I may have mentioned at some point that Mr French and I are very busy packing, eager to be away on holiday. After the beach we are headed to more sand, this time along the banks of the Boro river and in the heart of the Kalahari desert in Botswana, Africa. Which kind of explains why we wear so distressed about his missing passport. Mr French loves the desert and I have been wanting to visit the kalahari ever since reading the Cry of the Kalahari while trekking through East Africa 19 years ago.
One of the rules about traveling in southern Africa is that you don’t wear black, or dark blue. Unlike Paris fashion rules, this is a rule to follow, unless you’re dreaming of being a princess à la Sleeping Beauty. Tse tse flies are drawn to these colors like bees to a honey pot. Bees sting. Tse tse flies painfully chomp out bits of flesh and carry the sleeping sickness. White colors attract seem to disturb wild life, as well. To say that I was fairly motivated to avoid any problems would have to be the understatement of the century. The last time I ignored the African fashion codes, I had to be medi-vaced to Nairobi where I spent a week fairly unconscious in the Aga Khan hospital before being air lifted back to Europe. I set to packing.
Turns out my closet reveals a disconcerting lack of imagination and what may be an over attachment to the dictums of fashion. Tanks tops, t-shirts, sweaters, and cotton pants; I need them all for this trip and in my closet they are ALL black, dark blue or white. Not a bit of red in the bunch, forget about a nice neutral like khaki. The only bit of color that I seem to own is limited to some brightly colored tops which would be completely in appropriate for the bush. I needed to do some shopping, preferably some very cheap, sensible shopping. I head to Decathalon, where polar fleeces are 9€ and cheap T-shirts come in packs of three. I am almost ready to go…
On the packing list the travel agent suggests on formal outfit, but I won’t be taking off my protective gear, so what to do? I remember my poncho from the Poncho Gallery. The Poncho Gallery was founded by a pair of Parisienne sisters who developed a serious crush on ponchos and wanted to bring them back into fashion. Their Carré is avaiable in a wide range of colors, including a lovely multi-tomed beige/tan! A simple square of the most luxurious cashmere, the Carré falls in elegant folds once slipped over the head, and it is sure to hide the grungiest safari wear. I head directly to the shop, where there is a soldes and after fifteen minutes I find a dress enough solution that I’ll be able to wear in Paris, something elegant, that will protect me from Mma Nature. I am ready to go.
Poncho Gallery / 11 rue de la sourdière Paris 1e / 01 40 20 99 40 / (M) Tuileries