Sunday, March 30, 2008

Practical Luggage

Day: 187

It’s packing day. A lot has changed since we packed up and headed to New Zealand. When we first left we had perfectly sized bike boxes and stylish duffels. Now we have homemade cardboard parcels and rainbow colored plastic bags. The two handcrafted boxes were created from four smaller ones. Our four panniers fit nicely inside the two plastic bags. We call it practical luggage.
The process of packing has become as much art as it is a task. It begins with research on our chosen airline’s website. Height, width, length, and kilograms; it’s all about the linear dimensions and weight. Luckily, most airlines allow bicycles as part of the baggage allowance. Then the hard work begins; reinforce the boxes around the derailleur, contain the small items, and balance the weight. Finally, we seal everything up and find a scale. It’s all a craft that we’ve been working on over the last six months.
Chris resumed his duties as chief bike packer and today he had some help. The staff at our guesthouse was very eager to assist. At first Chris wasn’t thrilled, he normally works alone. In the end, he had great fun. One employee in particular, who has been very gracious through our stay, was Chris’ right-hand man. The two of them practiced their English and Lao and traded life stories. At one point the guy crawled into one of the boxes and tried to coax Chris into taking him to the US. He’s actually had a wild past that included surviving a gunshot. Chris didn’t get all of the details, but it seems rather harsh for Laos. He lives here in the city now after growing up in the country and being kicked out of the house by his parents. He’s been nothing but a hard working and courteous host since we arrived. I guess it just proves that people can struggle and overcome regardless of where they are in the world.
See you in a few days,

1 comment:

JennSean said...

Good luck on the packing and have a safe trip back to the mothership! Did I mention we had at least 8in. of heavy, wet snow on our car this morning? It's the year of the never ending winter! Maybe you can bring the sunshine & heat with you?
Be well & see you soon!