The Woman Who Wore a Pencil to Dinner

I love the idea of a tropical holiday. Even before I moved to Asia, I preferred the idea of a sultry location to the Med as a backdrop for floating around in Melissa Odabash and Heidi Klein “resort wear”. Unfortunately though the tropics don’t love me back.

My idyllic sojourns in some Eastern paradise tend to go something like this:

First night, Mr J decides to fling the French windows wide open as he hates air con and wants “fresh air”. I awake to find myself covered with a hundred mosquito bites. Mr J has none. His laughter subsides when I have to spend a squillion dollars on designer tea tree oil from the hotel spa shop.

If it doesn’t happen overnight, the mosquito onslaught will occur during the Romantic Al Fresco Dinner on the first evening because really, who wants to sit there smelling of noxious insect repellent?

Day one, despite religiously covering myself in Clarins Factor 50 I seem to have missed a bit so end up with red burnt patch in strange shape somewhere prominent. Added to this, as I get older I seem to have lost the ability to tan evenly and end up with odd blotchy red bits and rashes. Depressingly, I remember my mother looking like this on holiday.

By the evening my mosquito bites have turned an angry red. This renders my holiday wardrobe of strappy, short mini dresses redundant and I have to wear the same kaftan over white jeans every night for dinner. At some point Mr J will say, “I’m sick of seeing you wearing that.”

Sometimes other wardrobe malfunctions will occur. Like my recent weekend in Thailand where my cute hair clip fell apart, literally exploded in my hand, as I tried to put my wet hair up for dinner. “You must have something else you can use,” insisted Mr J, not being prepared to wait for me to blow dry my hair. I didn’t. Not even a disposable one I usually have at the bottom of my bag covered in bits. I was reduced to sticking the hotel room pencil through my hair, curled up in a makeshift bun.

My experiences never put me off though. Living here, there are so many enticing places so easy to fly to. I’m already looking forward to the next break – mosquito bites and all.

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