The Party did not get me; however, I've been updating less because basically my only preparations right now are to buy things. Here is a list, in case it helps anyone else out there:
- 10 passport-sized photos. The size of choice in Asia seems to be 35mm x 45mm, but I'm sure they will take 2-inch photos (or 50mm x 50mm) at the border as well.
- Portable eating utensils (fork, spoon, chopsticks). I might not need this, but I figure just in case there is either a lack of utensils or a lack of sanitary ones.
- External hard drive. I am worried about theft. I am psychologically prepared to be down either one laptop or one hard drive, but I am not prepared to lose all my pictures from this trip.
- Separate bag for my electronics and things (though I will keep the hard drive and the laptop separate, so theoretically it is far less likely for both to be stolen) so I can put my backpack in storage and keep valuables on my person. I got a one-shoulder cross-body sort (i.e. messenger bag) because apparently a lot of thieves will just grab your bag and run. You can choose either to let go or be dragged into unpredictable traffic. (Hint: Let go.)
- Travel-size toiletries (but still enough for two months). Also things to transport said toiletries (like a soap box, bag for bathroom stuff, etc.). I was told to get soap/shampoo that will rinse off easily in cold water, because hot water is far from a guarantee. Plus given the temperatures I will be facing, I doubt that is something I would want anyway.
- Boys, turn aside. Ladies, I would be very sure to pack any feminine supplies you might need. Do not expect tampons to exist in Asia. Even when they do... let's just say the "technology" is very behind and insertion involves your finger. (I bet any guys reading this really wish they had turned away. Don't say I didn't warn you.) If you use pads, whether maxi or ultra-thin, you should be fine, assuming China is representative of the region. If you're wondering why tampons are so behind here, it's probably because it goes against every fiber of traditional Asian culture for anything to be up there other than your lawfully wedded husband.
- If you need medicine, bring extra and store it separately, again in case of theft.
Things to take care of before I leave:
- Contact the bank and let them know not to freeze my account if there are withdrawals/charges made in Southeast Asia from Tuesday until I return.
- Have a friend stop by once a week to check on pets. (Pets = fish, so this timeline is actually reasonable and won't result in poo all over the apartment.)
- Make sure utilities/internet are paid in full/can be paid online.
- Set up vacation notice for email.
- Break in the sneakers I bought.
Things not to do:
- Let non-friends who know or might have access to my address (for whatever reason) know that I'm going on vacation. (Unless I want a break-in while I'm away.)
- Take further pole dancing lessons. It is very bruisy. You know why? Because poles are metal and your legs are not. It also requires flexibility and upper body strength. I have none of these qualities. Although it is much easier to spin around a pole than one would think. (This is assuming you're only doing it a few times and thus do not require any kind of stamina.)