The Bag Was Lost, But Now It’s Found 2

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…

Something that’s not difficult to find in Thailand: Green Tea Red Bean Frappuccinos!

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.

We know each other so well we don’t even need to make eye contact any more

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.

An example of the whitening products at our local Big Box.

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.

            Anyone want to start a new trend with me?

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.”

The Bag Was Lost, But Now It’s Found

Part 1: Packing Tips From the Pros

My post today was originally going to be about the mini meat factory that borders our local canal, but I don’t have quite the right photo of the rutting piglets. Don’t worry – it’s coming, and you won’t be disappointed.

This two part series will examine items that are difficult to find in Thailand (when I say difficult to find, I mean existing outside a 2 mile radius of our apartment). This is a pertinent topic, because our airlines* managed to lose T’s bag. For nine days. We had pretty much given up hope that we’d ever see it again, but then a WestJet employee found it being used as a punching bag in the employees’ lounge at the Vancouver airport. The airline didn’t provide all these details, but I was able to fill them in using my highly developed powers of intuition. After nine days, our rejoicing was GREAT, because while this bag wasn’t carrying a lot of valuables, it did contain some Very Important Items.**

An item that is easy to find in Thailand: Angry Bird fish skewers.

Now, for some people this wouldn’t present a major problem. One of the teachers at the school mentioned that it would be a Good Idea to split up all your Very Important Items so that half are in one bag, and half in another. This would be a brilliant plan if it didn’t run directly counter to our highly refined system of packing. This is a system that took years to develop, but I will share it with you here for free:

Perfect Packing Plan

1)      Make piles of schtuff. Lots and lots of piles. The more piles, the better. Cover as much surface area as possible.

2)      Choose the number of bags that you want to take with you. Base this purely on the price of excess baggage, and cross-index it with your genetic tendency to cheapness. Do not reference the amount of schtuff you wish to bring.

3)      Begin stuffing. It’s best to do this randomly, without paying attention to what might be in your piles of schtuff. Close your eyes if you need to. If you have any delicate electronics, enlist your adorable and organized sister-in-law to help you stuff. This is the only way that these items will arrive in one piece.

4)      Continue stuffing. If you have leftovers, grab some stuff sacks, and stuff them. Stuff the stuff sacks in your bags.

5)      Wrap twine around any bags that look like they might explode.

6)      Throw any leftovers in a box and leave it at your parents’ house. It doesn’t matter what the leftovers are – who needs a birth certificate anyway? They had their chance.

We couldn’t fit our car in our bags. Good-bye, Matrix. You were like a mother to me.

7)      Haul bags to the airport. Pray. Weigh bags. Pray some more. Untie twine that is holding your bags together. Hold up line while you redistribute stuff so that you only have to pay for one overweight bag. Re-tie twine.

8)      Heave bags on conveyor belt and walk away.

Optional Final Step: Fly on in bliss as disgruntled airline employee “loses” your bag.

That is how our painful 9-day journey began. Feel free to use our packing tips, with or without the optional final step.

Todd is reunited with his bag.

Next up: Items that are “hard to find” in Thailand.

*WestJet and China Eastern – members of the Point-less Alliance: “We don’t offer points, but sometimes you’ll get your luggage.”

**Here I am referring to our entire supply of Knickers’n’Ginch.