Monday, October 19, 2009

part 1 - i packed my bags pre-flight

I don't know how long this is going to take to get through, but you can ignore until I get to the part that interests you. My source material for these entries are my own wonky memory and Mr. Bump's meticulous journalling of the trip. Some of his entries lack my own flair for language, but they're spot on for recollecting the events. And I contributed to a lot of the content when he would ask "So after that we...?"

Before I get to the trip itself, a note about luggage. I wanted to include this because I found other people's lists of what to take/what they took to be very helpful. We had specific requirements for luggage, and what I have learned with every successive trip I have taken is that what is enough is less than you think.

We had to take soft sided luggage, and our total weight restriction on some of the smaller planes was 20 kg, or around 44 pounds. I took a soft-sided rolling duffel bag made by CalPak (can't find it any more), which met the criteria for carry-on (less than 45 linear inches), was filled with the following:
  • 1 pair Merrell hiking shoes
  • 1 pair flats from Patagonia
  • 1 pair flip flops
  • 1 bag assorted chargers and adapters for electronic devices (Mr. Bump had an outlet extender which was a godsend--allowed us to charge everything off one outlet, which was often all we had)
  • 1 toiletry bag of non-liquids
  • 3 books for Paris (french phrase book, Paris Top 10, and Clotide's Edible Adventures in Paris)
  • 2 pairs pants
  • 2 skirts
  • 1 dress
  • 3 tank tops
  • 3 short sleeve t-shirts from Gap Body. These were great--thin enough to dry quickly, stretchy enough they didn't wrinkle.
  • one long sleeve t-shirt also Gap Body (I actually took two, wore one on the plane and packed one)
  • 2 long sleeved button up shirts
  • underthings for 4 days
  • pajamas
  • 3 pairs socks
  • first aid kit including antibiotics, pain relievers, bandaids, polysporin, motion sickness meds, bug repellent, benadryl, immodium, pepto. We used some of almost all of these except (thankfully) the antibiotics and the polysporin.
  • 1 hat
  • swimsuit (used this only once, should have left it home, probably)
  • 1 bandana (not sure exactly what I thought I'd use this for, but I never did)
  • several plastic bags, and two large compression bags which I packed almost all of my clothes in (these worked less well in the "compression" department as time went on, but they were still useful for quarantining dirty clothes, etc.)
  • spare atm card and credit card, euros, copy of passport and important numbers in case anything was stolen
  • Laundry sheets - I used a whole packet of these. They were really useful and very small to travel with (also not liquid), but you have to be careful and have dry hands or they all melt together in a big mess. Also they don't really suds up and it's hard to tell if you've used enough and/or if you've got them completely rinsed out. But I highly recommend.
I also took a backpack as my "personal item" which contained the following:
  • laptop
  • cell phone
  • ipod touch
  • bag of 3-1-1 toiletries
  • pen and notebook
  • auxiliary charger
  • 1 book
  • shawl/wrap
  • jacket
  • handiwipes and hand sanitizer (I'm crediting this for keeping us from catching anything on this trip)
  • snacks (chocolates, granola bars, m&ms)
  • sunglasses
  • nalgene bottle (this is really useful because you can dump before security and refill after almost everywhere, and they never give you enough water on planes)
  • 1 book crossword puzzles (never used this)
  • travel documents
  • camera, extra memory card and extra battery and charger for camera
  • earplugs
  • wallet 1 credit card and atm card
  • LED flashlight
The only thing I wish I might have taken that I didn't was a rain jacket. It would have come in handy in Paris but we wouldn't have probably used it until then (maybe on Table Mountain), and I chucked it out of my bag at the last minute. But I'd say that's pretty good.
Whew. That's it, I think. Mr. Bump took a few of these things, but we didn't have much overlap. Part of our dilemma is we needed to dress for safari where we'd go from chilly at dawn to blazing hot in the middle of the day, then Cape Town where we'd be in spring but near the water, and then Paris in the fall, when it rains almost every day. We managed fine but I might take a warmer jacket next time. The one I took was a Nike zip up one, but it was a little thin.

Anyway, this was the content of my bags. It's the night before our trip. All this is packed up and waiting by the front door. The granola bars and apricot scones I made for breakfast the next morning are cooling on the counter. Ruby is already safely ensconced with my mother-in-law. All is ready. Who wants to place bets on whether or not I got any sleep?

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