Modest is Hottest!

How about a picture monologue of the time I got rejected by the ancient temples at Angkor Wat?

Back story: I had heard that in Thailand, people are not allowed to enter the temples wearing shorts or tank tops, but in Cambodia temples are comparably pretty lax. We went to the Angkor Wat temple complex today as part of our mid-trip retreat, and I wore a skirt and tank but brought a scarf to cover my shoulders just in case. As we approached the entrance, one-by-one the girls in our group were turned away because of our attire. We were wearing the following items: a floor-length sleeveless dress with a scarf, a fully sleeved knee-length dress, a t-shirt and shorts, and me in the skirt and tank, but my upper body was totally covered in a giant sarong scarf.

#hussies ‎#modestishottest ‎#cambodia2013
#hussies #modestishottest                                                                                                  Photo by Tara

There was a sign at the entrance of the temple that X’d out a drawing of almost every article of female clothing, and even had an X over scarves. What?! The internet lied to me about what would be acceptable at the temple, but I had this magical scarf in my bag which had saved my life on several occasions in the past. I had previously converted the scarf into a shirt, dress, skirt, head covering, and full-body cover-up from my neck to ankles. So after my first rejection, I thought I’d give it another more creative try (or two) (or three).

I wrapped the scarf over my shoulders, tied the ends at my wrists, tucked all the fabric into my high-wasted skirt for good measure, and set off for the entrance.

That’s it guys. Don’t try to stop me. I’M GOING IN.
Hm. But what if they recognize me? Maybe I should cover the whole tank. Yes. I’ll pull it together in front and cinch it in the middle.
(Earnestly walking toward the Entrance of Shame)
Bites fingernails in anticipation. Other women wait from behind the rope with hopes of a better future for the shoulders of their children.
…and denied. Fine. Fine, you entrance blockers. But you haven’t seen the last of me.
*Pulls scarf around 110-degree body to guard against the chill of rejection*
Hey guys. Bad news. They didn’t let me in. But check out that shirtless dude behind me.
Wait. I know! Let’s get mummified.
Intern Anna focuses intently on covering any piece of exposed flesh
Go. Go with the strength of a thousand shoulders before you, and carry with you the hopes of a thousand shoulders left behind…
Hold on. Are you guys sure about this? What if I trip on the temple steps and can’t catch myself?! You’re right. We NEED this. Wish me luck. Third time’s a charm…
…and denied.   *Hangs head*
Like I really wanted to see some dumb ancient ruins anyway. Spoiler alert: THEY’RE RUINED!
…and then they made me get out of line, so we wrapped me in a cocoon but I was afraid I was going to fall, and THEN the guy said Lady, you don’t understand! No scarf for shirt! but I went through anyway, and then

This photo sequence was brought to you by the rejected women of World Next Door.


In Which My Scarf Saves My Life (logistically)


Here are all the life-saving uses for my scarf, which I stuffed into my suitcase at the last second:

  • As a head covering when it starts to pour
  • As a light jacket when it turns instantly cold at 6p
  • As a pillow when I ball it up and take a bus nap
  • As sunscreen when I wrap it around my peeling neck
  • As a tie to secure my laundry bag to my messenger bag so I don’t leave my laundry in the taxi (again)
  • As a blanket when I’m cold at night
  • As a seat covering when the chair is wet or muddy
  • To carry my baby. No, wait. That’s not me. But if I had one, I could totally carry it hands-free!
  • As a head wrap when I’m on my 4th day of unwashed hair. What? Bucket bathing and/or ice cold showering  is kind of tricky when your hair is a curly mess.
  • As a purse when I tie it up and carry it over my shoulder
  • As a lens case when I wrap it around an un-cased lens in the fanny pack. Did I just say fanny pack? I meant my rugged Eddie Bauer hip bag.
  • As a microfiber cloth (it’s not) to clean any laptop screen, glasses, sunglass, lens, phone or ipad
  • As a fancy accessory when I’m wearing my blue shirt for the third time.

And so me and my scarf have triumphed over the conservative packer that tried to talk me out of these types of indulgences. Ladies, if you travel, bring your scarf- it’s magical!