One thing certain about the rainy season, it is unpredictable. In fact Thailand in general can be unpredictable. This morning I was awakened by the Thai workers who “fixed” the ceiling in my driveway. It collapsed after some heavy rains soaked through the sheetrock a few weeks ago. I’m not sure how they knew it would continue to leak, but this morning they simply showed-up at my house and started ringing the doorbell around 8 a.m. I called the landlord, and she wasn’t aware they were coming over. I told them they needed to come back another day, and please call first to schedule a time.
I must’ve riled the gods when I sent them away, because what began as a sunny, clear sky started turning dark and I could hear the thunder rumbling in the distance. I had an appointment this morning with a pianist. I wanted to see if a song I had written would sound better with piano accompaniment rather than guitar. A friend knew a piano teacher and set up a meeting. I hopped on my motorbike and made the 40-minute journey to Hang Dong (a suburb of Chiang Mai), and waited in front of McDonald’s for my 11:30 appointment. McDonald’s seems to be a universal meeting point for farangs (foreigners), as it is a recognizable landmark for us all.
After he arrived, I followed him to his friend’s house. His friend is an 80-year-old Thai man who goes by “Teddy”. There was a mix-up in the schedule apparently, because Teddy wasn’t home and we waited until 2 p.m. for him to arrive. Teddy was the owner of the Piano. Once inside, his wife offered me some fresh mango juice, which was lovely. Then, we listened to Teddy sing Frank Sinatra tunes for a while. I must admit that I was surprised at how well he could belt out the “Ol’ Blue Eyes” standards, being an 80-year-old Thai man. I was able to run through my song twice with the pianist before he had to leave.
As I was driving home, I could see the sky was changing from threatening to ominous. The heart of the darkness seemingly loomed directly above my house in the distance. The wind was picking up, and I was buffeted around on my scooter like a pinball as I drove toward home. Debris was sailing across the road toward me on occasion and I narrowly missed hitting the lid of a large Styrofoam ice-chest. It was raining, but not too hard. It stung a little, but I wasn’t soaked. At this point I considered pulling into a 7-11 to wait out the rain. I am lucky I didn’t! I made it home, and five minutes after I stepped into the house, the skies opened and heavy rain fell from the sky for at least two hours. I got lucky!
Believe it or not, I actually enjoy the wet season. Tourism is down, so prices are cheaper, roads are less congested and restaurants are less crowded. I’m planning to go to the big island of Phuket soon for a friend’s birthday. The round-trip plane ticket is $130, and the hotel is only $15 per night! During the tourist season, those prices would at least double. The temperatures are cooler and that brings down my electric bill. I don’t even have to water my yard. The rain typically only lasts an hour or so each day, with an occasional day of sunshine. It does take longer for clothes to dry (Thais don’t normally have clothes dryers), but they eventually get there. Since living in Thailand, I’ve learned to appreciate the small things in life, the wet season being one of them. If you are thinking of visiting Thailand, especially if you’re trying to keep expenses as low as possible, don’t discount visiting between July and October. It may rain while you’re here, but even the wet season has its advantages.