Friday, May 05, 2006

More Tips for Travellers

A reminder to you blog-readers. The primary reason for this blog is to help folks understand what life is like in Lui, and what insights some travelers gained by spending with our friends in Lui. A secondary reason is for us to inform future travelers to Lui about what they might want to do, take, observe, etc. when they go to Lui.

Only after I had been in Lui did I realize there were a couple more things that I’d take to Lui if I get the chance to return.

Because there is no electricity in Lui, we had been forewarned to take our own light sources to Lui. The wind-up flashlights were very useful. (The ones now for sale at Walgreen's for about $15 had an incredibly long life.) I also took one of those “miner-type” flashlights that you wear on your head if you're caving; it was especially useful when I used the latrine at night and needed my hands free. But best of all, for some reason I had thought to take taper candles. They were wonderful in the tukal at night. They gave off much gentler light than the lanterns and flashlights did. I would put water or sand in the bottom of a water-bottle, then stick the candle in the opening of that bottle. This was my most satisfactory way to keep my tukal illuminated – much better than the flashlights that use toxic batteries.

And I would take a washcloth! When I was packing, I was trying to “minimalize” everything – to take as few items and as few ounces as I could. Consequently, I took a bar of low-sudsing soap I could use both for my hair and for my body. (I got a bar of Dr. Brawner's.) I certainly did not take a washcloth or body-sponge, because I thought those would be indulgences. Big mistake! With the dry, dusty, red soil that was everywhere in Lui – in my body and in my mouth and nose -- I got so filthy that just having my hand and a bar of soap did not get me as clean as I would have wished. If I ever return, I’ll take something that will help me to abrasively clean-off the red Lui dirt – especially from my hands and feet.

And let’s talk about chairs … or seats. In many places in Lui, the only seat is a tree-trunk. In most places there are hideous WalMart-type plastic chairs. Given those options, after hours and hours of sitting, the better option often (for me, at least) was the ground. If I were going back to Lui, I would make for myself one of those “sit-upons” that I used in Girl Scouts those many decades ago. I don’t have a lot of padding on my backside, and the hours on the barely-padded truck seats and the not-at-all-padded plastic chairs sitting around in Lui had my backside quite sore. Many times, I eschewed the plastic chairs and just sat on the bare earth. Next time, a “sit-upon-style” cushion will be going with me to Lui.

Your mileage may vary, of course!

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