LTS, hope you don't mind having parts of your post reproduced here =)
“gadgets” and other extras that made our good trip, fantastic!
1. my friend was robbed of US$300 at the jo’burg airport. because she had little pouches all over the place. i wasn’t robbed because i brought a $1.50 extendable cord that hooked my purse to my pants. this extendable cord also doubled up as a torch hanger at night. see how useful a simple gadget could be!
1. e cat has a tiny little bell (30-40 cents from handicraft shops) in its purse, which alerts it to pickpockets trying to snitch it. e purse (& keys & other important stuff) is also secured to its bag with a lanyard. lanyards/strings are also good for hanging digital cameras & torches around one's neck. useful if you like taking photos at e edge of cliffs or on elephant-back. in Phuket e cat never had to feel around e bottom of a waterfall pool to retrieve a fallen Maglite at night =P
2. in zimbabwe, the inflation pushed the price of a loaf of bread to US$20. i got my maggi mee, my friend stole a packet.
02. stray dogs stole & ate up e guys' maggi mee, which they had left on e shore before we waded out onto e mudflats. e cat had cup noodles in its backpack. unfortunately it had to be shared with e guys =| something that always happens to e extra food & water reserves that e cat carries....guys will always be more than willing to 'help' e cat lighten this load, offering to carry it in their stomachs. e Kinabalu climb comes to mind ;)
3. my friend suffered three days of bad diarrhoea and vomiting (suspected malaria). we almost checked her into a hospital, but i started her on my stock of antibiotics, immodium, febs, hydrolite pills. she was well again.
03. chicken-flavour Maggi mee seasoning packets that have been used as a crude form of oral rehydration salts for bad food poisoning, to flavour rice for half a village, & to remove leeches in Taman Negara.
when e cave we were camping in echoed through e night with e hacking cough of a colleague, Woods peppermint lozenges worked their magic to shut her up & allow e group a few precious hours of shut-eye before another full day of trekking through Taman Negara. unfortunately her coughing was what scared away e rats, & once she fell silent they came out in full force to help us lick our mess tins & utensils clean & raid our stuff =P
4. we had long journeys, our car broke down in the middle of nowhere. there was absolutely nothing to do, but wait. i had to share my MP3 player with her, and our sanity was kept intact.
04. no MP3 player =P fuchsia halcyon & e cat just asked locals to teach it how to sing e Thai 'elephant song' (chang2 chang2 chang2/nong1 khoey1 hen2 chang2 reu2 plaaw3), & learnt from hyper-enthusiastic kindergarten & primary school kids with super-power lungs how to sing/chant e Thai 'alphabet song' (kor1 kai3/khor2 khaay3 lit. 'K' for chicken, 'Kh' for egg)....totally earsplitting experience! =)
5. locals looked unfriendly. but upon showing them photos and videos on my digicam, everyone loosened up, and we enjoyed ourselves so very much.
05. showing locals e photos on your digital camera is indeed a great way to break e ice....& make a whole army of Akha preschool kids descend on you, shrieking with excitement:
it starts with a few bolder curious kids (above left)....& before you know it e cat has been buried in e scrum (above right)
digital cameras are also useful when you encounter important signs/notices in foreign languages that are too lengthy & complicated to copy down in writing:
snap a high res photo of it & hunt for someone (tourist info, hostel staff, local schoolteachers, university students, policemen, even soldiers) who can help you translate =)) above example from e cat's Kyoto trip - underlined in green are e only words/numbers that e cat could understand.
the irony is, she was the one using all the “extras” i carried.
HAHAHAHAHA this is so familiar!! =P has even reached e point where friends treat this cat as a DORAEMON with a magic front pocket from which you can pull out EVERYTHING, & tell one another to 'ask cat for this/that'....insect repellent, drinking water, food (see #2 above), plaster, panadol, soap, safety pin, compass, lozenges, swiss knife, plastic bag, rubberbands, pen, sewing thread, toilet paper, scissors, ziplocs, permanent marker, shampoo, masking tape, carabiner, even sanitary napkins (but this is where their luck usually runs out! =P)....a few lagi bestest, will just tell e cat that 'eh i took XYZ from your backpack just now - i know you sure bring one'....
& e towel that never dried comes to mind - an old towel e cat carries on trips in e tropics as it is thin & dries quickly. on that trip with colleagues to Taman Negara e cat was puzzled as to why this towel never seemed to dry. it would hang e towel out to dry overnight after bathing, but it would still be damp e next morning. until a French colleague said, 'by e way i have been using your towel because i forgot to bring one. hope you don't mind - i forgot all about telling you'....
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