The One with the Sunglasses
// February 3rd, 2011 // Cambodia
I consider myself overall to be a responsible person (if we omit the summer in Hawaii and losing my bank card in Bali). And generally speaking, I would say I have good luck in the sunglasses department until I turned 25. You see, up until this point, I had only broken one pair of sunglasses- my favorite zebra-striped pair that my mother and I spent years searching for a replacement but to no avail. That was 8 years earlier, and since then I learned not to leave sunglasses on the driver’s seat of the car.
For my 25th birthday, I went with two of my closest friends to Isle of Palms for a beach bash. After a morning of laying out, I got into the water with glasses on my head, was knocked by a huge wave, and it was bye-bye Oscar De La Renta sunglasses. I bought a $5 temporary pair with cheesy hearts on them at Old Navy outlet on our way out. The cheesy hearts grew on me, and I took them on my RTW trip the following March. Those $5 cheapies survived being smashed in my bag and beat up while I overlanded Africa. However, they reached their breaking point (literally) 24 hours after setting foot in Southeast Asia, and I had to say farewell.
It wasn’t all that heartbreaking (Pun intended. Get it? Heart glasses? Broken?) because with SE Asia’s ample options of knock-off sunglasses, I now had an excuse to shop! After trying on lots of pairs in Siem Reap, I found the ones- a Gucci pair with a squarish shape, rounded corners, and a light brown tone. I was in love! I have a smallish head and have a difficult time finding large sunglasses that don’t fall off my face or consume it completely (my eyeglasses are a children’s size). But these bad boys were great!
About a month later we were it a bungalow in Laos and my sunglasses were on the bed. And I sat on them. Eek. I flipped! I was so sad but determined to replace them. I kept this broken pair in my backpack and took them to the markets in Luang Prabang, Chiang Mai, and even the insanely huge markets in Bangkok. I tried on millions of sunglasses. I couldn’t just order them from a sunglasses online shop because, a.) I had no fixed address and b.) they were knockoffs. It was exhausting for me, and I’m sure even more exhausting for my friend. I wanted the same ones though. In a last minute effort in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at the very last sunglass stall we passed, I bought a pair of Ray-Ban knockoffs. I wasn’t about to head to Bali without sunglasses. They’re a bit too wide for my head, but they did the job.
I never did find another pair just like my “Gucci’s” but if I ever make it back to Siem Reap, Cambodia, I assure you I will scour the markets for those sunglasses (And maybe by then, they’ll carry zebra striped sunglasses as well)!
Do you have an item you got attached to while traveling? Did you have to cut your losses and say good-bye?