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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Chiang Mai: Seeing the Air You Breathe

If I wanted to see the air in front of my face, I'd have moved to Los Angeles long ago. The air here has gotten so bad that I actually got moving and bought a bus ticket. I've been in cities that had horrible air pollution because of temperature inversions. Cincinnati had a major problem because it sits in a valley. But my eyes didn't burn there, and I didn't have coughing fits.

Every year the farmers in SE Asia burn off their fields. It's illegal, but traditional. Unfortunately it happens at the driest time of the year, just before the rains, and the fires tend to spread. Because Chiang Mai sits in a valley, and is surrounded by fire, it is having the worst problems. The temperature inversion is being blamed on El Nino.

Tomorrow morning at 7 am I'll be on a VIP bus to Bangkok. I was going to fly, but they have been canceling a lot of flights. And even on the budget airlines it is more expensive if you go at the last minute. So I booked the bus, which gets in at 4:30 pm. I'll then have the option of taking an overnight bus to Phuket, going out to the airport and getting a flight to Phuket or Krabi, or deciding to stay in Bangkok. Of course I still have to pack...

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