Thursday, January 13, 2011

More from the Thailand files: A roomy room

Silly as it may sound, I won't forget this recent Thailand trip because of one particular restroom. If I need to state the obvious, here goes: I have a thing for good public toilets. I even wrote guidelines a while back, mostly because I was sick of impractical and dirty restrooms and partly because I was at gunpoint. In a nutshell, I love ladies rooms that are clean, thoughtfully designed and unique. Who doesn't?

Anyway, we were at the Fly Now Outlet in Hua Hin, quietly going about our (mostly window) shopping, when my older sister excitedly announced that she had just been to THE BEST RESTROOM in the world. I practically ran to the stalls (because I really needed to go, not because I wanted to show my sisterly support). Martina, now-famous 4-year-old niece, quickly followed me.

When I saw the restroom, I understood my sister's elation. Although I wouldn't say it was the best ever, that particular one was a joy. I wanted to spend long and lazy hours in that room, with a good book or an iPhone app or two. Although the design and fixtures weren't exactly creative (that is, the toilet looked like a toilet and the sink looked like a sink), it was overwhelming in a good way. Here's a pic:

Tadaaaah! ... aaa ... aaa ... (toilet echo: one of man's worst enemies)
I'm telling you, this room was HUGE. I'm sure there are apartments in New York and Hong Kong that are smaller than this restroom. In my 'guidelines', I specified the need for 'reasonable leg room per cubicle'. The Fly Now restroom took it further and gave you the option to park your Ford Expedition inside the stall. I assumed the size was intentional though. After all, the outlet had extraordinarily gigantic (and very pink) guards, who hung out outside the building. I suppose even dinosaurs need to pee. (I'm trying to stop myself from imagining dino-poop. I'm failing, FYI.)

Pink Martina with the pink security guard
The cubicle was relatively empty, but the cold concrete walls and floor were softened by the two potted plants at the far end. The metal ceiling was high and each stall was open near the top. In effect, you could hear the 'activities' of your 'neighbors' if you listened carefully (I would be worried if you're the type who would actually want to listen. I know a good psychiatrist.) 

My favorite part about this minimalist restroom, apart from its cleanliness, was the long wooden bench that ran across the whole length of one of its walls. Martina's favorite, on the other hand, was that everything was within her tiny reach. She had already seen and used the restroom, which explained why she was only too happy to join me.

I wasn't expecting to get the royal treatment, but I felt like I had my own personal assistant as I went about my business. When I was ... um ... seated, Martina sat on the bench, directly in front of me, and we had a very pleasant conversation, given that we were in a rather unsanitary scenario. When I was done, Martina jumped off the bench and shouted, 'WAIT, I'LL GIVE YOU TISSUE, TITA ENG!!!' Thankfully, I was in a foreign country and there was little danger of being recognized on account of my name ricocheting off the cubicle walls. Martina also took care of flushing the toilet, opening and closing the tap, and giving me paper towels to dry my hands. I tipped her with a hug, but she wanted a Ralph Lauren sports coat. I would've given it if she had waxed the Expedition too.

So I've completely forgotten my point. 

Oh yes: Restroom! Big! Clean! Cute toilet attendant! Fun times!

The end. Or is it? (Tan dan daaaaaaaaaan ... aaan ... aaan)

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Thailand: An enlightening experience

Deep in the recesses of a Thailand mall, I discovered a precious secret that was kept successfully for ages and ages. Today, in this unholy hour, I bestow upon myself the responsibility of letting the world finally know how Hello Kitty stays as bright as light.

Sorry Hello Kitty, I had to do it. 

Of course, Hello Kitty is not known for selfishness and hoarding. Apparently, she shares her beauty products with her cousins in Safari World ...

Hello, Kitty. Stay ... stay ...
and some really REALLY distant (and creepy) relatives.


At least the flamingoes weren't into the whole peer pressure scene. They took the opposite route and went crazy with some Stabilo (am I circa or what?). Highlighter parteh!!!

Why am I having med school flashbacks?

There you have it. Another edgy photojournalistic piece from me. I'm sure this would've been better if I had some kind of photography or editing talent, or maybe a smidgen of sense. To make up for it, here's (a younger) Martina impersonating you-know-who. Because a smiling child makes everything better.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Thailand: A fruity preview

Just came back from spending the holidays with my family in Thailand. Lots to share but so little time. For now, here's a 'giant' teaser:

May our 2011 be larger than life!