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Backpacking with a Belly in Indonesia

Poodle meets Great Dane...

Poodle meets Great Dane...This reaction to weight is all part of the adventure, though, and for some reason it sticks in my mind like a corny joke and much more than any sunset, pristine beach, or multi-layered rice field. For me, travel is all about meeting people and sharing their jokes, even if I am the cause of them. The cramped condition of local transport takes on a new slant when I travel by myself. It presents hopeful boys--they never seem to be old or big enough to be called men--an opportunity to practice their English and, well, to see if they can get lucky.

Take, for example, my experience in the small, idyllic islands west of Bali, where the gigolo industry is firmly in place and hopeful young men trawl the beaches looking for Western women. Preparing to leave one of those islands on a local boat, I charter a taxi to the wharf. We've gone only a few hundred yards when the car stops to pick up a host of "cousins" who pile in to chat up the Westerner. Sitting between two boys who claim 25 years each (and whose legs are half mine in length and width), I wonder what I've gotten myself into. "Do you have a boyfriend?" one asks. 

"Yes, I do. He is very tall," my hands stretch above my head, "and very strong," hands stretched wide, extending my shoulders. 

"Well, you could get an Indonesian boyfriend." 

"Why?" 

"Well, we might be small, but we are strong and hot like chili." I have a new respect for that boy. He would have to have a strong imagination indeed to be able to picture us together. Poodle meets Great Dane.

 


Big is beautiful...

Tongans and Samoans are famous for their enthusiasm towards large women. "Gordita" is a term of affection in Mexico and throughout the Latin world. In India, women proudly display their stomach rolls. And Western doctors are pitied in Africa for their skinny European wives. Only in the West do we find starvation attractive.

Pablo Neruda once described the sensuous legs of a Brazilian girl "whose ripeness begs to be nibbled by the eyes." A small meal indeed, if she were classic Kate Moss.

Ed. note: This story was originally published in Passionfruit: A Women's Travel Journal.  To read more about this female-friendly, travel-friendly publication, please click here.


Lovely Ladies of Size...

Some statistics to consider:

"Fat people are no longer trapped in the polyester double-knit prison that suffocated us for so long, thanks to an incredible boom in the market for fat fashion. The large-size clothing market for women has grown from $2 billion in the eighties to more than $10 billion in the nineties. Back in 1978, there were just 100 makers of clothing for fat women. Now there are more than 1,200 companies that cater to us. Forty percent of American women wear a size 14 or larger. All of this means that fashion designers are looking at women of size with new respect--for our money, and, increasingly for our beauty." 
(Source--Marilyn Wann, Author of Fat!So? Because You Don't Have to Apologize for Your Size.)

Ed. note: While there are many shops in North America that sell larger sizes, we'd love to locate other interesting plus-sized shopping 'round the world. Please click here to send us your tips. 


Fat positive and flab...ulous book...

Fat! So?

Based on the popular underground 'zine of the same name, FAT!SO?, published by Ten Speed Press tackles the last great American taboo--fat. This book is ripe with sassy quotes, eye-opening facts, hilarious comebacks, essays, quizzes, statistics, and a ton of fantastic ways to celebrate the joy of being fat. The author Marilyn Wann is a fat-proud activist with a penchant for stirring up controversy and changing the way people think and feel about fat. Always a strong advocate for staying fit, Marilyn also promotes healthy eating and exercise over just plain eating.

More hostelling and packpacking goodies to enjoy

 

 

 

 

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