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Please tell me those are not your travel pants

Travel pants. Some of us need them, and some of us don't.

Even amongst those of us who need travel pants (because I am one of them) there are varying degrees of extremity. There are those who consider leggings to be excellent travel pants, possibly because they have no insecurities or maybe they have just transcended their insecurities with lots of cellulite-drop-kicking yoga. Others go with the baggy camo capris that have all those nifty little toggles and ties. Or, perhaps, you prefer the classic zip off pants, like myself. But never have I heard someone say, "Why yes, these brilliantly white pants are in fact my favorite travel pants."

I spotted her on my way home from the hospital today. After walking through the ever tempting array of street food around the hospital I came to the touristy, old town center. I stopped at a stop light. The guy selling holographic pictures of horses running through fields of green was yelling across the street to his fellow street vendor, the bubble machine guy. An older lady on my right, dressed like someone from the chakras in her wool and hat, was waving her hand through the bubbles in the air and smiling a gap-toothed grin. Then, I glanced to my left, and saw something so unexpected that time seemed to stop... Bubbles froze in the air, Spanish and the sound of taxis speeding over cobblestones came at me as if from a distance, the smell of fresh baked bread and those pants.

Those brilliantly white pants.

To tell the truth, her whole outfit was white, which perhaps explains why my first impulse was judgement. Sarcastically in my mind I said to her, "Lady, has anyone ever told you that white is not a good travel color?" But, my next impulse was awe. I realized that my judgement was coming from a place of what we can call "missionary style" insecurity. My version of a fashion statement is to take a break from scrubs, sweat pants, and pjs and throw on some jeans and a T-shirt. And, let's not forget that I rock a lot of headbands, because let's face it, shampoo is expensive in South America.

I hesitate to call this woman "middle aged" because I didn't get a very good look at her (being too distracted by the pure bleached whiteness of her attire), but she looked old enough to know better than to travel in all white. I mean, pre-adolescents can get away with it, but once you have ahem become a woman, you learn to respect the whites and you don't come near them without careful calculation. Or there is my other problem, I like to sit down. Pure white and the pigeon covered benches in Arequipa's plaza de Armas are not exactly a good combination, you hear me? Plus, I am a sloppy eater. Pizza and red wine can do a lot of damage to your favorite white skirt. Thus, the awe. I mean, how does she do it?

Here is my letter to the woman in the white pants (something like a South American fashion missed connection. Do they even have craigslist "missed connections" down here? I'm afraid to google them.)

Dear woman in the white pants.

Today I saw you standing by a stop light on Avenida Mercederes. You were wearing white pants, and a white tank top. The sun was very hot, and my California soul felt a deep throb of envy over your comfort and your tan. How do you do it? Please, teach me your travel/fashion ways. Do you carry a newspaper or magazine with you to sit on wherever you go? Have you already gone through "the change" and do you no longer fear the monthly wrath of Mother Nature? Did you go to travel goddess school? Are you Mary Poppins?

Maybe you could pull a "what not to wear" episode on me and make me throw away all my scrubs and zip off pants. Or maybe you would tell me that those are not your travel pants, that it was all an accident, and that you like my headband.

Have a great day lady. Keep on rockin the whites.


PS. They don't have missed connection ads in Arequipa. South America just clocked a few extra points in the dating realm.


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