29 November, 2008

The oddness of Thailand

Bizarre, interesting and unusual things about Thailand:

1) You can't put toilet paper in the toilet. You're supposed to put your yucky, number-two-soiled tissue in a rubbish bin, which is often open at the top. Disgusting.

2)Their traffic lights have countdowns! I don't know if anywhere else in the world does this (maybe it's increasingly normal?) but I loved the idea of being able to see how much longer there is to wait at a red light, or if you can just make the green before it changes. Brilliant and easy concept.

3)Their snacky foods like chips and pot noodles are all flavoured as types of seaweed, pork burger, wontong soup, etc. Not a salt 'n vinegar or tomato chip to be seen anywhere.
Look at this interesting flavour- Winnie the Pooh Seaweed:

I wonder what Winnie the Pooh tastes like?

4)They are in love with Hello Kitty. Here I am in one of the many Hello Kitty stores:
It's Kittyzilla! Having a well-deserved sit-down.

5)The Thai people drive like maniacs. They ALL drive like the worst minibus taxis that we South Africans love to swear at. It's frightening.

6)I have never seen so many stray dogs in my life. They're everywhere. It's very sad.

7)Anything with pineapple or coconut in is served in a hollowed-out pineapple or coconut. Maybe it's just for tourists, but even the little shabby side-of-the-road restaurants did it.
That was some gooood rice. (You saw the coconut drink in my last honeymoon recap). This restaurant had THE best coconut shake I have ever tasted in my life. It was the best overall shake of my life, actually. I need to learn how to make me one of those! (I have no idea why there's no photo of it. I could have sworn we took one).

8)Tourism is everything there, so everyone speaks English. No Thai necessary, which Mr Slippers felt was rather sad. I was just relieved - I had no time even to open a book on Thailand before the wedding!

9)Because all the money is in tourism, everyone is poor. Really poor. The hotels are spectacular, and most other places look like this:
This was a minute up the road from our hotel.

10)You have to barter and bargain for everything, and it killed me. You can't even walk down the road without shopkeepers yelling stuff at you, trying to shake your hand, stepping in front of you so you have to stop, asking where you're from, etc. It's So. Frikkin. Exhausting. And you definitely can't wear anything you bought in the markets if you're going back there, because then they all assume you want more of the same (bizarre assumption, I thought - surely you'd want something different since you HAVE one of whatever it is?) and try to force you to buy it at a "good price". Read as "start at ten times what it's worth and argue down from there". By the time the bargaining's over, you don't even really want the thing anymore, it's such a mission. Thank goodness for supermarkets like 7/11, with actual prices on the goods.

11)Even the icecream has funny flavours. They have Magnums and ordinary flavours like orange, pineapple etc, but then there was this bizarre white one that Mr Slippers bought out of curiosity:
It contained corn and beans sprouts. SERIOUSLY.

12)Continuing on funny flavours, there were some odd colours too. Think of guava juice. In South Africa and the UK (only places I've been) it's pink. But in Phuket it looks like this:

And in Hong Kong (more on that later) it's white:
The Phuket one still tastes the same, though. I didn't buy the white one to try it. The Starbucks lady yelled at me for taking this photo, actually. What? Like I'm going to steal the secret Starbucks bottle shape? Copy the logo which I would NEVER be able to find on the internet or anywhere? Idiots.

More travels soon!

28 November, 2008

Photographer Friday

Haven't done this in a while! And since I'm recently married (28 days! Four weeks today!! OMG) and have some gorgeous photos on the way (hint, hint, Tanja), I thought it might be nice to showcase some of the awesome South African photographers out there for the next few weeks! First up is Mario Sales.

25 November, 2008

Photo teasers

I realised that I've barely posted any pictures from my wedding so far! I've sort of been waiting for the pro ones, but they could take aaages, and I do have a few more family and friend shots, some ok, some not great, but all good in the name of teasers!

My makeup. I LOVED it. Thanks, friendor Mel! And she was on hand all night with lipgloss for touchups:

My two beautiful girls - Best Friend Ruby Slippers & Sister Slippers:
My hairstylist, Megan, putting on my veil:

Us outside the chapel:
Our new families! Look how colour-coordinated we are!

The cake toppers! Awww:

I have glowing demon eyes which I haven't bothered to fix, but it's a good shot of us and my bouquet. See? More pink than red, honestly.
The head table:

The Judy Garland table, with an excessively oversized vase...it still looked pretty, but they were a bitch for my poor mom and in-laws to return to the florist:

A close-up of another table (Chaplin, this time):

My hanging table names:

My dress bustled, taken during the first dance:

And what is a wedding without Zorba the Greek? At this point I nearly fell over, since it came straight after Nellie the Elephant, The Timewarp, YMCA, 500 Miles and Cotton-eye Joe. That DJ knew he was onto a good thing and stuck with it! Best Friend RS ducked out of the group early on, but at least she got a photo! I'm on the other side of the group, but you can see me. I'm the one in the white dress :P

Packham envy

My fellow South African blogger, SexyRedFrame, got married this last Saturday, and she looked gooorgeous! Go see. The reason I'm bringing it up is because of her DRESS. Wow, what a stunner. I looked, I marvelled,I said "wow", and I closed her blog. A few minutes later, something was niggling at me. There was something familiar about that dress... I went back to her blog and read pretty much the whole damn thing to find the bit where she chose her dress, so I could see what it was, and, hopefully, see a better picture of it.

Well, there was a picture. A very familiar picture! I immediately went into my well-hidden "dresses I love" folder, which I saved within a folder within a folder within a folder with nothing to do with weddings, so that Mr Ruby Slippers wouldn't ever find it. I hadn't looked at that folder since I ordered my dress in February/early March, but before that, boy, did I look at it twenty times a day!

And there it was. The Jenny Packham Papillon:

I'd saved it in a folder with only 37 other dresses. That's, like, three in bridal terms. :-) I loooved this dress. But Jenny Packham doesn't happen here in SA, and unlike RedFrame, I couldn't go to the States to try on designer wedding gowns. So I must own up to the tiniest bit of jealousy that Sexy RedFrame was able to wear such a stunning dress...and she definitely looked waaay more gorgeous than I ever would! I think you might need to be tall and willowy to pull off that dress, and I'm....not.

Don't get me wrong, I loved my dress, and people told me all night how beautiful it was and how gorgeous I looked in it (best night of my life, that!). I just still can't help wishing that I'd had more variety to choose from, just in case. For instance, in South Africa, all the wedding gowns are a variation on these four standards:

(These are actual dresses from Bride & Co, where I bought my dress)

The A-line with side gathering:

The pick-up skirt:
The frou-frou ballgown:
The slightly mermaid:
And that's it. I did see a couple of sheaths back in the day, but they're all gone now.

I will say that looking at their website, which has been completely restocked since Feb/March, they have a much wider selection of split-front dresses than before. I had two to choose from. There are now six (but the one I didn't choose has vanished). Oh, and my dress has gone up by TWO THOUSAND RAND. I don't earn a lot, but that's more than a third of my monthly salary. Thank you very much, economic crisis. I'm so glad Mr RS proposed when he did!

HOWever, back to the point, which is that the kind of flowy, pretty Jenny Packham/Claire Pettibone dress I was loving online was (and is) nowhere to be found! Aside from the Papillon, these are some of the images I fell in love with:

That scrumptious, flowing, empire-waisted period look was one I just could NOT find here. Now, frankly, I don't believe I could afforded a Jenny Packham dress anyway. But a little bit inside me just wishes I'd had the OPTION, you know?

I've loved this style of dress for years. Everytime I saw "My Fair Lady" (And I've seen it a LOT) I would swoon over the dress Audrey Hepburn wears to the ball (this is the best pic I could find of it without pulling out my dvd and taking a screenshot):

Drool. Envy.

23 November, 2008

Photo of the Day

Today's photo is by Ksenija Savic. It's so pretty...and I feel like pretty today :-)

21 November, 2008

Honeymooners Part II: That hotel, that pool, that beach...

I'm feeling a bit better, if somewhat sore-throaty, so back to the honeymoon recap!

When we woke up on our first morning in Phuket, the first thing that hit me was the heat. Actually, the humidity. The Johannesburg climate I'm used to is dry: hot and dry in the summer (unless it's raining) and cold and dry in the winter (when it doesn't rain). I have to apply body lotion every day here, pretty much, or my skin feels all scratchy and horrible. Not so much in Phuket. It's like being hit in the face by a hot, wet oven every time you walk out the door. Thank goodness for aircon, is all I can say.

This is our room. We had one of their beachfront cottages:

Of course, I'd have preferred one of their high-in-the-trees variety...

... but apparently you need pots of money for that. Still, this did us just fine.

So remember the pool? The one that no photo can do justice to, because it snakes around the buildings, restaurants, under bridges and trees, just being pretty much the Best Pool Ever? Well, it's the best pool ever. Seriously, the only way to improve this baby would be to have a wave section. :-) And aesthetically, it's perfect. You can probably tell this by the fact that I have over forty photos of it. I think Mr Ruby Slippers must have got pretty darn tired of me clutching him and breathing, "Oooh, it's so pretty!" everytime we walked by it. Or swam in it. Or saw it in the distance. But it really was.

Breakfast was awesome, mostly because I love to eat and we got to eat on the edge of the pool! What's not to enjoy?

And while my "used-to-cereal-for-breakfast" stomach couldn't quite handle the thought of fried noodles and such heavy things so early in the morning, the hotel catered to a variety of appetites, so I was able to load up on fruit, cereal (they have proper Chocos there! Not like the crappy ones ours have become that cut the roof of your mouth open) and bacon (mmm, I love me some bacon). I especially enjoyed the fruit, because in amongst the pineapple and papaya there would sometimes be something interesting like DRAGONFRUIT. Oooh.

(It tastes like really tasteless kiwifruit, but I still ate it every damn day they had it, because it's called dragonfruit!)

The beauty of our hotel was that it had its own private beach. Not that it was much good for swimming, with all the rocks and spiky things in there, but it was beautiful for relaxing (not that we did any) and general reiterating of "Damn, this is gorgeous!" You just walk down through the cottages and there it is:

Could you just DIE for that water? But you see what I mean about the rocks and stuff.

Then we decided to have a swim in the pool, involving a few "OmigodweremarriedlookIhavearing" shots:

In an unexpected twist, Mr RS went for the post-wedding hair-chop and I didn't! (not yet, anyway)
And a creative shot of the Thai Buddha from inside the pool. After all that wedding photography I kept feeling like taking photos from odd angles!:

After this, it was time to get dressed and face the haggling street vendors in Patong (which looks pretty and serene across the bay...)

More to come!