I’m committed to traveling light. This vow is anchored by an unwavering decision not to check any bags. I’m still queasy about Cheapo Air and its ability to deliver. And I don’t want to lug around a lot of unnecessary crap.
The challenge: Temperatures in Portland are in the 30s and 40s with low humidity. Temperatures in Southern Vietnam and Cambodia are ranging in the high 80s with lots, and lots, and lots of humidity. Temperatures in Northern Vietnam are cooler but variable.
I”ll be trekking and camping in the jungle for several days, fording rivers and swimming in caves while fully clothed. To keep the leeches off, I’ll need to tuck my long pants into boots and wear a long-sleeved shirt. (Think Humphrey Bogart in The African Queen). The temperatures in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park can range anywhere from mid-40s to mid-70s this time of year. Layers will be required. And, according to the Oxalis Travel online brochure, our guides are skilled in leech removal.
A preview of my summer clothes inventory turned up lots of sleeveless tops. I’ve read that in Vietnam it is considered indecent for women to expose their upper arms. I subscribe to the theory that one should respect the customs of one’s host. Plus, I gotta admit my upper arm wings aren’t my best asset. Might catch a heavy wind gust and who knows what could happen then.
Have you ever tried buying summer clothes in Portland during the winter? Not happening. I turned to the Internet. The UPS driver is my new best friend. And, Ari is positive she’ll prove to be a tasty meal … someday … for sure … it could happen.
I’ve managed to narrow down my outerwear choices. 5 short sleeve tops, 2 pair of shorts, 2 pair of light long pants and a skirt. A couple of light long sleeved shirts, and a sun hat round out the basics. I alway take a pareo or two when I travel. They take up little space and serve many function, including a light wrap and beach towel. Any extra space will be filled with the “to bring” list for the trek which includes knee socks and long underwear.
We’ll have to do laundry while we travel. Another fun logistic promising to challenge my known norms.
• It is 7,481 miles from Portland Oregon to Ho Chi Minh City
• Vietnamese call the “Vietnam War” the “American War”
• Saigon was re-named Ho Chi Minh City in 1976
• Saigon was the Capital of The Republic of Vietnam until 1975 when it was relocated to Hanoi in Northern Vietnam