Category Archives: George Orwell

In a debauch of sun

We just got back from Thailand and the heat, my God, the heat.  Oppressive does not begin to describe it.  Continuous defeat of all reasonable attempts at ambition is more like it.  You get acclimated after a while, but we were there only a month, not nearly long enough.

Glaring white sunlight in the rice paddies, Phanat Nikhom, Thailand, obscuring all else.

Put me in mind of  my favorite description of tropical scorch, from George Orwell’s vastly underappreciated Burmese Days:

They went out into the glaring white sunlight. The heat rolled from the earth like the breath of an oven. The flowers, oppressive to the eyes, blazed with not a petal stirring, in a debauch of sun. The glare sent a weariness through one’s bones. There was something horrible in it–horrible to think of that blue, blinding
sky, stretching on and on over Burma and India, over Siam, Cambodia, China, cloudless and interminable. The plates of Mr Macgregor’s waiting car were too hot to touch. The evil time of day was beginning, the time, as the Burmese say, ‘when feet are silent’. Hardly a living creature stirred, except men, and the
black columns of ants, stimulated by the heat, which marched ribbon-like across the path, and the tail-less vultures which soared on the currents of the air.