It's 5 a.m. In Bangkok and I can't sleep. It's the perfect temperature in Thailand in the wee morning hour before the sun rises; it's still hot and humid but there is a brief reprieve from the sun that seems to be up all day and never offers any shade.
An afternoon in Bangkok is like a day in Maycomb, Alabama, I imagine, except not at all quaint. What was that that Harper Lee said about Maycomb, about black dogs suffering in the heat and the women taking morning and afternoon baths to stay cool? Yeah, it's like that. Excepts everyone suffers in the heat and we don't have bath tubs.
But now it's lovely. The fans are sufficing, which is unusual, and I'm enjoying it so much I'd rather not sleep. This reminds me of those great early summer days in Omaha, like May or June when school just ended and I feel like I can enjoy the weather for the first time. I used to always wake up early and on days like these get up and go for an early- morning drive. I felt like the city belonged to me, with the streets nearly empty. I'd be tuned into KGOR but would be playing it quietly, as if singing Billy Joel above a whisper from a moving car would wake up the neighborhood.
I loved those days. You only get one or two in a summer. And I love today too. I certainly don't feel at any time of day like I own this city, though. Believe me. I have been out on the streets of Bangkok at every hour in all the weather Thailand has to offer (which isn't much), and it always feels like Bangkok owns me.
But that's ok for now. I'm not really in "Bangkok" as it were right now. I am on bed listening to the birds and waiting for the sun to come up. My roommate is asleep and it's the beginning of a new year.
Not a bad way to start 2012. Let's hope serenity is the name of the game this year. For all of us. Happy New Year everybody.