Monday, May 15, 2006

At the Airport

A rare Sunday blog entry—I’m at the gate as I type, and don’t know when I’ll be online again. I just spoke to my father on the phone, and he asked me if I thought I had everything I need. I said I thought so, but that if I didn’t, there wouldn’t have been room for it anyway. I packed densely, but not lightly. Everything fit in a small internal frame pack that doubles as a duffel bag, and a smaller day-pack. Which is good news, except that each weighs about 30 pounds. Luckily, a lot of it is made up of some pretty impractical gifts I’ve brought for ex-pats I’m going to impose upon along the way. Gifts include a bottle of champagne, four pounds of lentils (seriously; apparently these are hard to find in Japan), two pounds of coffee beans, and a ceramic jug of maple syrup.

The next time I travel, everyone’s getting gift certificates.

Interestingly, everyone keeps asking me what I’m packing. I find this odd, since I think I’ve pretty clearly demonstrated a complete obliviousness to what constitutes normal clothing choices. Whenever I am in Europe, for example, I am invariably addressed first in German, no matter what country I’m actually in. I’d like to think it’s my blue eyes and pink cheeks. But I know it isn’t. I know it’s my choice in footwear.

So asking me for packing advice is a little bit like asking a guy sleeping in a doorway wearing three hats what vintage you should take to a dinner party. But since people seem to want to know:

  • 2 pairs of long pants
  • 1 pair of ez-wash shorts
  • 5 solid-colored t-shirts
  • 1 workout t-shirt
  • 1 button-down short-sleeved shirt
  • 1 sweatshirt
  • 10 pairs of socks, assorted black and white
  • 1 bathing suit
  • pjs
  • gym shorts
  • sneakers
  • casual walking shoes
  • Tevas
  • 10 pairs unmentionables
  • Laptop
  • camera
  • cellphone
  • chargers
  • cables
  • 6 months worth of backlogged magazines
  • 4 guidebooks (2 Trans-Siberian, 1 Shanghai, one Japan)
  • The Kite Runner
  • An absurd amount of toiletries (six week’s worth) so I am not reduced to having to buy Darkie toothpaste while I’m away.
  • Also a jar of Woolite
  • Assorted other gifts and trinkets, which I will be glad to be rid of. Sometimes giving really does feel good.


Anonymous said...

Nicole, Grandma wishes you Bon Voyage. I do not know how to say it in Chinese or Japanese. My Dashboard only gives native script. And I haven't found a way to copy and paste it. But thank you for allowing me to go along through your blog,and hope to be seeing you in California soon after your return.

We talked to Don last night soon after you had called him so we knew you were on your way, or waiting for liftoff.

Anonymous said...

Very pretty design! Keep up the good work. Thanks.