When George Gershwin wrote "Summertime" for the opera Porgy and Bess, he clearly had laid-back, balmy days in mind. Back then they hadn't heard of skin cancer, heatstroke, and all the other nasties that come without protection from "That lucky old sun," that "ain't got nothing to do, but to roll around heaven all day." I love the Ray Charles version!
Today, we are better informed and more health conscious. Are we really?
Ask yourself this: "Why is the sun care business a multi-billion dollar earner?
No, these companies just eased on in there with their factor fifty protection products when the medical evidence was made public. Australian's are, in my humble opinion, the people who were first to recognize the dangers of what used to be called, "a healthy tan."
As far back as the eighties, Australian children could be seen wearing the world renowned Akubra hats while travelling to and from school. "No hat today, mate? Then home you go!"
I'm not trying to spoil your holiday in the Land of smiles; merely making sure that you don't leave here with anything other than wonderful souvenirs and happy memories.
The former United States President, Harry S. Truman, coined the phrase - "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." A more profound observation than he realized.
British super-model, Naomi Campbell, is quoted as saying: "I never wear underwear in tropical conditions." Thank you, Naomi. You have just made a happy man very old!
What follows is a list of what my old drill instructor in the Parachute regiment fondly alluded to as, "Dog Common sense."
Let's get back to that issue of sun care products. If you intend to expose your skin to the sun for an extended period, slap on the highest factor sunscreen known to mankind. Don't forget your face; the most common melanomas start before your very eyes. Why do you see young, fit, international cricket players wearing that funny green or white cream on their noses?
Just as an amusing aside, have you noticed that Thai ladies slap on as much whitening agent as western ladies use sunscreen? They want to be white, and we westerners want to be brown; what a crazy world.
My wife is Thai, and tends to use more whitening cream than Michael Jackson.
Thailand, however, should be a happy experience, and in most cases proves to be just that. But save a wonderful visit from becoming a painful experience by following these simple guidelines.
Jai yen, in the Thai language means keep a cool heart; make sure the rest of your body is treated in kind.
Enjoy your stay in this beautiful country. Go home with a tan by all means, but remember, if like me you hail from Scotland, we are pale blue by nature!
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