What’s a rainforest minus the rain?  We’ve been finding out over here.  It’s been over two weeks without a drop of rain, and things are as dry as a bone.  The dry season here in Sarawak corresponds with a change in winds which bring our weather in from the south and west.  Because of the dryness, fires set to clear land in Indonesia burn hotter and get out of control more.  Because of the change in winds, all the smoke from those forest fires blows over the border right to where I sit right now.  This week has been almost frightening.  The sun is a dull red ball in sky, buildings down the block fade in and out of view.  The locals call it haze, but it’s not haze Los Angeles style (as awful as that is).  It’s smoke, pure and simple.  The first step outside in the morning carries a whiff that is unmistakeably woodsmoke.  By the second breath, you’re used to it and don’t smell it anymore.  But it’s all around.  I can’t quench my thirst.  I drink and drink and drink  (young coconuts are especially good).  But five minutes later my mouth and throat are thick and parched again.  The most shocking thing is going to my car and finding it with a dusting of ash.  Sometimes you can even see large particles drifting through the air.  It’s amazing to think of the scale of the fires that must be producing this on the ground in Kalimantan.  Lucky for most of us, the air pollution levels are not so high in most of the country.  Unfortunately for me, Kuching is getting the worst of it this year.  The API has hit the low nineties, just a few ticks from the official “unhealthy” mark.
Pray for rain.

The situation in Indonesia

On the Malaysian side 

Published by bingregory

Official organ of an American Muslim in Malaysian Borneo, featuring plants, pantuns and pictures from the Malay archipelago. Oversharing since 2002.

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