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The peculiarities of local climate: high humidity, Part 1


The peculiarities of local climate: high humidity, Part 1
The peculiarities of local climate: high humidity, Part 1
The peculiarities of local climate: high humidity, Part 1
The peculiarities of local climate: high humidity, Part 1
The peculiarities of local climate: high humidity, Part 1
The peculiarities of local climate: high humidity, Part 1
The peculiarities of local climate: high humidity, Part 1

High humidity of Southeast Asia, in particular Thailand, is hardly noticeable by the usual tourists. Well, it is moist, well  you sweat more, it rains more often, it is not a big deal!
Those who came here for one or two weeks and some other independent travelers who come here at least for a month, hardly notice high humidity. But those who live here for a longer period of time, this pecularity of the local climate can damage a lot of things and spoil the mood. That's why I decided to tell you about my own experience in a place that for some reason many consider almost a paradise ;)

Here is a graphic illustration of the moisture affects things even during the "dry season": common salt in a plastic pot (always covered with a lid!) Becomes wet after only a few days after opening the jar. At any time of year. Same with sugar.
A small bag of rice, as a folk remedy against moisture is powerless. Salt and sugar are always slightly damp. Even if rain is rare.
Perhaps that is why salt is used here in addition to various sauces (usually it is famous Thai fish sause or "nam pla"), and not in its pure form.
Same with sugar – for making shakes and adding to coffee is often used sweet syrup.

Something like this:

It is translucent, viscous, heavy and very sweet.
In this case, common salt, as well as sugar, is sold everywhere. That's just the locals would prefer not the salt but what is next to it on the shelf - monosodium glutamate (MSG).
See for yourself – judging from the place on the shelf you can figure out its popularity:

In the markets where they sell vegetables and fruits, about one out of three sellers have it.
One day, when we got tired of the wasting away the salt, we have decided to buy an expensive sea salt with a grinder:

"This way you can grind it as much as you want, and the rest of the salt remains closed and does not absorb moisture – the problem solved!" - So we thought and enjoyed the purchase, believing that this is it - the solution to our problem.
Ha-ha! Two months later, we were only able to use only half of the salt - it just soaked wet!
It was a pity to throw it away and right now, this salt looks as follows:

As experience has shown, one can suffer from high humidity not only in the rainy season.
Even in the period before the Songkran (the most hot and dry time of the year), when, and so it does happen, the rain pours for a few days, and when it suddenly becomes a downpour and thunderstorms, with strong wind, storms at sea and floods the yards to a depth of two to three meters.

For the first time a high level of humidity and subsequent mold growth we have experienced on Samui in February 2009 (the February is considered to be the most comfortable - not too hot, not cold and no rain). So, in February, almost every day for two weeks it was raining, and in the end quite unexpectedly for us, all the leather shoes, bags, winter clothes hanging in a bedroom in a locked cabinet got covered with mold with diameter of about 5.3 mm with a characteristic odor of mold. Wall tiles in the kitchen were covered with the mold too but not with the one that we found on clothing and shoes.
Of course after seeing all this we panicked. After all, if it is not the rainy season yet, what are we supposed to expect in October and November?

However, in reality it was not so scary. At that time.
With the tile it was all easy – the mold was easily removed with a cloth. But with the clothing it turned out to be way more difficult.
Had to wash clothes twice. All of it. Shoes and bags - washed the stains and put out to dry in the sun.
In general, at that time it was not that bad, and when the sun came our problems were solved.

Important nuances that we realized thanks to the situation, and which we now consider in everyday life:

1. In a locked cabinet store only what you rarely put on, something that you can not hang on a hanger. And store it perfectly clean and dry !
2 . On the shelves of a closed cabinet there must always be a few dehumidifiers (depending on the volume of the cabinet ) , and in the dry and sunny weather from time to time it is necessary to put all the clothing outside to let them dry under the sun .
Here it is, the savior that absorbs moisture :

3. For casual everyday clothes you might needs a separate hanger !
Such as this one:

4. Wash clothes ! If you put it on once and did not wash after, then after some time (depends on the amount of dirt and ambient humidity ) it will be covered with mold - black dots , which does not wash out :

5. Suitcases, travel bags, and all that is stored inside are getting covered with mold inside and outside. So always put the desiccant inside the bag and close the lock. Then use polyethylene and wrap it most tightly, although you wont make it hermetically anyway (and it will not save it 100%). Periodically open the bag, deep fry it in the sun, replace a desiccant with a new one and close it as it was.

6. Shoes and in general everything made of leather are very susceptible to mold growth.
How to prevent it from happening? Some things are recommended to be stored in sealed plastic bags. However for most of the shoes it is enough to be kept in a locked cabinet together with desiccants, and from time to time to dry them in the sun (more on this below).
If the shoes are still moldy, even if the rain goes on and there is no sun, it is not likely to come up in the near future - we take a damp cloth and wipe them carefully. Then use the air flow from a fan to dry them up...

It is clear that those shoes are best kept not outside the house on the veranda, where the humidity is the highest. We, for example, keep such "problem shoes"  in the closet in the guest room. There are no windows and it just turned out to be the driest place in the house. Surely there is such a place in any of the houses.
In addition to mold, leather stuff should be kept away from another danger: it starts crippling because of the constant exposure to the killing combination of moisture and heat.
That's how it has affected the wonderful new bag made of fine leather, which has been kept for two years in the closet in special packages and never been exposed to the mold.
The leather just started sprawling and crumbled when I took the bag in my hands:

How to "dry you shoes thoroughly" in the sun?
When the sun finally appears after a week of rain, all the lawns are usually lined up with hangers with clothes, mattresses, blankets, shoes ... - all that needs to be dried up properly.  And if it is rather simple with the clothes on the hanger, dealing with the mattress it is necessary to consider only one thing - do not put it on the grass right in the morning, and wait until the ground warms up and dries out from morning dew, and with the shoes it get a bit more difficult. Leather would usually burn out in the sun and so it is just not worth it. However, it is necessary somehow to dry it.
So we do now the way the locals do: wrap shoes  in paper! Usually a newspaper will do, preferably not too tight. Note: wrap it up exactly as shown here:

Do it so that it has access / outflow of air.

7. Locations subject to additional moisture (kitchen and bathroom) must have ventilation openings facing the street. This is to remove excess moisture from inside the house.
Yes, that opening will allow moisture to accumulate inside when it rains and the humidity is high, but considering all the pros and cons it is better to have one.

An important thing is: All these openings must be closed with mosquito nets!
Like this:

Or like this:
Although, I think there is too much air being drawn out with too much open space.
However, as is often the case, this "too much" can be viewed from both sides.
Con: humidity comes from the outside during the rain, dust, smoke if the neighbors are burning trash in the yard, other sounds like cicadas or music markets until late in the evening. Pro: in the heat the house is well ventilated, the air does not stagnate and is always fresh. But, in the same heat, you can forget about the air conditioner, because with these holes, it becomes useless, that could be a drawback, but come to think of it you don’t have to waste expensive electricity, so it might even be another plus.

Nets are supposed to cover those holes in order not to let the mosquitos inside, but also for protection from larger neighbors. Even if you can easily cope with mosquito bites or if you are one of those lucky people whom  mosquitos consider “not tasty” - do not forget about the Dengue fever, which they carry.
The house, which we were renting while waiting for our permanent house to become available, was all good, except for one small detail: in the bathroom those small horizontal openings for ventilation (just 8 pieces, the size of 4x25 cm) were opened.

And if during the two weeks, we were just struggling with the increased attention from mosquitoes and all sorts of black flies, here on the eve of departure around three o'clock in the morning I went out of the bedroom and saw IT in front of me ... I do not even know who it was. In general, in front of me on a vertical wall was sitting a lizard of a dark-green color, not less than 30 centimeters, with a strong ridge along the entire length of the body with powerful legs. And without blinking was staring at me.

Needless to say, that night we didn’t fall asleep and with great relief moved out in the morning?
I understand that any lizard / snake / spider / scorpion is likely to be frightened as much as are. But you never know what their reaction would be to this fear.

Perhaps this will be all for today – scared you enough already :)
Well, in the next part, I'll tell you what else we had to face here in the real rainy season, combined also with a cyclone in November 2010, from which suffered not only Samui, but the entire south of Thailand.

Necessary UPDT:
As it turned out, not everywhere you can encounter the described in this article displays of high humidity.
For example, after moving into a condo, where the windows are closed tightly and air conditioning is working more often than in a private house, the apartment is not placed in a meter above the ground and it is never surrounded by a very shady garden, furthermore is located at a considerable distance from the sea, and a little bit "in the mountains" - at the height where there are more winds blowing ...
So - after moving into the condo I do not always close the jars with coffee and salt – everything seems fine now.

But that was in April, will see what is going to happen during the rain season.

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