"You scare the men away!" a seemingly-sweet Thai woman snaps at me out of nowhere.
Her nose is screwed up, her lip upturned and her head shaking.
I don't speak Thai but I recognise a hardcore sneer when I see one.
My heart sinks trying to translate whether she disapproves, or is plain disgusted by me.
With my left palm resting gently in hers, she bends my index finger back and stares intently, deciphering my life's destiny from the tiny crevasses of my hand.
I hardly expected to have the secrets of my future revealed on a visit to a Bangkok jewellery store.
Then again, I hardly expected to find myself in a Bangkok jewellery store.
But, having been bundled in by a tuk tuk driver whose English vocabulary seemed to stretch only as far as "go, look", my sister and I decide to roll with the punches - mainly because there is no other way to roll here.
On our first morning in Bangkok, we set out haphazard, sans map and without any plans, along the backpacker hub of Khao San Road.
Within seconds, we were swarmed by locals.
Within minutes, we were lost.
A pair of women, fascinated by my sister's pale skin, suggested some temples for us to visit - and helped us cross a major road, thank goodness - before hailing us a "government tuk tuk... much cheaper".
As promised, we were taken to countless Buddha statues and temples - standing Buddha, sitting Buddha, reclining Buddha, big Buddha, small Buddha, Buddhas here, there and everywhere.
But in between Buddhas, the driver would stop at a store and force us to look inside, supposedly a requirement for them to get free fuel from the government, or so we were told (we had been warned about this by friends and numerous travel guides).
While browsing glass cabinets of glistening jewels, we were befriended by the store attendants, Jean and Roy, who, like everyone else in Bangkok, were attracted to my sister's skin colour.
My sister, said Jean, would find love very soon.
Looking at her alabaster hand, she explained my little sister had many admirers and would marry a very wealthy man.
Keen for some similarly inspiring forecasts, I slapped my nobby, olive hand on the counter: "What about me?"
And that's when the persistently smiling and graceful woman turned.
Apparently, my independent personality has been scaring men off.
I need to be sweeter and "smiling, not so strong".
Also, the gaps between my bony fingers, means money is slipping through my hands and I need to stop spending.
I decide to act on this piece of advice immediately by leaving the store.
Setting out on foot, because yet another driver has disappeared on us, we walk through the city's tangled streets, along footpaths crowded with market stalls and vendors beckoning us in a bid to sell their wares.
Others are hunched over mobile rocks, frying up fresh pad thai, filling the thick, humid air with the smell of sizzling noodles.
A man begins walking alongside us, curious as to where we are from.
"Australia?" he asks, looking puzzled.
"Ah, Kangaroo!" he beams, before hopping around the street giving an impersonation that would make Skippy proud.
As we walk and talk with him, learning why white skin is so revered here - it means you work indoors, and therefore, are wealthy - kangaroo man leads us to a travel agency which we have already been led to three times, by three different people (I wish I was exaggerating).
The constant attention and need to decipher who is genuinely interested in meeting you and who is trying to make some money out of you - combined with the draining heat - becomes unbearably exhausting.
But we decide to drag ourselves into one more temple, much smaller and without a hint of the glamour of every other Wat we had visited.
There is just one man inside and he immediately introduces himself to us.
He explains that this particular temple is very special, opened to the public for only one day, every seven years.
He and his wife had driven eight hours from Chiang Mai, about 700km north of Bangkok, just for the chance to meditate and pray there.
We exchange names, trying for about five minutes to pronounce his name, while he stumbles upon ours (at the end, he politely smiled and gave up, as did we).
Thrilled to find it is our first day in his country, our new friend gives us a grand tour of the temple, teaches us some basic Thai words and shows us how to pray to Buddha - on bended knees, tuck your feet behind your bottom, place your hands on the floor in front and gently bow your head three times.
We also get a lesson in meditation, a daily ritual our friend says is responsible for his health, happiness and deceivingly youthful looks.
He instructs us to cross our legs, close our eyes and breathe deeply, clearing our minds.
"Make it zero," he whispers.
As his soothing words echo through my mind, melting away the heat, noise and exhaustion of the day, I think of how lucky I've been, to arrive at this temple on this day and meet this man whose name I can't pronounce or spell, but whose kindness I will never forget.
And I wonder whether my memories of Bangkok and its people would have been as cherished or vivid, had I set out with a map and a plan.