Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ethiopia Roundup: How'd the Pack List Turn Out?

10 most useful things I packed:
  1. Flashlight
  2. Wide-brimmed hat - the Ethiopian sun is brutal, and shade is sometimes scarce; sunglasses alone were not sufficient for protection from light for vision, not to mention skin protection.
  3. Anti-diarrhea medicine -- should have taken even more. I was able to buy Cipro in Ethiopia, but not Imodium or similar. 
  4. Camera
  5. Two, one-cup size Rubbermaid "take-along" cups with screwtop lids, which I used for brushing my teeth every day or drinking coffee on a bus. 
  6. Universal plug (and a largish prescription bottle filled with powdered laundry detergent)
  7. Wristwatch with alarm - for those early buses. Inexpensive and alarm only sounded for 20 seconds, but it did the trick.  
  8. Flash drive for uploading photos onto same; because I had this and used it, I still had half of my trip photos when my camera was stolen. (But I'd also uploaded the same onto Facebook, so that was another safeguard.)  
  9. Paperback books that I released to the wild along the way
  10. Pacsafe money belt with plastic buckle (I also wore an Eagle Creek hidden pocket, which is very good) -- the belt was so ordinary, casual, and comfortable - loved it; fit many bills; and it was very inexpensive.

    Things I most wish I'd brought:
    • Immersion coil or mini kettle for coffee or oatmeal in my room in the morning. I looked, but never saw one in Ethiopia. (There were kettles, but too large.)
    • Scarf or bandana to protect mouth and nose from the cursed dust on Ethiopian side streets (and sometimes main streets); I did finally buy one in Ethiopia, but it would have been so much more convenient to have brought one with me. 
    • A serious exfoliater for my feet, such as a pumice stone, specifically for my heels. I looked for this in Ethiopia; could not find anywhere.

    Things I'm glad I brought, though not essential:
    • MP3 player plus mini speaker - this plus the voice recorder provided sustenance when the electricity went out in hotels, a not-infrequent occurrence in Ethiopia
    • Voice recorder onto which I'd loaded inspirational podcasts
    • Single-serve powdered drink "straws," e.g. Crystal Light; wish I'd brought more, especially since I gave some out to curious wait staff along the way.

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