I am in Bangkok visiting the family for a few a weeks and for those of you who don’t know Thailand, it’s the hot, muggy, wet season. Clouds form in seconds and dump so much rain that streets turn into rivers which always makes me wonder where it all goes, because the sun comes out and in an hour the only difference you see is that the street has had a good wash. No-one wears good shoes at this time of year or worries about uncontrolled frizzy hair. Or makeup. It’s a whole different world but aside from the shoe thing and taking an umbrella, I don’t give the weather a great deal of thought when getting dressed which is why I almost died in my sports bra this morning.
Lycra and I have always had a love/hate relationship. I love how it feels, hate how it looks, but you cannot deny it does hero the plasticity of the elastic strand and with a little tug here and there, the assigned item of clothing is usually in place and doing its job in no time at all. In the sticky heat of high summer in Bangkok, not one part of this equation works. Being a newcomer to the sports bra /wet body combo I blithely chucked the tube over my head and poked my arms through, only to discover that everything else stayed rolled across my neck. There was a scary amount of time when thought I’d spend the rest of my holiday with my arms waving like an inflated tube man, my breasts squashed under my chin and a sausage of rolled lycra furled across my shoulder blades. It’s amazing what adrenaline does in situations like that. I imagine I’m going to be a bit stiff tomorrow.
Naturally, I could have avoided the whole thing by not going to the gym. I have never, ever gone to any other gym when I’m on holiday but Curves has this travel thing and I was interested in seeing if a room full of Thai women sounded the same as a room full of Halswell women. They do! Plus I had a free morning and a BTS card – and it was an excellent excuse to buy some new shoes. I did discover exercising in the tropics is basically overdressing in order to climb up stairs, dodge pot holes, then push yourself to do exercises the body has long given up on. In other words, pretty much a waste of time since the stairs and potholes are part of living here anyway.
Lunch however, is something entirely different. I have abandoned portion control on the rather thin hypothesis that I’m sweating at least a thousand calories per hour and going to the gym. Since the son has decided to become vegetarian (“but not in the weekends”) I have to grab all opportunities to feast on something with a beating heart. Yesterday I had deep-fried octopus with a caesar salad and today my daughter-in-law and I are anticipating murdering more fish but eating it raw in a poke. Mark darling, we love you but there are some things women just need. Ok?
And that brings me to the granddaughter. “Nanny? Nanny? Where are you Nanny? Follow me!” And of course, I come out of hiding and traipse around the apartment pushing my wheely suitcase and making car noises while we go to “Foodland” (real place but not exactly on the 7th floor of Siva Court). She is at Holiday Camp this morning (a cunning ploy to make her tired enough to sleep) but already I can hardly wait for her to get back so we can go for a swim. Yes, I do realize swimming is the original lycra event, but least I can get into a swim suit.