Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April, continued

The sun looks like a mistake someone tried to rub out.

No, really; it's not just an easy, death-obsessed metaphor. There's so much smoke in the air that one can barely see across the Mekong. (This will be profound, I suppose, to those of you who've been here.) The mountains have all pulled back into the blur. The sun hangs like a tiny dot over the river. It looks like someone dropped a blob of salmon paint on top of white, swirly expanse and then tried to rub it in and paint over it. You can almost see the grid of the canvas coming through.

This is what we'll be living with for the next month or so. It is not, according to E and G, the result of slash and burn farming—that's just small farmers and small plots and not nearly enough smoke to fill this valley. No—according to my sources, it's industries burning rice straw for potash and teak farmers burning the undergrowth of teak forests in the mistaken assumption that it'll make their trees grow faster. Or something. The government, however, is quite happy to let the Hmong take the blame for it...

I may have to give up running and spend more time inside. No trip to the countryside for me, until this goes away. If I start to feel bad, I may have to take myself down to Southern Thailand or Cambodia to get away from the smoke-- but I'll wait and see. I may not feel it much.

I had my first Pi Mai dousing today—from Vini,of course. Totally premature, as Pi Mai is still days away. Troublemaker.

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