top of page
  • Shelley Dark

2. Packing!

This morning I started to think packing and thought you might like to share. If you're on top of that subject you might like to skip this post.

Suddenly the trip seems really REAL! I've laid a few things out on a bed. Woo hoo!

It's going to be mild in Calcutta and fairly warm to hot in the south of India so at least I don't have to take heavy clothes. There's bound to be plenty of dirty and dusty, and I am spectactularly good at painting myself with technicolour red and yellow curry. But I don't want to pack dark clothes for hot days - I think I'll go for light-coloured light-weight easy-wash natural fabrics, keep my fingers crossed and take a stick of Exit for stains. The plus is that in air-conditioned hotel rooms clothes tend to dry easily. Using hotel laundries is a bit nerve-wracking if it doesn't come back overnight.

As far as style goes, India speaks casual. Knee-length shorts are usually a good option for me for warm climates, but modesty rules that out on the sub-continent. I thought I'd take about 4 loose-fitting long pants and 6-ish cotton t-shirts. And of course, everything I own is grey-based so I don't have to worry about what goes with what.

The combination above is a grey double-skin lightweight pant. Pant. That word makes me laugh. I love it. They're on elastic which I push down on my hips as I hate anything on my waist. That's the only synthetic fabric I'm packing - a flowing washed-silky Japanese microfibre material. On our last trip, I found the double fabric layer cool even on a hot day. Plus a very light cotton short-sleeved T-shirt.

This is a white cotton short-sleeved t-shirt with contrasting silk collar - probably not the one to wear for a food market where you might walk into a hand of bananas. The pants are a darkish taupe stretchy fabric (good colour for slushy underfoot), which I wear with a belt.

Here's a fine cotton leopard-print pant with woven string trim on the pockets, and a grey marle t-shirt. The necklace was bought by a friend for me in Santorini, leather with white coral.

The combo underneath is more of the same except for the pants - they're a bit different from anything I've ever bought before - stretchy grey crushed velvet on the front, and grey jersey on the back. Quite lairy! The necklace is a bit of fun paste.

I'll take another couple of t-shirts as spares - a gossamer-light taupe long sleeved one in case there are mozzies, and the interesting beigey one with mesh inserts in the sleeves - it's the one I bought at the airport at Barcelona last year. Both will go with any of the pants.

I have two choices for dressy evening dinners. All black or all white. Common sense says black, and my heart says white - linen pants and a white shirt with sparkly detail on the neckline, and a sparkly belt. I'll probably pack both. I don't ever take a dress/skirt or high heels. Plus we're not doing anything formal.

This light cotton jacket with raw edges is for the plane and coolish evenings - I doubt there will be many except possibly in Calcutta. Might throw in a lightweight pullover/cardigan as well.

A couple of scarves for covering my head in temples and to dress up the casual outfits.

3 pairs of shoes, all sprayed well with water-proofer. I'll wear the grey Tods walking shoes on the plane - they're heavier and because they're higher, they're more suitable for wet weather or muddy places. I'll also take the incredibly light-weight, comfortable and flexible suede Cole Haan Zero Grand oxfords for dry days. I've been punishing them for a whole year - although I've weather-proofed them well, they're not really suitable for the wet because they have patterned punch holes. And at night the Tods loafers - they're quite casual, but I can walk a distance in them if I have to.

I'll take my normal handbag, which has a magnetic closing and a zipped leather pouch inside which came with it. It is attached by a leather strap to one of the handles which are long enough to go over my shoulder.

Add a light-weight fabric hat with a tortoise-shell chain band.

That's about it! I keep the weight down because I learned the hard way that I hate man-handling a heavy suitcase. There's never help handy when you need to lift it over the odd step or pull it across rough cobbles.

I rather like these Louen Hide toiletry bags don't you - the smaller for makeup and bigger items in the other.

I'll put in a folding umbrella, the lightweight rain jacket below, and some clear disposible ponchos, just in case.

Plus about half a ton of electrical/recharging/downloading/camera/computer stuff and anti-jelly-belly pills. I used not to take anything like that until we went to Morocco, when we suddenly needed it. I spent half an hour at the Moroccan chemist trying to describe in French the symptoms. The others on that photographic tour were Americans and they all had more emergency medications and relevant knowledge than I knew existed! Since then, we are better prepared.

I'll be using my camera on this trip I think, as well as the iphone, so I may take a tripod - but it adds quite a bit to the weight even though it's a lightweight one.

Voilà. I feel as if I've packed already. And of course it's all still lying on the bed. I'll put it all in clear zip-lock plastic bags, so I can pack and unpack in a second when I'm looking for something. The single most important hint I have ever learned. And I'll make a packing list, just by changing my list from the last trip - that way I remind myself of anything I may have forgotten.

I've put our travel details on the DFAT website in case of an emergency, I've phoned the bank to tell them that there will be Indian activity happening on my cards.

OK! Time to go and clean the frig out or pay some bills, or some other exciting pre-trip chore.

Slight Indian activity butterflies in stomach. Not sure if I will post again before I go as I have to visit my mama later in the week. If I don't, I'll see you in India!

அப்பற0 பாக்கலாமே buddies!

Written in English that's aprã pārkkalām (pronounced AR-PRUH PAR-KUH-LARMEE) Tamil for 'see you later'. Tamil is one of the languages of southern India, where they speak English better than Hindi. So we need to be multi-lingual this trip!


shelley dark, writer 

bottom of page