Saturday, April 08, 2006

Sleeves for Sale

There's a unique fashion accessory I've noticed that's popular with the motorcycle and tricycle drivers here in the Philippines. They are thin, skin-tight sleeves, usually black with different designs on, that run from the upper arm down to the wrist. They don't seem to fit in well with the bright sunshine and severe heat of the summer here (of course, 99% of the population wears long pants all summer long), but they are interesting enough for me to want to check them out. I've pointed them out several times to the guys during our car trips to the ABP House, but nobody seems to know where one would buy a pair or for how much.

So today, I came across a guy wearing a bright blue pair outside of the SM Supermarket and asked him where he had bought them. He said you can usually get them from one of the many walking vendor guys along the EDSA Highway or Ayala Avenue and for about 70 to 100 pesos a pair (so about $1.75 USD). Being about 4 blocks from Ayala, I walked over and across to where elevated the pedestrian walkway starts. Sure enough, there was a man with about 20 different kinds on a hanger, along with some other hats and bandanas. I looked through his supply and picked out a black pair with a yellow and red scorpians on them. He was asking 70 pesos per pair, so I paid, thanked him and headed for home.

Once inside, I Googled multiple terms to try and find out how they originated, what they were originally designed for, and if people used them elsewhere in the world. As it turns out, they are actually great for hot weather activity since their design allows perpspiration to be wicked away from the skin surface and evaporated into the air, causing a cooling sensation. Several high-end pro-bike racing websites were selling them (I can see how they would be great for cyclist and motorcycle drivers, since the faster you go, the cooler your arms will feel). They were also touted for their ability to protect against UV radiation from the sun.

These brand name designs were selling for $28.00. I went back and bought another pair.

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