A Winter in Summer – a short memoir of my life in Bangkok
Winter is slowly but certainly on its way to Switzerland. Last month I occasionally had to put on a winter down jacket and now I’m definitely wearing my winter boots each time I go out of our lake house.
The view to the lake with mountains as background can be fantastic when the sun shines above from the sky. I should look out of the floor-to-ceiling windows more often, as anytime from now, the lake and the mountains can just disappear into “a pot of thick soup” – meaning covered by heavy fog, before snow takes its turn.
Winter is coming.
People flee to tropical islands for “refuge” and indulge themselves in the midday sun, until they could as if hear the “roasting” skin sizzle.
5 years ago, I was so lucky and meanwhile so unlucky, that I had to move to Bangkok to live.
Prior to living in Bangkok, I had happily visited Thailand a dozen times. I was familiar with many beaches, resorts, and Thai dishes. Ironically, since I lived there, I only had the craving for Chinese food.
I arrived in early summer when the rainy season started. Everyday there was a one-hour thunder storm. It was so accurate and never missed its duty to pour in the city and wipe it completely with flood. The flood usually went away after a couple of hours. Before I got used to this daily ritual, I’d been caught a couple of times somewhere in a long narrow winding lane, standing on one of the few dry spots, desparately waiting for the flood to retreat into sewage drains. No, there was no crocodile crawling at the time. But one year before, there were quite a few as they escaped with the high water from a crocodile farm, and there was water and food “famine” in the city – all the supermarkets were “robbed” by customers, who were convinced that food had to be stored at home.
I was lucky. The daily flood was just temporary. And eventually the rainy season was over. It was followed by winter – the winter in summer.
My craving for Chinese food didn’t retreat. I was looking for Chinese restaurants constantly as my cooking instinct was not awakened yet. Then one day I found this particular restaurant. I don’t remember the name or the address of it. But I still keep some snapshots of it and its bathrooms, both men’s and women’s.
Most first-time travellers in Thailand have the idea that Thailand, especially the capital city Bangkok, still wears its ancient traditional veil. In fact like Shanghai, it has become very modern, international and commercial.
I have been to such shows, to taste the old Thai culture.
I have also undoubtedly been to this landmark to enjoy the splendid night view of Bangkok city and sip the most expensive champagne in my life. (about 65 Swiss Francs for one glass)
And I will never forget the hot-summer-like Christmas season embedded in the commercial atmosphere. It seemed joyful and absolutely skinny-people-friendly. (one of my theories is that fat people have better insulation system in winter. I’m one of those who hate cold weather.)
However, before the spring came, I moved back to Shanghai. I wrapped myself up in thick winter clothes and stayed in the artificial warm wind blowing out of the air conditioner at home. Before long I took off for California, chasing that “California Dreaming”.