Travel Talk

Published on May 14th, 2013 | by Ann Rickard


Sizing up the tourist

San Lorenzo leather markets – Florence

Any female tourist who is above average height and weight will have trouble buying clothes or shoes in much of Asia. It’s all about the ‘petite’ word there.

I am what women’s magazines euphemistically (but futilely) call ‘plus size’ so I don’t even bother browsing in Asia.

Even the one-size-fits-all t-shirts at the markets laugh at my bulk if I dare try them on. Europe is more big-lady-friendly, although I think France and Italy have yet to catch on enthusiastically to the ‘plus size’ notion.

I still cringe at the time in Florence at its San Lorenzo leather markets where stall after stall contained genuine leather (almost assuredly fake) jackets in luscious colours: fairy-floss pink, iceberg white and pastel blue.

San Lorenzo leather markets – Hand bags

One stall owner, desperate to make a sale after I showed interest in a mauve number, assured me he could fit me even though I guaranteed him he could not.

After rummaging through every jacket on his stall, he dived into a pile of boxes behind him and surfaced triumphantly with an XL size, waving it victoriously at me and insisting on helping me try it on.

He got me into it all right; he even got the edges of the front zip up past my womanly bosom.

We attracted stares. He looked like a hospital orderly trying to get a patient into a strait-jacket.

While I stood gasping for breath, he kept bravely trying to get the zip fully done up, all the while telling me it was a perfect fit.

Just as I was about to fall over from lack of air, he reluctantly admitted defeat and quickly pulled the zip down. It was like letting the ends go on a couple of overblown balloons.

While my boobs leapt out for air and my waistline collapsed to its comfortable sag, we grudgingly agreed that on this beautiful summer morning in Florence, we would have to part company without money or genuine fake leather exchanging hands.

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About the Author

is a Noosa (Australia) local and author of six successful books, all humorous travel narratives. In 2005 Ann won the prestigious ASTW’s Australian Travel Writer of the Year and in 2007 she won the ASTW Travel Book of the Year. Ann takes a culinary tour to the South of France in June every year . Ann writes travel, dining and columns for the Sunshine Coast Daily and is the Life editor of the Noosa News. Ann also maintains a well read and popular blog site. Ann’s travels have seen her explore cuisines all over the world.

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