Here and There

By Jillian Edelstein

This acclaimed photographer discovers a lost branch of her family, drawing her into stories of displacement that we all hold in common.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Travel Tips

I thought I would share this little diary note I made soon after I arrived back in the UK from Colombia in mid-July.

I am back in the familiar terrain of North London. The crows are making a din outside – now I associate that sound with the ‘corbeau’s of Rwanda and, I think, the macaws of Colombia and the last daredevil trip I made to the mangrove swamp on my last day there in spite of the Dengue fever warnings.

I have a few tips from my experience and travels of many weeks. A sort of ‘don’t forget to pack’ list when going into unfamiliar, often remote, regions.

Here you go:
Dental floss. Especially if you are visiting Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda. No amount of searching produced a dental floss kit. After every meal is served in any restaurant or hotel, a pot of toothpicks is served up. It is a common and acceptable sight to see a communal tooth picking session. Good for bonding and rumination.

Hygienic baby wipes. These come in handy when there is no running water, soap or napkins available.

Mini packs of Kleenex. How many times I went into the latrines of China, India, Africa where there was no loo paper. How happy was I to have my tissue pack handily tucked into the corner of my handbag. Also see:

Toilet roll. Essential for restrooms, loos, bathrooms that lack these facilities.

Nutritional energy bars. In Africa and Colombia we often ate lunch at around 3 or 4 o’clock. I was reminded of the convenience of my local Tesco or Waitrose as I bit into a Macadamia-Quinoa bar and felt my sugar level rise and the chi flowing again.

Overrated Avon Moisturizer. Urban legend or not, before I left I was told to invest in said product in order to stave off mozzies. That’s all fine, but the stench of the product is wildly unattractive and I wonder why Avon don’t market it as the insect repellent it is clearly meant to be.

Own set of earplugs. For happy ears. Often the ones that come courtesy of, and bagged by the airline companies, are so uncomfortable. Especially the ones that you have to fit onto and over your earlobe.

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