Saturday, January 15, 2011

Traveling heavy

   In an earlier post I've waxed poetic about the joys of traveling light. It's an ideal that falls by the wayside when we head to Costa Rica for several months. For that, we travel heavy. The first few years we wintered in Costa Rica, we took along 4 large duffel bags and our carry-ons. Now that we have our little home there stocked with essentials including clothes, we are "only" taking one large duffel plus one carry-one each. And, oh yes, our "personal items" of a computer case and a so-called purse. We see many fellow travelers going for short trips that have bigger luggage and maybe a surf board. But our almost 50 pound (23 kilo) duffel is enough to nearly immobilize us in the airport since it's very difficult for us to carry all our bags at once.
   Why do we take so much stuff? Some things are hard or impossible to get in Costa Rica and many are a lot more expensive. One of my favorite conversational gambits in Costa Rica is to ask people who live there for a good chunk of the year the strangest thing they have imported in their luggage. Answers—and I am not making this up— have included a sink. I think it was a bathroom sink, not the proverbial "everything including the kitchen sink." I'm not confessing to which of the following items were mine:
    a living room chair (disassembled)
    a microwave oven
    a toilet plunger (They have toilet plungers but they don't work very well. OK, it was me.)
    an American style sponge mop head
    specialized kitchen tools such as thermometer or salad spinner
    chocolate and other other special foods
   This year there was a burning question of Tums. I've started to take it daily to prevent heartburn and as a calcium supplement. Yesterday I called people and stores in Costa Rica and determined that Tums are simply not available there, nor are any other chewable calcium carbonate tablets. So my bag includes a shockingly large quantity of Tums.  And chocolate. Balance in all things.
   What's the silliest thing you ever took on a trip?


TECHknitter said...

On a two week trip to Europe (Holland and Spain) I carried only a 20 lb suitcase (hand luggage) and 5 lbs of that was bread flour for a dear friend marooned in Spain for a year. Evidently, no bread flour is available for sale there and my friend is a mighty baker.

Bon Voyage, and hopefully the traveling will go smoothly.

Carolina said...

Yes, it's amazing what things can feel essential. I'm sure the bread flour was greatly appreciated!

Trudy said...

For me, it was discovering after a long weekend in Washington DC that I had 19 books stashed in my suitcase, briefcase and purse. I just hated not to have had the perfect book for whatever occasion arose.

Enjoy your winter haven.

Carolina said...

Hee hee. You are one of the best-read people I know and now I know why!

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

I worked with a woman whose husband was the baker, for two seasons, at McMurdo Ice Station. He had to bring all his supplies for the entire season. Can you imagine? No popping over to the neighbor's place, if you run out of milk!

Carolina said...

Wow, I guess if you are going to McMurdo you would pack very carefully indeed, whether or not you were the baker!