WHEN heat is as intense as it's been over the past over the past few weeks, it concentrates mind and body on keeping cool.
It becomes a battle to keep the vegies and fruit trees alive and critical to check in on our elders and the vulnerable to ensure they’re well watered.
I ponder on where’s best to live to avoid extreme heat and cold in the future and what’s to be done to mitigate climate-change impacts and cut our greenhouse-gas emissions.
It seems trite, almost ludicrous then that I should turn to this week’s topic – women and men flying to Asia for facelifts, boob jobs, tummy tucks and to have fat sucked off their bodies.
Critic, be silenced, my inner voice screams as I sit and listen in amazement as nurse and botox queen Rhonda Martin tells me about the women ( to date no men have joined them) heading from Bendigo to Bangkok for cosmetic surgery.
Per head of population Bendigo has to have the most beauty parlours and hairdressers in Victoria, I reckon.
Something about fiddling while Rome burns comes to mind but, hey, I know about them ‘cos I go there.
Rhonda has led two trips of six women each so far – one in 2011 and one last year. Another is planned for March. It’s all over in seven to 10 days. And it all makes perfect sense when you think of the savings.
Rhonda, an enrolled nurse with a medication endorsement who rejuvenates skin, injects cosmetics (botox) and reduces hair with her intense pulse light machine that costs the equivalent of a fancy car, says breast augmentation (i.e. remove and replace with size-boosting silicone implants) costs $3900.
Add a return airfare of $800, accommodation in a fancy hotel for a week of about $400 and it’s still cheaper than the $9000-$15,000 Australian version.
And that’s without the Bangkok shopping and $5 cocktails. Speaking through her "Hollywood white" composite veneers "just like Oprah’s", Rhonda tells me she turned to retailing beauty when her sons went to uni leaving her in the nondescript ’burbs with a big house of many rooms.
She set up shop and opened with three customers. Eight years on, she has "a couple of thousand" clients and says business is lucrative.
Life’s great parade rolls through her doors… females of 30 wanting a Botox-induced, line-filling freshen up for their wedding day.
Mothers of brides. Men in real estate. Car dealers. Farmers wanting their hairy ears de-haired and their wrinkles filled out. Vanity escapes no man or woman.
Rhonda says she’s getting quite a few metrosexual men in."They’re not homosexuals, they just like to look nice. They’ll have waxing."
On Botox injecting days, she is flat out with back-to-back appointments. She can do 30 in a 9am to 7pm day.
Of course, there are those afflicted more than most by nature’s quirks – young girls so hairy-legged they’ve never worn skirts much less kissed a boy, a woman whose social life sank amid a river of broken facial capillaries. Others scarred severely from accidents and acne.
And the Bangkok jaunters?
They include a child-support agency worker, a real estate agent, a canteen worker, a student liaison officer, a company director.
There’s even one from an environmental company. Taking a break from climate change worries, possibly.