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Keeping your cool by beating the heat

Siem Reap is once again being subjected to sweltering temperatures and the challenge is how to keep cool without breaking the bank balance on electricity fees.

Though air-con is everyone’s best friend at this time of year, I’m sure I’m not alone in the fear that I may have to sell a kidney if I switch it on as much as I’d like to. I’m also still being haunted by the memory of last year’s mega outage, and live in fear of something similar happening in the hottest months.

So this year I’m determined to be more prepared, and combat the heat whilst simultaneously stopping my bank balance from going into the red. I turned to my good friend The Internet for help, and this is what I came up with.

There are countless articles online about how it’s possible to mimic that cooling air-con blast, most of which involve setting up an elaborate contraption involving a fan.

The most common suggestion is to place a large tray or shallow bowl of ice just in front of the fan, and then sit back to enjoy the chilly breeze. While it does take a while to position the ice correctly (propped up on a stack of towels!) and there is a lot of condensation dripping everywhere, the effect is impressive, if a little short lived.

Other suggestions include hanging a wet towel filled with ice cubes between two chairs, and in front of a fan. While this may work a charm, setting the whole thing up was too much like hard work for me, particularly with the thought of melted ice cubes dripping all over the floor.

Though the above suggestions do produce good results, they are not going to help you when the power goes out and you’re lying in bed at 3am staring at the ceiling and wondering whether this is the hottest you’ve ever been.

So what are the options when an electricity pylon gets knocked over and there’s a black-out?

Well, The Internet tells me that cooling your feet lowers the overall temperature of your skin and body. Suggestions include keeping a damp pair of socks in the freezer just in case, or rinsing socks in cold water before putting them on. There are also many claims that wearing a cool, damp t-shirt does the same job.

Similarly, holding your wrists under a cool running tap will also help. This is the area of your body where blood runs closest to the surface, so cooling them should help your whole body to feel a little less toasty.

Obviously if the electricity has gone out it is too late to start freezing things, but items that are already frozen will stay cool for an hour or so – enough time to fall asleep! Other suggestions include keeping bed sheets, pillow cases, and bottles of water in the freezer in anticipation of a power cut.

Frozen bottles of water are particularly useful, as you can both drink them and use them as a hot water bottle in reverse.

If we’re lucky we won’t need to rely on damp socks and frozen pillow cases to keep us cool during a power cut, but best to shove some in the freezer just in case!

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