‘Here is only 280 baht.’ Well thank you Mrs. Clinic Lady for informing me that I had been grossly overcharged 200 baht on my sunburn.
‘Did I just buy a bottle of knock off sunblock’ I am thinking, here in the air conditioned darkness of my room. Here are the facts:
At eleven I walked to a ‘pharmacy’ (essentially a minimally stocked drugstore) and purchased a bottle of 30 SPF sunscreen.
The product in question is Samui Sun, Samui referencing the island of Ko Samui. The packaging further reads, ‘Coconut Sun Protect’ and boasts that it ‘protects against sun burn and premature skin ageing’ (verbatim, misspelling included). Two for the win right?
29 days into the trip I considered myself to have established a base tan, less the slightly visible veins on my forearms. A testament of serving the last five years in the relative Canadian north, that I am eager to remedy. I would do this by purchasing sunscreen that was less than the SPF 60 that my Dad-Pants Boyfriend bought for us.
So while G completes his 2 day Advanced Open Water Diving certificate, I’ll work earnestly to bronze my forearms. Being ‘sun smart’ I applied the lotion nearly 45 minutes before hitting the beach. I cracked Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code and punched my time card. For the next two hours I drank in the hot mid day sun. Feeling a little toasty I reapplied individual body parts as I felt they deserved it. Roughly halfway through I reapplied the entire front of my body (I had been lying on my back for the duration of the period -targeting them forearms!) Luckily I also decided to wear my hat and sunglasses. At the two hour mark I took a mandatory sun break. I moved to a table under some palms and ordered a Fanta. Through my sunglasses I could tell that my arms and thighs were slowly burning pink. What the hell? I pulled at the edge of my bathing suit bottoms. An obvious contrast of red and white. WTFFFF?
Promptly packing up and hoofing it to my dive resort I jumped in the shower to evaluate the damage. Not good. Every serious sunburn I had ever had and their respective serious suck factors flashed through my mind. ‘Piece of $#!* @#$%^&* sunscreen!’ Shortly thereafter my thoughts turned to a girl in my dive course who arrived at the resort with bandaged shoulders. I presumed she had just been tattooed at one of Thailand’s million tattoo shops. Wrong. She had fallen asleep on the ferry ride here in a tank top. She said she had slept for 45 minutes, resulting in 3rd degree burns. I had just been outside, fully awake, for TWO HOURS. I panicked.
I have to get to a medical clinic where I will be submerged in ice and slathered in topical burn cream! 40% of my body is burnt! I grabbed some money, keys, the lotion in question, a scarf and set out to find a clinic. Being on a party island in Thailand, I quickly located one 150 feet from my room.
‘Sawadee Kah!!! Look I am very burnt!’ I tugged away my scarf and dress strap. The Thai woman turned her attention from a pirated movie. She handed me some green Aloe Vera. ‘No look, it is very bad!’ This time I pulled up my dress and drew her attention to my bikini bottoms, revealing the burn line. She reached back into the case and handed me a blue burn relief lotion. I thrust forward the Samui Sun lotion. ‘I bought this today, now I am burnt. Is it bad? Is it a good company?’ She replied in the affirmative, then looked at the bottle I had and said, ‘Here is only 280 baht.’ Well thank you Mrs. Clinic Lady for informing me that I had been grossly overcharged 200 baht on my sunburn. And then she shortchanged me 100 baht on my sunburn relief lotion, unbelievable!! Panicked or not I can still subtract 230 from 1,000.
I returned to my room. Kind of. In my panic I took my baggage key with me rather than my room key. Fail. I went to the lobby to retrieve the master keys. The front desk person heard room 22 when I said room two-oh-two. Fail.
So I’m laying on a towel on my bed, under the fan with the A/C cranked after taking two cold showers. I am red as a lobster and have 2mm of slimy blue aloe painting the burns, which makes me appear patchy purple. Most upsetting (to me) are the two obvious raccoon eyes I have. My oversized Ray Bans etched onto my cheeks I am going to look like I am a ski instructor, or a bearded woman.
At this point I am convinced that the primary ingredient of ‘Samui Sun Coconut Sun Protect’ is coconut. Buying a Thai sunscreen, I fear I have fallen into a tourist trap- might my burn relief be manufactured by the same company?
Seriously, I can’t believe the woman at the store short changed me?!
Written in a dark, burning place.