Part 2: Stuff you can’t buy in Thailand, or, We are secretly obese
As we were waiting for Todd’s bag/plotting our revenge on the airlines,* it became apparent that we (and by “we” I mean “Todd”) couldn’t wait much longer for several Very Important Items. We were in dire need of a shopping trip. Considering that Bangkok is a shopper’s paradise (during orientation we were taken to no fewer than 4 shopping malls. Forget the temples and palaces – this orientation focused on the important stuff), we figured it wouldn’t be a problem. Until we started shopping, that is…
1. When you get married, in your blissful naivety, you might assume that you know your spouse well. You can gaze into their eyes and believe that you are glimpsing all the secrets of their soul. As your life together continues, however, you may discover hidden “gems” you never knew existed. I mention this, because in our shopping adventures, T and I each learned something new about one another: we are obese.
This discovery took place when we tried to buy new undergarments. We were shopping at our local Walmart-esque store-on-an-American-diet, and hid some undies under the milk’n’cereal in our cart. I went with the XL size, while Todd decided to really go for broke, and bought the XXL. I’ll spare you the gory details, but let’s just say that I barely survived with my circulation intact, while Todd’s choice would have been more appropriate as armbands (maybe we’ll re-purpose them). We sobbed into our milk’n’cereal, and had a Fat Day together.
2.Another item that has been difficult to find is basic, run-of-the-mill facial moisturizer. I checked out several drug stores in hopes of finding one, maybe with a little SPF. Other than the hard core, SPF 60 sunscreens, all I could find were moisturizers with names like “Fair’n’Lovely,” “Pasty’n’Perfect,” “Translucent’n’Terrific” – in other words, whitening moisturizers. For the uninitiated, skin whitening products essentially bleach your skin, and are incredibly popular in Asia. They can be found in the form of moisturizers, makeup, deodorant, soap, etc. I can always tell when someone is using the products, because they look like the undead in a B-movie – i.e.: it’s not flattering. Sometimes I like to reflect on this as I smear self-tanner on my face.
3. A final “lost item incident,” that probably only Canadian females will appreciate. My lululemon pants were in Todd’s lost bag. I like to pretend that I am So Far Above wearing trendy brands, especially ones like lululemon that attract armies of deranged followers, but I secretly covet lululemon schwag. When I received the pants as a gift, I may have fallen in love, and when our bag arrived, I may have been a little bit more euphoric than I’d like to admit. I wore the pants the next day to orientation. One of the American teachers leaned over and said “Ruth, you have something stuck to your pants,” as she attempted to rip off the silver insignia. Sigh… even when I give in to the trends, I’m not trendy.
I could go on, but I’ll leave it there. Now, if only Todd’s ratty collection of t-shirts would have STAYED lost…
*China EASTern and WESTJet – their motto: “We scanned the world from EAST to WEST and this alliance is the best we could do.”