According to my calculations, Iíve
officially sweated more liquid than the amount of water
taken in for ten days.
Ah! Finally, the much anticipated
excursion to the East Indies. Wary of the intense tropical
weather, I packed tank tops and micro-shorts along with
extra sun block to battle the equatorial sun.
Upon arriving at Thailand, I took off my
jacket and put on sunglasses as we walked out of the
airport. Little did I know that not even walking naked with
ice cubes taped to my body would cool off any of the laser
My first thought was, woah, it felt like
Houston again. Houston on the hottest summer day, a
sauna-like car day where your hands melt from touching the
steering wheel. Then, there was the extra humidity that
would make even Houstonians blush. The frizzy curling of the
hair, the formation of steamed dew on the tip of the nose,
the damp filmy skin that makes you want to avoid coming in
contact with your own mother.
Thatís Thailand baby, but much much more.
So after the initial frizzing, we all
uttered secret blessings as we boarded the air-conditioned
tour bus. Viewing Thailand through chilled window panes was
a pleasure as I saw the beautiful heat but did not feel it.
But of course that didnít last. When we
arrived at the first, of many, gloriously ornate and
colorful Buddhist temples, I sprung from my bus seat eager
to go out only to recoil with a spring when the opened bus
door brought a shocking juxtaposition of wet, steaming air.
Outside, it was hot to the point of
unbearable. It was the kind of weather that made you feel
sorry for the steamed buns ate last night because now, you
know their pain.
Plus, out of respect, the temples
required long pants, closed-toe shoes, sleeved shirts, and
at least a presentably groomed appearance.
So, with jeans starting to feel like
slimy tights, shirt acting like second skin, shoes stenching
it up over socked feet, and a face of beaded dripping sweat,
I entered the temple trying to appear as respectable as any
human would look under the delightful embrace of 100 (or
even more) degrees.
We took countless pictures. One, two,
threeeeee. And at the three, I jerked my eyes open for a
split millisecond smiling ridiculously and lopsided for the
camera before rubbing them furiously to alleviate the pain
of salted sweat dripping in.
Pictures donít do justice to the grandeur
of each temple, each gold-encrusted tile, each lovely scale
of ruby and sapphire, each mosaic of glossed bronze. These
were temples fit for kings, the exotic dream of Siam
elevated to an equally exotic realism that ideal and reality
Ha. But how we suffered for each plate of
painted gold, for each jewel that gleamed in the Siam sun.
It was as if they were all scions of our glorious star,
eagerly helping with each radiating stream, conducting heat,
back and forth, back and forth, like infinite mirrors,
forming intense beams of pure light that if you were caught
in the middle, surely one would melt you into hissing steam.
We came back to the bus looking like
weíve spent a day at the sauna, or the neighborís pool.
Limp, sweating, exhausted, hair gelled back with natureís
best, shirt backs wet with prints of our spinal cords, and
eyes red from all the salt, we stood under the AC vents like
hair under a blow dryer.
Everyday, the most anticipated tour site
was always the last: a hotelís shower and wonderfully dry