Three GUTs and the Safe Sex Diner
Updated: Apr 23, 2020
I woke up feeling excited. The next few months are going to be different. How will Tim cope? Ah, he is so easy going, I am sure he will be fine. And Tim is such a trooper, that at 9 am he left to get a taxi to get to the airport. He was meeting my sister, Jac.
My sister Jac decided to come out and join us for a couple of months. Hurrah! Not only was I excited to see her, but ecstatic that she’s a picture of health. She has struggled with depression for a couple of years. Thankfully, after a lot of perseverance, she found the right people to help her and has dramatically improved both in mind, body and spirit. We are all thrilled.
Her husband, Simon, is also a trooper. Having travelled the world with his work, he encouraged Jac to join us, saying that it’s her time now to see more of the world.
There was a ring on the bell, and there she stood with a massive grin on her face. The rest of the day, we talked and talked and talked. So Grown Up Travellers now become three!
The next day, we were supposed to be flying to Vietnam, but because of my operation, we've delayed this until Sunday. The airline has such a ridiculous policy; their penalty fee makes the reschedule cost more than not taking the trip and booking another one! And trying to get a refund is such a faff!
Our next full day together we couldn’t extend our Airbnb as it was fully booked, so packed up and travelled to another apartment, arriving too early to check-in. Next door was the Cabbage and Condom Restaurant, which I had read about, so we spent a few hours there instead.
This social enterprise restaurant was set up by Mechai Viravaidya, affectionately known as “Mr Condom” to generate income for the Population and Community Development Association (PDA) which he founded in 1974. This non-governmental organisation in Thailand has a mission to reduce poverty through a people-centred approach, addressing a multitude of issues including family planning programs. Since he founded PDA, the average number of children in families here has decreased from 7 to 1.5.
The restaurant got its weird name of Cabbage and Condoms as Mechai wanted birth control to be as widely accessible and ordinary as cabbages. But the décor of this restaurant is far from ordinary. Apart from posters promoting safe sex and designs of condoms for all manner of people, there were beautiful lamps and flowers made from condoms and many mannequins with outfits created from layers of different coloured protective latex and contraceptive pills! What a hilarious way to give a very serious message. Even on our menu, it read that “Our Food is guaranteed not to cause pregnancy”.
Impressively, this restaurant supports several initiatives. We read that any donation made was matched by the restaurant to give swimming and lifesaving lessons to children, as 80% of kids in Northeast Thailand cannot swim, four drowning each day, making it the highest cause of child fatality.
Often these gimmicky restaurants don’t offer particularly appetising cuisine, but we were pleased to taste delicious and varied food here, luckily not too spicy for my delicate stomach and an excellent introduction to Thai food for Jac.
Instead of receiving a mint after our meal, we were given a condom! You never know when these may come in handy, perhaps as a water carrier, a phone or foot protector or even a glove!
It was time to get into our Airbnb. We had to wait in the foyer for a while where Tim gave a good impression of Dr Blofeld, one of the villains from James Bond. Later in the evening, after relaxing, chatting, played cards, Jac sent photos to her family of our day, including the mannequins, condoms and Tim in his swivel chair.
This caused us to have fits of giggles. My stitches were in stitches - the pain! Whenever I am with my sisters, we end up in hysterics of laughter, and this evening was no exception. I wonder if you can guess why! Let’s just say that Dr Blofeld’s name got skewed. I know, how childish!
It is so lovely to have Jac with us and makes me want to burst out in song:
“Sisters, sisters, There were never such devoted sisters, Never had to have a chaperone, no sir, I'm there to keep my eye on her” ...
We just wish our sister Dawn was also out here with us.