It’s a beautiful evening. The sun set about twenty minutes ago. The sky still glows. Orange clouds. Birds are getting ready to sleep and making that sort of worried sound they do just before they nod off. It’s a holiday weekend and most people seem to have left the city. I don’t know where they’re headed. I know the highest mountain in Thailand, Doi Inthanon, witnessed a terrific traffic jam this morning, as people in cars climbed it at dawn.
This is the best time of year here in this normally hot country. The weather is spring-like. No need to use air conditioning. I can wear a jacket while riding the motorcycle and not wish I weren’t. When I swim, the water is so brisk that it makes me swim faster. I’ve broken my personal speed record every day this week. Now, in this chilly water, I swim 18 percent faster than I did a month ago, when it was still balmy.
Unfortunately, this is also the weekend when the number of traffic fatalities soar. Thailand already enjoys the dubious distinction of having one of the highest traffic fatality rates in the world, but for this week from Christmas to New Year’s that rate almost doubles.