Packing differently

Heading on a land tour  in Africa is a lot different than heading for a comfortable cruise on a ship.

In the second instance, you only have to deal with your luggage a few times: house to airport, airport to ship check-in, ship baggage hall to airport; airport to home. Wheels are good – in fact they are essential since there may just be the issue of rolling the bag from one location to another usually involving public transportation. But once you are settled in your cabin, you are done till departure.

Not so with the average land tour. Often it involves moving locations every night to two nights. Laundry can be hit or miss while opportunities to become filthy abound. Add in a requirement for duffle bags for ease of logistical movement and a stringent weight requirement and things start to get challenging.  Having said that – it took me 15 minutes this morning to throw everything into the OAT duffle and drop it near the front door. Then I went back and read the requirements list.

Not one to waste airfare, I scheduled a 4 day hike in the Kilimanjaro Foothills immediately prior to the OAT Safari around the Serengeti.  It hardly seemed smart to come so far and not get close enough to the mountain to take some decent pictures. The only pre-tour offered was 4 days at another game reserve in Kenya. Personally, I don’t want to be in Kenya right about now, even as a tourist and even so close to the Tanzanian border. Besides, hiking the foothills? The only thing that would be cooler would be to actually climb to the summit. Looking at it, I decided I just didn’t have enough time to do it gradually enough to avoid altitude illness. That and climbing in a group means that one always tries to keep up with a group regardless if it is wise or not.

It was around 1700 this afternoon when I read the packing list again and noticed the fine print. For the first four nights I need a sleeping bag. No sweat, we have several. However it just so happens that the light weight ones are in Berkeley and the one here is a heavy weight ex-Army bag. Not hauling that puppy with me. So off we went to the hike/climb store to cash in a store credit. End result is that I am now the owner of a light weight but warm bag that weighs only about a kilo, packs tiny (fitting into the duffle).

I checked bag weights – duffle is limited to 33# for the internal African connections. Mine weights 25 even with the sleeping bag and towel. My extra bag is full of children’s books to donate to a couple of schools….. and all the extra pens and pencils that I can find.

I should have internet tomorrow both in Frankfurt and Istanbul (plane change) and the guest house in Moshi has wifi in the public areas. Figure I am good till morning of the 6th. So I will post the route on Sunday, just to keep you coming back for the next round of insanity.

While I was stuffing the sleeping bag into the duffel I thought about the Bugblatter Beast. And added in a towel. I have enough RCI ones floating around that I can easily leave it behind.  And it just doesn’t pay to leave home without one’s very own towel.

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