Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Packing List. China 2018.

Photo from Tropenmuseum, part of the National Museum of World Cultures
( Licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0 license)

Hard to believe but I leave for China in just a few short weeks.  I feel I just got back from India not that long ago and in fact, I've not even done all the blog postings for that trip!

Not to mention that I still have some planning tasks to wrap up for the China trip e.g., buying our train tickets from Beijing to Xi'an, handling whatever needs to be done for my two cousins as they go through the processes of getting their China visas from the UK (a nightmare for poor Sook Kwan) and Australia, put together my travel binder, and offline all my Google maps.

I still also need to do research on things do or do not work in China e.g., WhatsApp does not work so we need to install WeChat on our phones.  Uber is out but can we use DiDi which is the China equivalent?  Facebook yes or no?

Then there's the language issue.  Except for Yim Kwan who professes that she speaks kindergarten level Mandarin, the rest of us know not a lick of Mandarin so I am looking into a good translation app that we can use on our phones.  As a backup, I'm also making sure that I have, written down,  names of places in Chinese just in case we need to hail a taxi....we can at least show the name of the place to the driver.  I'm basically building our own language dictionary.

In any case, now is also time for me to start to put together my packing list.  As you might expect, after all the trips I've been on, packing has pretty much become a no brainer for  me - I simply pull up a list from a previous trip and modify it according to what I think I will need for this trip.  My travel gear is stored separately from my regular clothes so I just pull out the plastic storage containers and get whatever clothes I need.

Early spring in China is pretty much like early spring where I live so it's easy to figure out how to dress.  The weather will be very similar to when I was there in September 2016 so I am using that packing list as the starting point for the one for this trip.  Of course, we do begin our trip in Hong Kong which is hot and humid all year round so I do need to bring some clothes to accommodate for weather that is pretty much like summer in the east coast of the US which is where I call home.  Nights in Xinjiang will be cool so I plan to dress in layers. 

As often happens, I am also tinkering around with new camera gear.  On this trip, I will bring my 360fly camera and two new toys - a Lenovo notebook, a Logitech C920 webcam, and a small tripod.  After years of traveling with my iPad and cursing at its limitations, I bought a real cheap, refurbished Lenovo notebook (thanks to Chantale for finding it for me).  With it, I can more easily access apps that I commonly need on travel and it currently has 260+ GB of available storage space so I will use it to upload my photos to....for backup.  So, for the first time in years I will be leaving my iPad behind....unless I bring it along just because it has all my video games installed on it.  Yes, I do play video games to keep me occupied at times.

The Logitech webcam is a real toy.  I bought it so I can create timelapse videos - I already have some ideas in mind of what videos I want to make.  I've already downloaded and installed Video Velocity on to the notebook - it's an application that will take timed, sequenced photos from a webcam and create a timelapse video from them.  I tried it out yesterday, setting it up in my kitchen to capture my movements while I was cooking.  The application is super easy to use though I have not yet figured out all the settings.  Even so, it was fun to see the final timelapse.   I hope my idea of using this works out.  I'm going to keep all that as a surprise for now.  The tripod will work with both the webcam and the 360fly.

I'm also contemplating whether or not to trade in my backpack for an underseat, wheeled suitcase.  I feel like I'm not in the mood to carry a back pack any more especially now that I have good shoulder bags for when I walk around so I no longer need to carry around my bulky backpack when I'm just sightseeing.  I'm getting to old to be a pack camel 😁

Update March 12.  I got my REI dividend a couple of days ago and I used it to buy two sleep sheets - one for me and one for Bro. You never know what kind of bedding conditions we'll have in Xinjiang.  Better to play it safe.

The List
  • Trip binder containing printed copies of the detailed trip itinerary, airline vouchers, hotel vouchers, Airbnb vouchers, tour vouchers, and all necessary contact information.
  • Passport, $US cash, credit cards, debit card
  • Rain poncho
  • Headscarf
  • 4 short sleeve, light cotton shirts
  • 3 lightweight long sleeve shirts
  • 3 pair of hiking pants
  • 1 pair of khakis
  • Lightweight down jacket
  • Underwear and three pairs of socks
  • Sunhat and sunglasses
  • 1 pair walking shoes
  • 1 pair hiking sandals
  • 1 pair rubber slippers 
  • Ankle brace and walking stick
  • Toiletries and first aid kit (including Tylenol, Band Aids, Neosporin, lip balm, Immodium AD, Pepto Bismol, Zithromax, Cipro)
  • Sunblock and lotion
  • Toilet paper, handiwipes
  • Flashlight
  • Spare pair of reading glasses
  • Nikon DSLR camera, filters, spare batteries, chargers and outlet adapters, external battery, SD cards
  • Lenovo notebook (and maybe iPad)
  • MHL to HDMI adapter and HDMI cable.
  • Pens
  • iPod
  • Key lock 
  • Sleep sheet
  • Drain plug, laundry detergent, and plastic clothes pins for drying clothes 
And last but not least,..... collapsible totes to shop with while I am in China and if necessary, to bring back all those things that I buy along the way.  For the longest time, I used to only bring one tote along but for the past handful of trips, two totes have found their way into my suitcase!