Convertible Skirt in Southeast Asia
Wow! Wish I had discovered the Macabi 3 years ago for my first trip to Nepal! When I started planning another trip to Asia (this time Thailand, Bhutan, India and Laos), I decided to sew the perfect trekking/travel skirt. I modeled it after the Tibetan-style chupa and made it out of a cotton/linen blend. I thought it was great until I realized the humidity would never let it dry when I needed to wash! (I live in Wyoming; we don't know what humidity is.) So at the last minute, I googled "trekking skirt" and discovered a pot of gold in the Macabi! The skirt was at my doorstep in just a couple of days and after trying it on, I immediately ordered a second.
During my 6 weeks in Asia, I wore the Macabi everyday except one. It went from the extreme heat and humidity of Bangkok (morphing into shorts or short skirt--no need for modesty in
that city!) all the way to the cultural depths of Bhutan, to the frigid, high Himalayas of India (wearing down pants underneath) to the villages of Laos. In Bangkok, to enter the Grand Palace or Emerald Buddha, I just had to unclip, unsnap and I instantly met the dress
code. In Bhutan, I was culturally respectful and
appropriate in a country that boasts a national dress code, where men and women both wear their traditional skirts. And in India, while trekking in Sikkim, I could easily layer up
with long underwear or down pants without exposing a thing!
I also found the skirt most useful for urinating on the side of trails so steep it was nearly impossible to step off to the side (and for being able to quickly "drop the veil" if a
monk happen to come around the corner mid-stream)!
I have never been a "skirt wearer" (just ask my mom) and was only introduced to the notion of hiking in a skirt when I first trekked in Nepal. I can't say enough about trekking
and traveling in long skirts. It's cool, comfortable, respectful, allows one to urinate cleanly (when indoors--no dropping your pants to the floor for those hole-in-the-ground toilets) and modestly (on trails, "bus stops" or anyplace with a bush--or lack thereof!).
I mostly wore the Macabi as a long skirt. But where heat was more of an issue than modesty (i.e. Bangkok), I found the "short skirt" configuration to be the coolest. I clipped into pants when bicycling in Laos, or hiking up steep inclines, or when the wind grew too violent. At cheap guesthouses that didn't provide towels (I only brought a washcloth), I used my extra skirt to dry my long hair.
The pockets are indispensable; they are so big and roomy, yet discrete. At an airport in India, I was afraid they would make me run my film through the scanner, so I "hid" 22 rolls of film in my pockets! They didn't notice until I went through the "wand search" and by then I was able to explain my situation. The zippered security pocket is, of course, a travel essential. And with the open pockets, probably because they are so deep, not once did I have anything fall out. The Macabi is truly a well-designed garment.
Prior to leaving for Asia, we all soaked one set of clothes in Permethrin (a horrible, but effective insect repellent for clothing) because of the malarial areas in Laos and India. The Permethrin soak did not effect the color,texture or condition of my Macabi skirt at all. (However, I don't know how successful it was at warding off mosquitos because I only ended up seeing less than a dozen!)
When I did laundry in the hotel sink, the Macabi was always the first to dry (the skirt body dries almost instantly, the waistband takes a little longer). I traveled with my dad, step-mom and brother and by the time we returned to the US, my dad and step-mom both ordered a Macabi!
Thank you for such a great USA-made product!!