Ship of Fools

Remember, oh, awhile back, when I talked about really wanting to get out there and live, do stuff with the whole family before they’re grown and gone?

The entire Ship of Fools, including our four kids, is leaving for Thailand in a couple of weeks; we´ll be back in early August, making it a (roughly) five-week trip. We´re going to spend some time in Bangkok, which I hear is insane, and the air´s dirty, and you might not want to live there, but visiting is supposed to be a rollicking trip.

Then we´re heading for Phuket, where we´ll alternate between lolling on the beach and by the pool (except for me; I´ll be huddled under a giant sunhat wearing my sunproof long-sleeved shirt, and the locals will give me some colorful Thai nickname like “white foreign grub.”) I´m busy packing – not clothes so much (it was in 98 degrees in Bangkok last week, roughly ten degrees cooler in Phuket; who needs clothes?) as basic medicines, etc. We´ve got our Hepatitis A shots, our typhoid pills, and mom´s Valium, which I’ll be needing for the daylong flight. God, am I dreading that flight.

Potential highlights include renting our own sloop (the Big Cheese has all his proper certifications) for a pleasure cruise to the spectacular Phi Phi islands. I´m also probably doing a side trip with the girls to Siem Reap, Cambodia, because I have always wanted to see Angkor Wat, and – well – there we´ll be, and how can I be that close (like a flight from New York) and not go? I have no doubt that the Cheese, having visited most of the neighboring countries, will work a solo adventure in there somewhere.

Yeah, I´m a little nervous. If you can read the invisible writing on my tee shirt from where you´re sitting, it says “Bring em back alive.” I´m aware that statistically I´m more likely to die in my car on the Beltway than I am in Thailand, but still. It´s the kids. We have two four-year-olds and we´re spending a lot of time around water. We´re all boned up on our swimming (the twins can swim, sort of, thanks to weekly lessons) and we´re taking our own, very nice life jackets. I´m just hoping not to find myself in a position to need them to save us.

I´m going to blog. I´m taking my laptop, and if that doesn´t work out there are plenty of internet cafes. I haven´t quite decided on an approach. (Yes. It´s true. Faced with a trip of a lifetime to Thailand, I´ve been thinking about … how that relates to the blog. Draw your own conclusions.) I´ll probably bring some random samples with me, and blog on whatever I find there. Maybe they have local perfumes. Maybe they´ll have endless shops filled with fun, poorly made dupes (“Christian Deor Poisson”), or I could write on all the cool local smells. Seriously, I´m sure some of them will be awful (hello, durian!) but I love the smell of new places, and Thailand is rich in smells. The Cheese has been there several times, so we´re not going entirely unprepared, and I´m more than willing to let him haggle the big stuff.

It´s time for a change. I know this because I was in Saks last week, and there was the new Armani Prive Jasmine sitting right there in front of me, and … I couldn´t be bothered. Didn´t even pick it up. I´m sort of mortified writing that, but there you have it. The tsunami (my thought as soon as I typed that: extremely poor word choice) of new fragrances is overwhelming me a little. I think a break with some SPF60, a beach, a bottle of beer (and possibly a bottle of that Deor Poisson) will be just the ticket. Anyone have any advice for a long-haul flight with kids?

Okay: for those of you so inclined, I have a game: if you live in a seasonal climate, choose a fragrance you associate strongly with a different season (for many of us, that will be fall/winter fragrances, particularly those that conjure up holidays) and give it a test drive in the next couple of days. Game variant: go to the mall/drugstore/local headshop and select a fragrance that you secretly snicker at, or are sure is “not you” but in truth you aren´t really sure how it smells (that hilarious Pierre Cardin bottle! Mary Kate & Ashley! Baby Phat Goddess! Sacred Sphinx Tantric Love Oil!) and give that a test drive. You’re invited to report your results on Thursday, my special post on Wrong Scent, Wrong Time, because I´ve been doing some testing of my own. Remember: if you have to leave work to go home and shower off that Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds, tell them March the Maleficent made you do it.

image: Ko Phi Phi,

PS — Scentzilla’s back with a vengeance, with LOL Perfumes. I didn’t even know about the LOL thing (to learn more, plus a great Star Trek sequence, click here) and I laughed until I choked and had to get a glass of water. These are wrong. Also not entirely office-friendly. Thanks, Scentzilla!

  • Cheezwiz says:

    Oooh, have a wonderful time March! I am pea-green with envy (especially about the Angkor Wat side-trip). Travel is expensive, but you’ll have the memories for ever.

    P.S. if you feel especially brave and sample a durian, do tell us what they taste like. I’ve been told they taste wonderful, but I just can’t wrap my head around that, given the ghastly smell.:-&

    • March says:

      Um, yeah. We’ll see if I can walk the walk. I’m kind of smell-sensitive, in good and bad ways. If I think I might humiliate myself by, say, vomiting, I’ll take a pass.@-)

  • sybil says:

    Whooowheee! Have an excellent time. I’m sure you’ll have lots of stuff to report and the blog will take care of itself. i’m laughing about the durian, because when I was shopping in a Cambodian food store, they had a whole display of durian, stinking pretty seriously. I asked the preteen daughter who was cashiering “Do you like durian?” She wrinkled her nose, and told me it wasn’t bad, but she liked that green fruit better. Which one was that, I asked, kiwi? No, it’s big, and it’s an american fruit. “You would know it.” Turned out it was a honeydew melon…

    • March says:

      That is so funny — who would have guessed honeydew?!?! how on earth did you ever figure out what she was referring to? We’ll see if I’m brave enough for the durian. Big Cheese eats anything, and he hasn’t touched one. Says there are NO DURIAN signs up at the entrance of hotels, etc.

      • sybil says:

        I said “What does it look like?” and she said, “big and round like a ball!” and it pretty much struck me that would be it. Once I bought packaged durian cookies–like sugar wafers. They were so horrible I practically cried, bur my mom gave them to a co-worker from Thailand, and he was thrilled. The weird thing was I could sort of see how they could taste good, but ultimately they were just too peculiar. But I think you should take a chance and try a fresh durian. Think of the anecdotal value, and how people will be impressed w/ your bravery! Besides, it’s a fruit–not like you’re eating liver or sweetbreads or oysters, or limburger cheese, even.

  • Amy K says:

    Wow, you guys are going to have so much fun! What a great family memory. My one word of advice – unless you’re going to plan each and every bathroom break around a Western-style hotel, go to a camping supply store and purchase one of those funnel thingies that allow women to pee standing up. Seriously. Backwoods Asian toilets tend to be a little bedpan set in the ground that you squat over with nothing to hold onto and lots of, um, splatter all around. It will keep you from wanting to give your shoes/pants/body a Viking funeral every time you use a public loo (which often won’t have soap or toilet paper, so be prepared). If you’re only going to be in safe tourist areas, then disregard my PSA.

    • March says:

      Trying so hard NOT to think about the toilets. I also hear in a lot of them you can’t even put the paper in the toilet anyway, you have to dispose of it in the wastebasket. Ack. I’m a public-bathroom hater to start with, so this will not be easy. Working on strengthening my quads for all those squats:”>

  • What a great trip! Kids and all–this will be something you remember for the rest of your life–and they will, too. Ahh, long airplane trips with kids. I found duct tape very useful. No? Well, some people have better kids. Here was my plan: bring a few things they love to play with and some new things, to be doled out over specific time. That is, in fact, how my son learned how to keep time. (Mercenary kid, he was). Keep them on their own schedule till you get to Thailand. Talk to them about Thailand on the way over–not in a hype-em-up kind of way, but in a way that will let them ask questions and you can speculate about the answer. Some in-seat physical games that involve touching shoulder to knee, etc. will keep them from bouncing off the ceiling. Read them books. Bring gum flavors they’ve never had. Bribe the older ones to keep the younger ones amused and quiet. Just please don’t let them kick the seat in front of them for 24 hours. And have a wonderful, special, exciting time. Buy the Diorr Poisson. Remember, one man’s poisson is another man’s fish smell.

    • March says:

      Thanks! Excellent suggestions all. Noy is already plotting various entertainments. Also there’s apparently a local perfume industry, and some high-end boutiques. Hog heaven.:x

  • Louise says:

    March-have a wonderful, safe, sweet and stinky adventure. The stories will be amazing! Oh-I vote for the Shiseido SPF55 for the face-it doesn’t move, blocks all, and blends really nicely.

    Huge hugs!

    • March says:

      Another vote for the Shiseido!

      Hey, when are you leaving? Soon, right? On your own great trip!

  • CH says:

    =)) Strangely, your descriptions of the various “aromatic” foods reminds me of some of the fragrance reviews on this fine board. :d

    • March says:

      It’s true. Surprised nobody’s snapped up “farty veggie” for a fragrance name.:d

  • hausvonstone says:

    wow, you are very brave! your children will remember this forever. very cool. my parents always took us to mine quartz crystals or look at sharks in hawaii (okay that on was fun). now they go to antarctica without me. i’m heading to hong kong in july. whee!

    • March says:

      Hong Kong?!? How cool is that? Are you back in Berlin?

      • hausvonstone says:

        nooo, still in Amsterdarn. That’s where I found the Red and Black Sea at the Douglas. have another 6 weeks and then traveling. whee!

  • Robin says:

    Lucky you! Spent six months in Thailand as a child and it is one of my most treasured memories. Hope your kids will find it as fascinating as I did — and I, for one, envy you Angkor Wat, it has long been tops on my “places to see before I die” list.

    • March says:

      Wow, how did you end up there for six months? That must have been incredible. I have been several places that I thought, I would love to live here long enough to know it much better.

    • Robin says:

      My Dad lived in Bangkok for several years, and we spent part of a school year there. It was a great adventure 🙂

  • CH says:

    Speaking of the outdoors and the “Wrong Place, Wrong Scent” theme, how about a fruity floral in the midst of mosquito country! OUCH!!! (and not to mention West Nile Virus!) :-j

    • March says:

      We have a lot of bees, and I’ve gotten myself into trouble more than once wearing something perfume-y like rose into the garden.

  • CH says:

    =(( Perhaps I’ll have to cut out the perfume habit to afford such a wonderful trip. o-+ It sounds wonderful, March. I can’t wait to hear about it! 🙂

    I’ll be lucky if I make it on a three-nighter to Lassen National Park this year. Not that the place is bad…it’s beautiful and not as hard on the pocket book. But, it’s no Angkor Wat!

  • mmariecrys says:

    WOW! Have an AWESOME time. Can’t wait for your “How I spent my summer vacation” essay.

  • sariah says:

    You’re my hero March. I want to hear all about it on the blog – scent related or not. Mmm, crickets.

    • March says:

      He swears he’s not making that up. We’ll see. Although Noy up there is offering to meet me in BKK so I can try durian, and some sort of thing called “farty veggie.” Whaddya think?

      • sariah says:

        Go for it. I once had prostate in Peru. OK, so I think it was a misspelling of postre (dessert). The farty could be totally innocent.

  • violetnoir says:

    OMG!!! Bangkok and the rest of Thailand…even Cambodia???

    Stay safe, darling, and have a wonderful time with your family. This, I know, will be a trip that you and yours will remember and talk about for many years to come. 😡

    Of the places you are travelling, I have only been to Bangkok, the “Venice” of the far east. Boy oh boy, what a fascinating place. I will never forget the salty, fragrant, murky, human smell of that river, with the people bathing, doing the dishes, even brushing their teeth in it! Amazing! My grandmother bought me a pair of opal earrings while we were there for about $12. I still have them and wear them when October rolls around.

    I can’t wait to read the stories about your family adventure. Take good care and BIG hugs!

    • March says:

      Oh! So it sounds like you loved it … the way you describe it makes me that much more excited, like it still resonates with wonder in you. That’s what I’m hoping we bring home with us.

  • Marina says:

    I am sure you will have a fahtastic time! Oy, so exciting!!

  • rosarita says:

    Wow! Just…wow! What a fabulous opportunity, can’t wait to read all about it!

    As to the plane trip, uh, no thanks. @-)However,I’m sure that you are the kind of mom that has plenty of stuff lined up to dole out along the way to keep creative four year olds occupied for a few minutes at a time, anyway. A person could get lost in a bookstore just looking at all the cool new kinds of markers and drawing things available…well, ahem, a nerdy person could.

    The loltrek thingie made me laugh so hard I almost wet myself. Aye, Captain!

    • March says:

      I love the way Kirk says NFW. Also Whut. Actually, the whole thing was genius.

      Yeah, geek mom. We’ll have lots of drawing/playing seat-friendly things. And some Benadryl, which makes them sleep.:-“

  • noyna says:

    March! I live in Bangkok! I’ve posted a few times, a bit timidly, as I first became interested in perfume while living here and…a lot of the beautiful fragrances you talk about are not available for sniffage here… Yes, there is a whole olfactory journey ahead of you — the incense orgy of the Erawan Shrine, the riot of the flower market (24-hour, just in case you have a flower emergency), the candied smell of the custard apple, the pink, rosy smell of lychee. That last is not so nearly nice in perfume, but the fruit is heavenly.

    I have run across one memorable local perfume — a product of the One Tambon (District), One Product government campaign. A VIOLENT white floral. My friends sniffed and said, You smell like an auntie. The kind who wears crocheted sweaters and silk sarongs to the temple every day… Oh dear…

    Please let me know if you have any questions, and I’d be so delighted to meet you if we have the chance — I am in and out a bit this summer with work travel. Also, please feel free to ask about Cambodia, as I spend a lot of time there as well for work.

    Will PM you now.

    • March says:

      Wow, that is so AWESOME!!!! We’re staying in/near Siam Square in Bangkok, because the Cheese decided that, even though it’s nuts, the girls and I would like the retail therapy. I’ll chat with you further. When we get there I need to hire a guide for Angkor Wat. Also, I have a million questions! I would love to meet you, if possible, that would be great! We’ll be there from the 25th to the 30th? Also, can I taste a durian, or am I just a fool?

      • noyna says:

        Dear March,

        Siam Square is packed, yes, there’s lots of shopping, but it does skew…young. Hipster children. I feel like I need my walker when I try to navigate. Also, the clothing is teensy. They’re like, We can fit half of one of those into a whole one of these… But there are some very charming little boutiques, a nice veggie resto, a place with some of the best Northeastern-style fried chicken EVER, and the local dive where all the film people hang out and squawk about Tarkovsky.

        Guide for Angkor can be quite good, as there is just so much information and lore about the different temples.

        25th-30th of this month? I should be coming back from a reporting trip right around then! Let’s keep talking. Would LOVE to meet!

        And yes, of course you can have a durian. Some say it’s like eating your favorite ice cream while sitting on the toilet…. but it really depends on the type and how ripe it is. It seems you are not afeared of skank, so we should definitely give it a try. If you can handle that, we will try sa-toh (farty veggie), and then luk niang (fartier veggie), and pla raa (way fermented fish).

        So excited!

        • pitbull friend says:

          Oh, Noyna, you sound like a wonderful guide! I am just imagining you leading a fascinating odor tour!

          I used to wonder why a particular Vietnamese restaurant here in St. Paul seemed to be such a favorite, since I could have sworn they had a sanitation issue. That turned out to be nuoc mam (fermented fish sauce). Then I wasn’t certain about the cleanliness of the wonderful Southeast Asian grocery store near me, until I stopped one day by the sea-creature looking fruits near the front door — durian!

          I did buy some coconut candies once without noticing durian in the list of ingredients. The flavor was similar to the smell of Mercaptan, the sulfurous chemical added to household gas so you can tell whether your stove is leaking. Not the worst thing in the world, but not a sensation most would seek out. –Ellen

          • pitbull friend says:

            Oops, pardon my ethnocentrism. I meant, “not something most North Americans would seek out.” (On the other hand, I am a devotee of Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray Tonic, a soda made from celery, so who am I to judge ANYTHING?) –Ellen

          • March says:

            I have a friend from Maine who really likes Moxie (the beverage.) I tried it once. Thought I would die. It’s made out of … old shoes and tonic, or something. Cel-Ray sounds delightful by comparison.

            Not sure about the farty veggies/:)

        • March says:

          I’ll be like the grandma. A hulking, fleshy, sweating, pale grandma.:d

          Yes, this month! We leave on the 25th and get there on the 26th? Or on the same day (I get confused.)

          I emailed you.\:d/

          • noyna says:

            Hi, Ellen and March,

            Cel-Ray is deeelicious. As for the peculiar odors that can emanate from SE Asian food, yes, I understand. But if it counts for anything, many SE Asians find the Western love of cheese to be disgusting. Not so much in BKK, where Westerners and their cheese-loving ways are commonplace. But in other parts of SE Asia, people often think it nasty…and they think that Westerners smell funny because of it!

            Am so pleased I’ll be meeting you, March. Will e-mail you today!

          • March says:

            I love “… and their cheese-loving ways.” I have offered cheese to a lovely Thai person or two and noted their extremely polite, mildly horrified refusal — particularly of veined cheese (with visible mold.) I wouldn’t be surprised at all if we smell of it. I try not to think about the origin of cheese too closely.

          • pitbull friend says:

            If it’s any comfort, March, I haven’t eaten cheese in years &, though I am surrounded by dairy-lovin’ folk out here, I don’t smell it on them. I can smell people who eat LOTS of meat, but omnivores who have a balanced diet seem OK to me. –Ellen

  • Elle says:

    OMG! Five whole weeks! How absolutely glorious! This is *such* a brilliant thing to do for your kids. It’s been a few years since I’ve taken a really long vacation and I’m feeling the need to start making plans for one again.
    I can actually wear winter scents when it’s 96 dripping degrees out, but I just wear even tinier amounts than usual (literally put it on a q-tip and apply one drop, lightly). I think I’ll try the whining imprisoned one’s Just Me. It has “multifaceted skin musk” as one of the notes and that’s so wonderfully amusing I think I need to risk the fruity floral toxins and sample it.

    • pitbull friend says:

      Wow! March’s bravery is having a ripple effect! :d

    • March says:

      Really?!? Just a dab? You mean I shouldn’t be spraying them on with abandon?:o

      Please, PLEASE report back on jailbait’s fragrance. Looking forward to the multifaceted musk…

  • chayaruchama says:

    3rd time, should be the charm
    [I’m not coming through… hello, Rangoon !]

    Brave girl, meshuggeneh mayne.
    Beyond a doubt… AND certifiable, no less.

    I will gladly keep the demon-spawn amused, in-flight, providing that you and I DUMP the Big Cheese and kids when we get to Angkor Wat…

    I agree w/ Tigs and Maria.
    Definitely hit the SPF, big-time.
    [Remember- even my precious Bob Marley- saints preserve him !-wasn’t immune to melanoma… and he was quite a few shades darker than we]

    DO you know the 1/2 life of that stuff ???
    Be careful, Toots.
    And STOP making me feel all broody here… it’s so matronly.
    Can’t abide it .

    You have my admiration and awe, no sh*t, beloved.
    Enjoy yourself!

    • March says:

      You’re coming through, baby!

      Okay, that’s another vote for the Neutrogena, right? Maybe I’ll stick with that, it seems to work for me… oh, wait, I see — Lee fished you out of the filter. Lucky girl. I hate going in there.

      So … you don’t think I should have 2 Valium and a cocktail after boarding the plane? We keep joking about it. Cheese’ll be slapping me awake 18 hours later.

  • Judith says:

    I am really jealous about Thailand; I have heard nothing but wonderful things from people who have been there. You will have a blast! I have never been to Asia (feeling sorry for herself).:((
    I wonder how things will smell there. . .

    • March says:

      Well, I’m not feeling entirely sorry for you, because I seem to remember there’s a trip to Paris for you… hoping that’s still on?

      • Judith says:

        Oh, yes, still on–and very excited too! Just not as exotic as yours (can always find something to complain about):)

  • Patty says:

    I’m alternately pea green with envy and worried sick. 🙂

    one of these days, when we get the kids through collage and I’ve stockpiled enough Xanax, I’ll take one of those long trips too, but given how antsy I get on just a flight to Europe, I always have a great deal of empathy for the kids that are just out of their minds bored.

    • March says:

      I promise I’ll be careful! Hey, lookit, I can hook up with a commenter who lives in Bangkok!

      The Euro trips are pretty much painless for me now — I just watch a couple movies and nap. So I’m hoping this will be … endurable.

  • Lee says:

    Well, I’ve caught some stomach bug, so the thought of testing any unfamiliar scent at the moment is making my intestines twist and flip. You should hear the noises they are making – gurgle city. On second thoughts… (Here’s hoping this isn’t prolepsis, litgeeks).

    I’m psyched to hear about your trip – especially jealous about the Angkor Wat part. I’m personally attempting to persuade Matt to come to Laos with me before too long – but he doesn’t do ‘developing world’ for all sorts of complex, ‘right-on’ reasons (or at least, that’s the spin he gives them – I think he’s just a worrier hiding his fears).

    Was going to write more, but have to… erm… dash.

    • March says:

      So sorry about your stomach! Be sure not to read my references to fried crickets up there, okay? Good. Anyway, we can email further if you want, Cheese has been to Laos. Very, very quiet. I think you should talk Matt into Vietnam or Cambodia.

  • chayaruchama says:

    Oy…Meshuggeneh mayne !
    You ARE a brave soul…

    I would happily keep your demon-spawn amused and safe en-route…
    Then we’d stick the Big Cheese w/ them, while you and I go on our foray to Angkor Wat !

    Agree w/ Tigs, and Maria.
    [Neutrogena has an SPF 70 w/ Helioplex, and it’s good for beaching…but the regular Healthy Defense 45 is more palatable for everydaywear- no aroma, good texture]
    Shiseido has an awesome sunblock that’s VERY waterproof- has titanium, a LOT of it.

    Valium ?
    Do you know the half-life of that stuff ???
    Just checking, baby.
    It takes a loooong time to get out of your system, so be careful.
    [You’re making me all ‘nursey’here…STOP it, NOW !]

    Katie’s post was fantastic, just what the doctor ordered…
    PC, I don’t think so, thankfully.

    Well, Angel-
    Be safe, and enjoy.

    • Lee says:

      Look what I found when I went fishing in the back passage muck…

      • March says:

        You gentleman, you! Ack, I hate going in there. You know what’s funny/pathetic? Half the stuff — their porn keywords — I have NO IDEA what they’re talking about. Just absurd-sounding words (nouns? verbs? who knows?) Not gonna follow the link to find out, either.

  • Gail S says:

    loltrek made me cry! Tears running down my face and dripping on my worksurface! Oh well, can’t say you didn’t warn me. Have tons of fun in Thailand!

    • March says:

      loltrek was HILARIOUS. Also it refreshed my memory on just how doofy those costumes were. Kirk’s neckline looks like he’s wearing a cheongsam.

  • Maria says:

    Hey, March, will you still be allowed to file your taxes as a Maryland resident next year, having been gone so long? Bon Voyage! A very happy, safe time to you all. Not having children, I cannot give child-control advice. I believe that the things I’ve hoped parents would do to their crying babies on long flights are actually illegal. >:)

    My DH is very self-conscious about looking so very white in swim trunks. I’m not. I wear sunblock every day of the year. I recommend Neutrogena Age Shield Sunblock. I have an SPF 45, but I think they’re making them stronger now.

    Nothing would persuade me to take a day-long flight, but I’m happy when those who want to get to do it. Really sounds lovely, March (in a better you than me sort of way). 😡

    • March says:

      I’ve always been really white, and I got over it years ago. I will say that in my mid-40s it’s paying off very nicely — at an age when many of my friends are dealing with serious age spots, etc., and some precancerous stuff, I’m looking pretty good by comparison.

      I think that’s the sunblock I’ve been using! It’s high SPF, it stays on, and it doesn’t burn — a lot of them sting my face, which I just hate.

      The Cheese finds it hilarious how much I, mother of four, can’t stand to be around other people’s raucous children if we’re out to dinner together. My attitude is, if I wanted some of that, I’d have brought my own rugrats with me.

      • Maria says:

        I swear by Neutrogena Age Shield. My skin feels and looks better when I put it on, and my eyes usually don’t sting. When I’m going on a long car ride, I layer over it a tinted moisturizer or light foundation with SPF 15 or 20. You probably have trouble finding a foundation that isn’t too yellow on you; I feel your pain. Yep, I’m not an export on beauty products, but just ask me about sunscreen…

        And, of course, you’ll take and buy one or more hats. <):)

        • Maria B. says:

          “Expert,” not “export,” but that was a funny typo.

        • March says:

          Honey, I have more hats than most normal people have shoes. And do not EVEN get me started on the foundation.[-( It goes wrong in one of two ways: they make me too yellow (e.g., I had the most terrifying experience at Shiseido, where I went because I thought they understood the nuance of pale) or they try to “match” me and I’m a way too pink. I have finally found love in two places: Chanel’s illumine (I think that’s what it’s called) has a good color for me, and believe it or not, Stila makes this all-over glow thing that actually functions as a very nice, sheer foundation on me. Under both, however, I wear sunscreen.

          Another vote for the Age Shield. Don’t you hate it when your eyes sting? I’m going to go check, I’m pretty sure that’s what I’ve been using (experimenting with the “moisturizer” one vs. the straight sunscreen)

  • Flora says:

    Wow, such bravery, and with kids in tow as well! My hat is off to you. Have a great time! And what tmpoo said – you cannot have too much sunblock in a place like that. Don’t count on buying it there, find one that really works for you and test-drive it at home first to make sure it isn’t a greasy mess, plus some of the really high SPF ones can irritate your skin.

    Say, isn’t Champaca flower from that part of the world? Maybe you can smell it “in person.”


    I believe I will have something to report for “Wrong Scent, Wrong time” – sounds fun! Just don’t expect White Diamonds – I would not wear that even for you. I do have my limits.


    • March says:

      Definitely bringing my own sunscreen. It is a toughie, even here. My high SPF, no-irritant stuff has zinc in it, and even/especially on my pale skin it’s particularly terrifying — I almost glow. The alternative high-SPF stuff often has something that stings… right now I’m trying the new (ish) Neutrogena with Mexoryl, I bought several different high-SPF formulations, they seem to be working. I will say the zinc stuff stays on forever; I have to wash it off.

      Googling champaca flower!@};-

  • Tigs says:

    I meant “congratulations”, of course, but I kind of like the sound of “congratulation!” It sounds like one of those cheery, Asian mistranslations like: “Being happy, be luck!” on the side of your cottage cheese container.

    • March says:

      If it’s any consolation, I read it with the “s.” Actually, maybe I’ll start using congratulation. It does have a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Best good fortune!

      • pitbull friend says:

        This reminds me of the annoying attendant where I sometimes park. I can’t tell whether he is drunk or just very angry at the world — red face & glassy eyes. When I hand him the money, he always glares at me and says “Thank.” –Ellen

  • Tigs says:

    Sounds fabulous, March, congratulation! I’ve learned recently that if your child is going to turn into the Hindu God Shiva, the many-armed destroyer of worlds, on a long flight, the best thing to do is get drunk. And bring gummy bears. They look festive in your gin and tonic. And you might be persuaded to share them. But you’ll have five whole weeks to relax and detox before flying back. And I’m so jealous of the Ankgor Wat trip; just voted for it as one of the seven new wonders of the world (and, yes, I have my black belt in nerdery.)

    • March says:

      Oddly, until recently, I thought Angkor Wat WAS one of the seven wonders. It should be, right? Anyhoo, the NY Times travel section just did an article yesterday about how Angkor’s so over because it’s been discovered, and the new authentic place to go is Myanmar. So I guess Angkor and I are ready for each other.

      And I want to see Petra. I hear you still have to ride a camel to get there. No, seriously.

      • Lee says:

        Hell, Petra is definitely worth a visit. I was on a horse though.

        • March says:

          Oh, you’ve BEEN?!?!? I’ll have to hear all about it. Is it worth it? I’m sure the answer’s yes…

          • Tigs says:

            I voted for Petra, too. Never been there, of course, but I just saw a really neat exhibit on it at our local museum. In addition to Angkor and Petra, I voted for the Great Wall, the Acropolis, the Kremlin/St. Basil’s/Red Square, Machu Picchu, and the Taj Mahal. It was a hard choice, as I was also tempted by the Hagia Sophia (which I’ve seen, under restoration) and the Alhambra.

          • Lee says:

            Yes, it is – though I went in the days before tourist throngs (88) got to their current levels – part of its beauty was its isolation, so I’m not sure that still exists (probably does if you get there at dawn’s crack, if you’ll pardon the expression). I was mad enough to spend three months of that year (and summer to boot) in Jordan and Egypt – I had a wondrous time. The desert at Wadi Rum is also mindblowing. But my highpoint was getting lifts on army jeeps to the oasis at Farafra in Egypt. Back then, it had one shop and little else (and the Sinai had hardly any development at all – now it’s scuba diving madness), Nowadays, I think coaches run out there.

            I was reckless in those days – the dysentery proved it… Aaah, memories.

            *takes off wanky ‘I’m a traveller, not a tourist’ mantle, and looks at packages to Cancun*

  • Lavanya says:

    Hey March – Have fun!! Phuket is supposed to be quite beautiful (haven’t been there myself though but have heard from friends and seen lovely pictures).

    • March says:

      Over the years several veteran travelers have mentioned it as their favorite country. We’re not visiting in the best weather, but it’s not like D.C.’s a slice of heaven right now, either.

  • tmp00 says:

    March- get some La Roche Posay Anthelios 60 sunblock. Won’t let anything through!

    Have a wonderful, safe trip!

    • March says:

      But where? Where do I get it? The only place here has the silly L’Oreal one that’s spf 15, and what good is that?

      I’m going to call my dermatologist. I have my SPF60 Neutrogena with Mexoryl, which is pretty good.

      • Patty says:

        I found some on the internets or ebay a while back, can’t remember which!

        • March says:

          Off to look…

          • tmp00 says:

            I got it from on the internets at a place called West Coast Skin. But I also would try your Dermo, of call CO Bigelow in NYC- that’s where the friend who turned me onto it got it.

            I spent about 4 hours wandering around an art fair in the SoCal sun (including trips to and from with the top down) and nothing. Nada. No color at all.

  • Dusan says:

    *picking jaw up from the floor* Five weeks in Thailand?!! W.H.O.A. Can I come? I’ll look after the children. I am very good with kids being one myself so you’d have all the time you need for whatever trips and sightseeings you plan on doing. I am also a good swimmer fluent in Thai and have undergone tsunami security training (ok, the last two are lies, but even so…) So? No? Oh well, at least I gave it a try 😀
    I’m guessing you know what “poisson” means in French. =)) You’ll have plenty of those in the sea (or is it the ocean?) so if I were you I’d stay away from the suspicious-looking flacon.
    Ok, I’m trying hard to say something (else) funny but this photo’s got me hypnotized right now so…
    *hops on right foot tilting head to get water out of ear*

    • March says:

      I’m planning on plenty of poisson, yes indeedy! And lots of other interesting things to go with it. I hear their ice creams are wonderful (coconut, mango, tea, etc.) I also hear the fried crickets at the bar are crispy and delicious. Or maybe the Cheese is having me on.