Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Sleeping Bag and Ski Pants
I’ve been packing this evening for our trip to Bhutan. Yes, BHUTAN!! It’s one of those destinations that actually deserves all-capital letters and two exclamation points. Or at least, I sure hope it is, because that’s how excited I am about it.
Every Foreign Service Officer – and probably every expat anywhere, for that matter – knows that feeling of learning where you’re going to be living next, and in the early days of considering the implications of that, saying to yourself, “if I’m going to live for _x_ years in _[place]_, I definitely want to see ___.” When my husband and I learned we were going to live in India for 2 years, the “definitely want to see” place for me was Bhutan. We’re getting close to the end of our time here, but we’re finally realizing that dream, and I’m completely thrilled!
Okay, so back to the packing. It’s one of the crazier trips I’ve ever had to pack for – I’m going from summer-like temperatures (about 90 degrees Fahrenheit) in Mumbai, to freezing temperatures and a forecast of snow in Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu, to who-knows-what temperatures (theoretically more temperate) in some of the other mountain valleys of Bhutan where we’ll also be camping for a couple of nights (yeah, camping in February in the Himalayas – I’m not sure about my sanity either). Then we repeat the series backwards. Seriously – there’s not a single temperature range that we can rule out on this trip, which makes packing kind of complicated. Thus: layers. One tank-top that can be slept in or used as a layer, several t-shirts that can be worn alone or as layers, a few long-sleeved versions of the same, a couple lighter-weight sweaters, a heavier sweater, and a sweatshirt that can be slept in or worn over layers. Oh, and a coat for either snow or rain (both of which are very possible). And that’s just the top half. For the bottom half, I’ve got everything from a super-lightweight pair of cargo pants to long underwear and ski pants. And then there’s the hiking/camping stuff, including the sleeping bag. Oooh, and some motion-sickness pills for those winding, bumpy roads (odd tidbit: due to road conditions, all the standard packing lists for Bhutan list motion-sickness pills, even for those who don’t usually get motion-sick, and, for women, a sports-bra. Oh boy).
Yes, the bag is definitely bigger than I’d prefer, and certainly bigger than for the average 10-day trip, but this trip is going to be a real adventure and a whole lot of fun. Did I mention I’m super-excited??