Thailand gave me a tan. I'm all brown and lovely.
If by brown and lovely you mean flaky and freckly, that is. To be completely fair, Thailand gave me what felt like a second degree burn followed by peeling skin. I spent a good five minutes in the shower this morning rubbing, picking and brushing dead layers of my epidermis off my right shoulder. Charming. And the tan on my face is fading back to freckle already, less than a week since I left those beautiful shores. What's really gross however is how compelling I find scratching peely-bits. Yeah, I fit into the category of 'picker'. There are those who pick and those who don't. Skin, pimples, scabs, the lot. Pick one, pick 'em all, I tend to find. Feel free to judge.
Seriously though, I can't remember the last time I as skin-obsessed as we were in Thailand. I burnt my decolletage and legs to a shade I fondly call "nuclear basted" on the ferry from Phuket to Ko Phi Phi. P's chest and legs were the same roastytoasty red. We had been smugly watching pre-burnt Brits and sniggering over their lack of sunsense, sitting on the front of the boat (fo'c'sle? stern? aft?). We thought the ferry would take about an hour and the sunscreen was sitting at the bottom of the pack. "We'll be fine", we said. "We're hardy New Zealand types and Thailand can't have a sub-10 minute burn time, ferchristssake, there's no hole in the ozone over the equator."
Foolish: ferry took three hours and at the risk of stating the bleeding obvious, we have been living in Britain. We are now the same English-rose shade as our Pommy ancestors. That night, my shins actually ached from the burn. Ghastly.
Via: Trek Earth. BURNY PARADISE.
So, from arrival at Phi Phi, we were slapping on layers of sunscreen and moisturiser in a prevention/damage stemming routine. Reapplication after every swim (yeah, doing it tough, right?).
But it wasn't just sunscreen and moisturiser, OH NO. Muggins here is A-Grade, YumYum, TastyExtreme to mosquitos. So we were also layering up with 85% DEET mozzie repellent several times a day. That shit is effing toxic. It smells bad, god forbid you ever get it in your mouth. The label warns you that there might be possible side effects of overuse, for crying out loud. It's ominous that the side effects aren't spelled out - I was having visions of hallucinations, male breastmilk production, you name any godawful side effect you've ever seen on a packet. I mean, even chewing gum warns you about the possibility of a laxative effect. Why can't DEET be labelled in the same way, just to prevent my active imagination freaking the eff out?*
|THIS IS WHAT DEET LOOKS LIKE. HELPFUL, NO? VIA Wikipedia|
In an effort to deflect night time invaders, I was also closing the sides of the mosquito net using a hair tie. I was not prepared to allow any potential mosquito egress to my bed. I had the electric mozzie killing tennis racquet at the bedside. We had a mozzie lamp on the porch. I'm not entirely sure if there was anything else I could have done to protect my precious skin from predatory mosquito invasions.
Even so, I got bitten on my last night in Phi Phi. I spent the flight to Hong Kong, the last night in HKG, then the 13 hour flight from Hong Kong to London scratching like a feral dog with fleas (comparison more apt than you realise; my terrible white girl hair does not love tropical climates).
Furthermore, for the record, FYI, TMI, etc - when you're on your honeymoon with burn issues, toxic crap rubbed into your skin and the worst case of the frizzies known to mankind, and your husband is still prepared to touch you - you know you've found a KEEPER (either that or he's desperate. I know which interpretation I prefer).
*Holy shit I am SO GLAD I did not google DEET side effects before going on holiday. SEIZURES? DEATH? I should have realised the issues when it melted rubber for eff's sake!!!! BUT I REALLY do not like being bitten. Conundrum aye?