Thursday, February 17, 2011

Readjusting...and More About Packing Lists

Last night, after a great afternoon and evening reconnecting with Matthew (who looks awesome in the traditional outfit we bought him - I'll post a picture sometime), I literally prayed that he would asleep at a decent time.  Bedtime is usually at around 8:00 but by 7:00 Geoff and I were so incredibly tired that we just  turned on the tv for Matthew so that we could get through the last hour before bedtime.  He fell asleep by around 9:00, thankfully, by which time Geoff had been sleeping for about an hour already.  And then, finally, when Matthew was gone, I too drifted into unconsciousness.

I slept until 2:00, at which time I very badly needed a trip to the bathroom (yes, still GI issues) and then I was up for good.  Still am, twelve hours later...with about seven more hours to go until I can fall into bed again.

But overall, I think I'm functioning pretty well for someone on major jet lag.  I'm determined not to drift off until Matthew's asleep again, convinced that the sooner I can regulate my body into normal rhythms, the better.  We'll see...I say this as I yawn widely.

For any readers who are yet planning to travel to Ethiopia, I'll just add a quick comment about packing.  The lists that I posted on my blog a couple of weeks ago were awesome...if I do say so myself.  There was nothing I regret packing, and nothing that we missed.  Other than the things that we never got to take to the children's birth region, we were glad to have pretty much everything on the list.

My lists were compiled after years (years) of tracking other people's lists and regrets.  Every time someone travelled to ET, or returned, and mentioned that they'd really been glad to have xyz, I made a note of it in a Word document.  Over the years, I accumulated eighty-one (really!) pages of other peoples' lists and recommendations.  In the month before we left, I culled that down into the lists that I posted.  They were truly awesome, so feel free to use them as your complete packing list, if you are headed to the Horn of Africa any time soon.

Someone asked me what things I was most glad to have....well, lots of things, to be honest, but here are some of the most commonly used things that we took along and used all the time:

- stainless steel water bottles that tucked into the side pouches of our back packs.  We simply filled these every time we went out somewhere, with water that we bought or were given by the lodge, and they were used constantly as we were out and about.  We also used these same bottles to brush our teeth with and rinse our mouth with, etc.

- The hand sanitizing series of stuff.  I brought a small pump bottle of antibacterial liquid hand soap and used this constantly; after using it, I used a hand sanitizer (purell-like stuff) to get rid of any germs left by the water I'd rinsed my hands with.  I also had hand sanitizer in both of our back packs, along with some unscented/non-alcohol baby wipes to wipe grime from our hands.

- extra batteries for both cameras: still and video.  It cost a fair bit of money buy a spare battery for the video camera and an extra lithium battery for the still camera, but it was worth it.

- mini facecloths.  Norwex sells these awesome little travel packs of microfibre face cloths.  I tucked two of these into two ziploc bags for both Geoff and me, and we used them on the plane to freshen up a little.  I also carried it in my backpack around Addis, because I really hated feeling grimy after a few hours in the pollution.

- laundry detergent.  I did a little of my own laundry, because I found myself wearing my capri pants all of the time rather than long pants.  I took Norwex powder detergent, which rinses out extremely quickly and easily, but any would suffice

- toilet paper.  The lodge provided only one roll at a time and so we definitely needed the roll we brought.  Also, apparently the planes to/from Europe occasionally run out of the paper, so we carried it in our backpack.

- Immodium.  Need I say more?

What will I take/not differently next time?

- I will take only one pair of long pants - to wear on the plane.  I found that, though the evenings definitely cooled, I was fine with a hoodie and capri pants.  I didn't need the long pants, other than for the plane rides.  To save space I would simply wash the pair I wore on the plane, in case the weather did demand warmer pants.

- I will beg my doctor for a cipro prescription to help deal with the GI issues that Geoff had while we were there, and which I now have a touch of at home.  Geoff was really quite ill, and the prescription would have been useful.

That's it for now.  I'm going to start posting some pictures shortly...I hope you enjoy.


  1. THanks for the packing info, we aren't leaving yet, but we are compiling a list too! Thanks for the help!

  2. Thanks! I have updated my packing list. Already have my cipro. I got it from the travel doctor when I got my shots. Hope you are feeling better.

  3. Sorry to hear that you are having GI issues Ruth! I was a tad sick in Ethiopia and for a long time after I came home. This time I am taking Dukoral vaccine. Hopefully it works! I will let you know!

  4. ihope you feel better soon...sleep lots! :) and oh i hope i need those fantastic lists soon! (how very NICE for me that you did all that compiling..i LOVElists, but i'm thrilled to use someone else's..especially knowing that you were so happy with what you had/left behind!) thanks for sharing them!