself thinking about the bloody seagulls.  Yes, I miss those flying vermin that snatch tasty treats right out of your hand.

I can’t believe I would ever find myself hankering after a BRITISH summer.  They aren’t exactly renowned for being that great.

The blog all but dies, and Facebook has a wonderful time reminding me of posts I had made when I first came here and rainy season was just a bit of exciting weather and everything was new and exciting and inspiring.  Now I have nothing new or exciting or inspiring to post about.  I am sorry dear readers, but I am beyond the point of writing just for the sake of it.  And I am sure that you are glad of that.

But times are a’changing my dear.

Today is November 1st – the first official day of high season here in Phuket.  And, same as every year, it’s like someone has flicked the sunshine switch back to ‘ON’ and it is glorious and beautiful and all things that make the weather in Thailand wonderful.

Today I am feeling thankful.  Thankful that the sun has finally made an appearance that will hopefully continue for the coming months.  Thankful that I can once again wear my summer dresses and my flip flops and have beach trips on the weekends and BBQs in the evenings.  We may not be able to have a glass of Pimms but I can make a bloody good attempt at making some sort of Sangsom based summer cocktail.

I realise that as you read this in your Autumnal homeland with Winter drawing in and the prospect of not only rain, but sleet and snow and de-icing car windscreens and frozen pipes and… here I am complaining about a few months of rain.   But it’s all relative baby – and I should count my lucky stars that it is hot once again and that I have survived another rainy season.

#firstworldproblems?  I got me #Thailandproblems.  And I would rather make it through a thousand more rainy seasons than ever have to de-ice my car or wear thermal underpants ever again.

Time to once again start loving my Thailand life.  Expect more blog posts soon.  I am out of hibernation once again.

❤ Kylie

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Five for Friday: visiting the cinema in Thailand

Going to the cinema in Thailand is the perfect way to spend a dreary afternoon during the rainy season or to take advantage of the super power air conditioning on a hot day.  Cinemas can usually be found in large shopping centres and even in Tesco.

Most good cinemas offer at least one English film subtitled in Thai and for the more adventurous, English subtitles are usually available on the Thai films, which is good for anyone embarking on a Thai/farang date.

Here are my five top tips for visiting the cinema in Thailand:

Don’t trust the online times as in my experience they are usually wrong.  This shouldn’t be too much of a worry though as you will be subjected to around 20 minutes of adverts and trailers before the movie begins.

Bring a cardigan. And a scarf. Maybe go the whole hog and bring a blanket – the air conditioning is always set to arctic conditions – on my last trip to the cinema I almost lost the feeling in my toes.

Turn off your phone. OK, so most westerners don’t need to be reminded to do this (at least people from the UK) but in Thailand it isn’t unusual for people to keep their phones switched on throughout their visit to the cinema- l once witnessed a woman playing candy crush during a screening of the Hunger Games!  Thai mobile network provider Happy have even created this catchy advert to remind people to switch their devices off- although it doesn’t seem to be all that effective…

Please stand for the King’s film.  You may feel silly or you may like to think that you don’t have to because you’re not Thai, but please have the common decency to stand politely as the obligatory film in honour of the King is played.  Here’s a little taster of what you can expect so thats it doesn’t come as a complete surprise.

⑤ Here’s a tip for those of you who truly want to make your trip to the cinema an experience – spend that little bit extra and get a sofa.  A standard cinema ticket in Thailand is around 180 baht but if you don’t mind spending a little extra you can get a sofa for 500 baht per couple – these bad boys are super comfortable, spacious and they recline so far back that if the film turns out to be a flop you can always have a nap (there’s reason number 2 for bringing along a blanket).

Want something even more special than a sofa?

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Check out this floating film festival in Koh Yao Noi – incredible… only in Thailand.

Five for Friday – top tips for the rainy season in Thailand

Heavy Downpour

Usually the rainy season is made up of isolated showers flanked either side by perfectly dry, warm weather but this week the south of Thailand has endured three days of non-stop rain.  The rivers are swollen and if we have one more day of rain it is likely that places will start to flood, and Hat Yai has seen some serious flooding in the past.  Coming from the UK, I am very used to a rainy climate but nothing can prepare you for a monsoon until you are caught in one yourself.  Here are my five top tips for coping with the rainy season in Thailand.

  • Invest in a good rain coat.  Those 7-eleven ponchos may be cheap but you are effectively draping yourself in a flimsy carrier bag that will offer little protection from the oncoming downpours.  Oh, and they flap in the wind as you go along on your motorbike like the Michelin man and it’s super annoying.  And remember to always keep our coat to hand – there’s nothing worse than getting caught in a shower and realizing that your raincoat is sat at home in the dry.
  • Carry a change of clothes with you if you are going anywhere where you will need to look presentable.  I wear an old skirt and a pair of flip flops on the way to school, arriving bedraggled and soaked, only to perform a superman style transformation in the toilet, emerging in a fresh, dry outfit and – most importantly – dry shoes.  Spending 8 hours standing in soggy shoes is not nice.  Trust me.
  • Get to know the drips, leakages and generally any place where water can get in to your home.  If you live in a condominium or lovely flash apartment this may not be a problem, but if you live in a Thai style house like we do, the roof may not be 100% rain proof.  If it’s raining hard enough and in the right direction, we have dripping leaks in every room but the bathroom (which ironically is a wet room anyway).
  • On the subject of the bathroom, again if you live in a Thai style home you may not have hot running water.  Usually this is no problem, with refreshing water to cool you down on a hot Thai afternoon, but in the rainy season during a particularly rainy day the last thing you want is a freezing cold shower.  On days like this I resort to boiling a pot of water on the hob and having a bucket wash.  It’s not ideal but neither is risking hypothermia (OK, slight exaggeration but you know what I mean).
  • Listen to the locals.  If you live in a flood prone area like we do, listen to their predictions on the likelihood of a flood.  They will speak from experience and knowing the land much better than you do.  If they are talking of the risk of flood, go out and stock up on the essentials – water, rice, noodles, bread, candles – Thai people will never say I told you so but do you want to be known as the farang that got stranded at home with nothing but the crusty remnants of the back of your fridge?

What do you do to cope with the rainy season?  Anyone got any secret tips?