Tag Archives: weight

Fifteen and a Half Steps to (Back)Packing Mastery

5 Aug Hiking boot with yellow and green moths sipping moisture from it.

[tweetmeme source=”@mummy_t” only_single=false]1: Heavy Stuff High, Light Stuff Low
Thanks to the high-school physics principle of moment, things at the bottom of your pack feel heavier than the stuff at the top. Pack the heavy stuff higher up your body to reduce the strain.

2: Centre the Really Heavy Stuff
If you have more weight on the left-hand side of your pack than on the right, your shoulders will feel it. Soon followed by your back, your hips and your legs. Place the heavy stuff equidistant from left and right sides, and secure it with internal straps.

3: Distribute Less Heavy Stuff Evenly Across Two Sides
If you’re carrying water, put equal quantities on either side. In fact, even quite light stuff can unbalance a pack. Put the washbag on one side, medical kit on the other. Continue reading

On Books

15 Jun

Back in Udomxay, the construction town in northern Laos where our two-day odyssey from Vietnam reached a natural close, we met a crazy Canadian chap with an Irish accent and a Beer Lao can seemingly stapled twixt thumb and forefinger. Not so much met as, perhaps, attracted.

Charming chap. Pushing 70. Thoroughly pickled 24-7. And found in me, yikes, a kindred spirit.

Having travelled extensively with his own nipper, when the boy (now my age) was eight (roughly junior’s age), he had uncharitable things to say about my backpack. Particularly, the size thereof.

Now, to a degree, I second that emotion. Although, in our defense, I will say that I have only one pack, which goes on my back, rather than the “pregnant” two-pack look (one front, one back) so popular among our Nordic friends. Continue reading

The Inflatable Waterpark

16 May

Ek biki inflatable waterpark, Santa Rosa, Philippines

The magic of childhood. Or something.


[tweetmeme source=”@mummy_t” only_single=false]

This technicolour dream palace is indisputably special. Possibly a little “special needs” too.

What is it?

You may well ask. For this, my friend, is an inflatable waterpark.

Occupying 5000 square metres of apple-green Astroturf in the middle of nowheresville, Luzon, EK Biki comes complete with dangling sharks, inflatable dragon slides, slightly forlorn clownfish and, weirdly, an Olympic-sized paddling pool.

All, like the giant hamster’s wheel and spinning top on which Z spent many happy minutes scrambling, entirely blow-up.

To add a further note of the bizarre, it caters entirely for non-swimmers. Continue reading

Short Trousers…

26 Apr Me from behind, walking through coconut forest, Mariquit, Palawan, Philippines

Why is it that someone capable of the Wildean (or Timmy Timpson-esque) remark — “I’ve just been stung by an aquatic delicacy; I am hardly in the mood for seafood?” –- is reduced to howling, “Noooo, mum, seriously, please don’t! Please! Don’t do it!” when I attempt to buy a pair of shorts?

I’ve posted before about my spawn’s touching concern for the size of my arse. However, here in the Philippines, they use American sizes, which not only means that any shop will contain some clothes that fit you, but is particularly wonderful for Brits.

By the simple trick of switching from UK to US labels, one can, as if by magic, lose at least two sizes overnight. After my “XXL or XXXL, Madam?” trauma in Cambodia, a tense forty minutes squeezing into swimsuits in Saigon, and the horrors of knicker-shopping in Bangkok, this is all to the good.

What is less to the good, perhaps, is the preferred sizing. Continue reading

I Heart Cambodia – Part 1

19 Feb

sun starting to set over angkor watZ and I are sitting in pitch blackness on the laterite stairs overlooking the lake of Banteay Kdei, Cambodia, between a sculpted Khmer lion and the light of a Chinese guy’s tripod, some unsightly period before 6am.

Tourist lore dictates that, when experiencing the grandeur of the Khmer god-kings, and the Angkor sights, one sees a sunrise. Holding to the belief that sunrises are best experienced without busloads of fellow travellers, I have picked Banteay Kdei as being less crowded than Ta Prohm.

“You wan’ buy flute?” asks a boy, who is probably in his early teens, for perhaps the fifteenth time.

“No, thank you,” I say, for probably the thirteenth time. “I do not want to buy a flute. I no want flute. Thank you.”

The per capita income in Cambodia is around $2000. When you take the elite out of the equation, it means most people earn very much less than that.

“I make you good price! One dollar!!! For your baby!” Continue reading

Does My Mum Look Big in This?

5 Feb
Boys With Their Toys

Z and friends outside the Kampot Caves

“I think you should wear something a little more slimming tomorrow, mum,” was tactfully meant.

“God, mum, your tummy sticks out almost as far as your bum and your bum is MASSIVE. Where’s your phone? I’ll take a picture and show you,” came straight out of the Viz Spoilt Bastard handbook.

I think, on balance, the kinder version was crueller, although the beauty of utter rudeness is that one can respond with high dudgeon/childish insults/patronising therapy-lite explanations about how “It doesn’t make Mummy feel very good when you say those sorts of things” (no shit, Sherlock). Continue reading