Sunday, January 20, 2008

Practical Points Part 1

Whenever I travel, I try to keep track of things I’m glad I did to prepare and things I wished I’d done. Through the years and the miles, the lists have come in handy. I still overpack but not nearly what I used to. So for my future (and perhaps others who may feel a tug toward this work) benefit, I will add to this list as my time here passes. So far . . .

 The choice of the more expensive malaria tablets that have fewer to no side effects was a good one. I have only a bit of physical trouble when traveling but it takes a few days for my system to adapt. Plus while there’s no sounds of the city to contend with, nature has its own sound effects so sleep isn’t always guaranteed. Good call making the choice that doesn't include strange dreams.
 I should have gotten the yellow fever and typhoid shot earlier. I tried to schedule in December but with the holidays wound up with a first week in January date and then the vaccine didn’t come in as planned. Waiting for a month after I knew I was coming was silly.
 Packing is always challenging. I like the sense that without control of much in my life when I’m in another country, surrounded by another language, without means to get from one place to the next except for my feet and limited to contact with my normal world, that I can at least wear clothes that make me feel "normal". However, hauling bags is absolutely ridiculous. So I did better but not my best. For another six week gig, I’d bring two skirts and five blouses that I can mix and match and layer. That and a pair of jeans and one pair of slacks would be plenty. The culture is too conservative so the shorts I brought will only be worn at home. And had I really thought about the heat, I’d have left heels at home and just put in my sandals and flip flops along with my hiking boots.
 I do like that I brought a towel and hand cloth that I got for backpacking trips. They are light and don’t take up any space. Plus they dry easier than thick towels which when washed here would have been stiff!
 On a funny note, I didn’t bring my perfume because it’s in a glass container. I figured I would just give up having a scent while in Africa. No so! I happen to pick up tropical scent bug spray and I’ve found that as I spritz that on each day, I’m kinda glad I do have my own smell! I’m thinking it’s a pina colada thing I’ve got going on!
 I always carry a supply of all the different over the counter drugs I’d need for stomach problems, colds and especially aches and pains. The Tylenol P.M. has worked wonders as well.
 I may have to use the ear plugs I always bring. There are a few birds who delight in banging up against my window as soon as the sun rises.
 I didn’t need to bring some of the comfort foods I brought because there are several products here that are very familiar. I can get all the Pringles I want. Chocolate is big but I don’t know if it’s like ours. I’m going to check to see if hair spray is available.
 Packing with the intent to give away several items that I brought with me was a good move as well. I’ve already handed over a dress and jacket that I knew was never really truly my style and I’m leaving my travel Scrabble behind since they no longer have one here. Oh! And I’m really, really glad I brought the games and the DVDs. In fact, I wish I’d brought more.

As my time here allows for a few more adventures, I’m sure I’ll add to the list but so far those are my travel observations.

No comments: