Wednesday, 31 March 2010


My small pillow. You can`t buy one. They`re considered dangerous to infants. It`s a tiny pillow I took off a Philippine Airlines flight. With this soft little cushion, I can sleep anywhere. And have done so. In hotels when the pillows were hard as concrete. On a customs bench in Morocco. Deck class sailing down the Red Sea. It goes wherever I go. I`ve lost two on my travels. One left behind on a coach trip to Paris. A second blew into the Bay of Bengal, when I stood up from my deck chair to escape a tropical squall. I found replacements on other airlines. I don`t feel bad about taking 3 little pillows in a lifetime`s flying.

The second item I make sure is packed is my personal cake of soap in a plastic container. This is Roger & Gallet which comes in a variety of heavenly perfumes - tea-rose and gardenia are my favourites which bring a scent of home. Especially when the bathroom is horrid.

The third item I never forget is a pareo. Also known as a sarong, a kikoye or simply a cotton wrap. This is a patterned length of cotton material, worn to great effect in Polynesia. But also in East Africa, coastal India and Dhofar in Oman. The pareo, which I wore daily when working at the Club Mediterranee in Tahiti is a multi-purpose garment. It can be worn in a variety of different styles as a wrap; used as a towel after a shower or a swim, as a sheet, when the night is hot, or stuffed with ice and placed on your head for a hang-over.

Item number four is my swimming costume. I pack this as hand-luggage with my pillow and pareo so if stuck somewhere warm, I can always swim. On two occasions, once off a flight in Singapore, another double-booked in Bombay, I was the only passenger able to enjoy a dip.

Finally, I always pack a small bottle of scotch. This used to go in hand luggage but with the 100 mill rule, it now travels in my case. Whisky acts as a reviver when you reach your new hotel room. Or in event of drama on your travels. It can be drunk neat if you haven`t water and the Scots would say it doesn`t need ice. Delayed 36 hrs at Khartoum Airport, my small flacon of whisky kept body and soul together when the only alternative was tinned mango-juice.



  1. Warm and comforting , makes this seasoned traveller feel at home . A pleasant read , C.O !

  2. ... and of course, your HAT. Fun to read, although I remain bemused at how standing up from your deck chair you escaped a squall. We must all stand up when the weather gets violent. Jx

  3. I was seated in a deckchair on the old paddle-steamer going to the Sunderbans from Dhaka. A tropical storm BURST around us and I was saved from being blown overboard myself by the quick action of a crew member. The wind was ferocious, overturning the fishing boats caught out in the open. I watched my pillow slowly sinking from a window in the cabin. Ah, yes, my hat.....

  4. Diaper pins!! They lock, do not rust, take no space & will mend a hem or hang mittens on the camera bag, hang laundry on curtains or lampshades, other odd jobs. Alas, security guard in Tahiti confiscated a bunch of them as "hazardous" (or perhaps had a new baby at home?) Thanking stars, they're also replaceable.


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