Shopping in this bustling metropolis is truly an adventure. A long, exhausting, nightmarish and potentially depressing adventure. Its all fun and games when you are perusing Siam Paragon and CentralWorld checking out the flash and glam…but you step onto a much more ruthless court when you stop window shopping and start seeking out those things you actually need. If you are taller than 5’6, no longer fit into your childhood outfits, and have any body or self esteem issues, I would advise against clothes shopping in SE Asia.
Lets start with the shoes. There is almost no such thing as a shoe over size 40 (that’s a 7 for you British and 9.5 for the Americans). You will get shut down at almost any shoe store you walk into if you, like me, have “boat feet”. I spent four hours looking for shoes. Let me repeat…FOUR HOURS. You can go to Siam Discovery, Paragon, etc if you want to pay over 2000baht for shoes (no thank you), and even there you will be hard pressed to find anything big enough. I scoured MBK’s 8 floors and 2,000+ shops for a headache inducing four hours only to be met with disappointment after disappointment. Every shop was the same story; shock that such a thing exists. Until, am I dreaming?, a forgotten corner of the small shop in the basement held the fabled shoes sizes 40-44! Say whaaaaaat? I was so excited I almost hugged the woman who sold me my new black flats.
Next up is skirts. Thai people, you little twigs, grow a waistline please. Seriously the average waistline size is 23-31 inches. Shoes finally discovered, I began my quest for skirts. The following exchange is just…so common.
*looks through skirts and sees 24, 25, 25, 26, 31, 21*
“Hi, do you have..maybe a 34?”
“Ah no miss, sorry no. We only have medium”
“Yeah, I know…I kinda need a large”
“Yes, extra large! *laughs* Extra extra large!”
Watch it, bean pole…
Fortunately, in the end, finding skirts wasn’t nearly as difficult as the shoes. It only took me about two hours!
And then we have our undergarments. I went to find myself a new bra and I stumbled across some cheap ones at Forever 21. Now I have never thought my boobs to be an impressive size but I hardly fit into the extra large. Extra large is too small? ….how?? My body is one big joke here. Next I’ll to discover I need to use parachutes for underwear.
Finally, time for blouses and other such professional tops. Medium is the new large, people. I was once again met with multiple hurdles while searching for tops; most of those problems being size related. Almost every shop was “free size” or one size fits all. This means I would ask, “Can I try this on?” And after measuring the shirt and my bust I receive an answer similar to, “This size 35, you size 37. Can NOT fit.” (Like I said…if you have body issues don’t even bother trying to find clothes, you will only destroy your frail self even further. Fortunately I find it kind of funny to feel like Alice after she’s eaten the cake.) If I finally did find something that fit it was either covered in frills, ribbons, or sew on-s of Mickey Mouse, Hello Kitty, or some other cartoon. Oh and one blouse that I found had the Superman emblem. Super teacher to the classroom! Asia, there are some aspects of you I may never understand.
I arrived in Bangkok yesterday, signed a contract, have spent the past two days running around endless stores in many different malls across the city, and tomorrow I jump on the train to my new home so I can start work on Monday. It has literally been non-stop since I left Malaysia. On the bright side, I am somewhat prepared to at least look the part!