Sweat

Bangkok really doesn’t get that hot in absolute heat. Someone once commented that Washington DC hits over 100F in the month of August more often than Bangkok does in the entire monsoon season (depending on the year can be a whooping mid-May through November).

The worst is the humidity. The folks who have been here longer than me pretty much all say that one never really gets used to it. One may learn to tolerate it but never completely get comfortable. That’s not a cheery thought given that the humidity stays pretty much the entire year.

To give you an idea, here’s a comparison of average July humidity levels in several cities, courtesy of BBC Weather:

Bangkok
66-91%
Calcutta
80-86%
Dakar
66-84%
Dallas
48-76%
Hong Kong
77-87%
Honolulu
63-70%
Lagos
80-87%
Lima
77-94%
London
59-71%
Manila
68-91%
Nairobi
58-86%
New Orleans
63-84%
Paris
57-83%
Penang
67-77%
Riyadh
19-33%
San Jose (CR)
74-89%
Singapore
72-79%
Washington
53-79%

On top of all that, July is actually a cooler month for Bangkok, thanks to the downpours.

The first two weeks, any physical exertion, even just a block’s walk, results with my being drenched with sweat. Which is pretty gross considering that that is how I start my day and I have to deal with it for the entire day.

By the third week, my body recognises a mere five percent drop in humidity… and appreciates it. I was cheered considerably when I noticed, one afternoon on the Skytrain, that some of the Thais are also sweating. Well, it’s not a good sign when even the locals can’t handle the weather. But it makes me feel less out of my element and less of a wimp.

I have now gone through two days without my shirt showing rather unbecoming sweat marks on my back. I have to feel quite pleased with myself.

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