Things I enjoy doing on holiday but am slightly ashamed of include hanging around foreign supermarkets. NOWHERE do you get a better idea of what a nation's preoccupations are, and what it considers essential and/or exotic. Thai supermarkets (based on many years of keen observation while Mr F drags his feet behind me wailing "I'm booooored") have vast amounts of hair products - not surprising when you consider that all Thai women have sleek and glossy raven locks. Very little for frizzy hair, sadly for me, as I routinely turn into Harpo Marx two seconds after leaving the air-conditioning in my room, and nothing short of WD-40 or a bag will stop this. All skin products, including baby lotion, promise "extra whitening!" as oddly enough my leprous pallor is considered as desirable in Thailand as a golden tan is here. What we consider exotic (ie lemongrass, fish sauce etc) they consider deeply boring and mundane, so there are aisles full of fantastically cheap "staples" for those of you who, like me, would rather come home with a suitcase full of dried shrimp paste than souvenirs. What we consider mundane is classed as extraordinary foreign delicacies (ie Paul Newman salad dressing, Dolmio sauces, etc). And nowhere else have I ever seen Vanilla Mint Listerine, so I had to buy some. Odd, but palatable. I have a secret suspicion that if I chilled it and added vodka nobody would notice it wasn't a cocktail.
So as I was clearing out my handbag last night (big red one has pretty much broken my collarbone) I found the flyer for BIG NIGHT THAI BOXING AT STADIUM NEXT TO TESCO. Sorry to disappoint you all but this was Ban Niang beach, Khao Lak, not a Tesco near you. We didn't go, mostly because the last time I was persuaded to go to a Thai boxing match it was so hot and the fumes of Tiger Balm were so strong that I actually passed out. There are better ways to spend an evening than being driven back to your hotel in the open flatbed of a pickup, with your head between your knees weeping "I'm not on drugs! Please don't send me to the Bangkok Hilton!". What caught my eye this time round, on the flyer this is, was the thumbnail bio of each contender - under their names were their taglines, which mostly said things like "King of the ring!!" and "Born to fight - born to win!!" My favourites, however, were "The elbow specialist!!" and (on further investigation of the website) "The knees that knocked a hole in the sky!!", at least one of whom (guess, go on) is probably an osteopath or something. Or should be.
And finally - I do spend a lot of my time on holiday people-watching - I have come to the conclusion that there are certain sartorial choices no adult male should ever be allowed to get away with.
1) Crocs on any male over 6 years old, especially in natty shades of lime green, acid blue or hot pink.
2) Hair accessories, especially alice bands. Want to play with someone's hair? Get a Tressy Barbie.
3) Short shorts anywhere but a sports field/court. Makes any man, no matter how young or attractive, look like Donna Summer on rollerskates.
4) Any t-shirt that proclaims you to be a Breast Inspector, or that tries to do your chat-up for you (ie "If I Said You Had A Beautiful etc etc")
Yes I know I'm a fine one to talk in my custom-hacked Comic Relief Morecambe and Wise t-shirt and lost property box sunglasses...