blow the fuse, cut the generator or burn down the hut!
* Roll-on insect repellent.
* A chamois or micro-fibre towel instead of a big bath/beach towel.
* Plastic clogs or flip-flops as well as the walking shoes you are wearing when on the move. You may need help on this if you have a shoe fetish - I once shared the carrying of a bag of shoes-- a 'shoes only' bag--with an English woman in Mexico - she had 14 pairs of extras!
* A few safety-pins and some string to hang up your gear and keep it off the floor and insect-free. Safety-pins are lighter and smaller than clothes-pegs.
* A USB memory stick with your contact addresses and copies of your documents can go with your passport/cards in your THIN money-belt INSIDE the waistband of your trousers, better than the conspicuous bum-bag.
* Snorkel & mask and fins cut down to fit in your pack, otherwise substitute with a sleeping bag or jacket/raincoat for cooler climes.
* Money: Keep only your immediate cash in your zipped pocket in small denominations--enough to get you through a day or two rather than constantly having to dip inside your pants. Best to just keep the daily cash rolled up without having to attract unnecessary attention as you fumble thru a wallet while everyone stares at you advertising your wealth. Keep larger bills in a separate pocket but still easily accessible.
* You can put your money-belt in a plastic bag and bury it all in the ground if you're going to be in a remote area for a few days, swimming etc..
* Big, conspicuous cameras can be a problem--best to carry a small compact type in a belt-pouch. Carry only
unimportant items in your pack.
* A second or third bank/credit/debit card--ideally one to access a second account--some ATMs just eat them up.
* Small items to give as gifts - cheap eyeglasses are appreciated by older people in remote places, pencils and other little items for kids.
I also carry harmonicas and guitar picks--guitar strings are a rare thing in most places.
NOTES ON BAD HOTELS AND BAD BUSSES -THE HOTELS - just a few examples:
Manado North East Sulawesi - I arrived back on the mainland after exploring the marine park and already dying corals of Bunaken Island and passing the CELEBES HOTEL I thought it looked a little too flash for my budget but what the hell; I've got an early start next morning. It was cheaper than it looked, the lobby tiled in burgundy and the staff and receptionist in neat uniforms - apologies for broken aircon and apologies too for loud TV in foyer "volume control broken" (Oh yea!). I went out to eat at a 'wahrung' or street stall - often better food than the restaurants and at least as hygienic, if you didn't mind the scavanging rats that you don't usually see indoors, watching your ever loving mouthful. I returned about 8pm to get an early night and as I reached the third floor corridor, the biggest, sleekest, fattest, shiniest rat came galloping towards me and went skittering between my legs and down the stairs. I followed after it and when I told the manager he hardly even raised an eyebrow, didn't even offer a 'Manuel/Faulty Towers' "He no rat. His name Basil - he a filigree hamster!"
Next morning I was up at 5am and as I arrived on the second floor via the stairs there were TWO even bigger rats having a chat outside the hotel's pride and joy 'The Napoleon Suite'. This was the only hotel in my Indonesian walkabout with a lift/elevator (and a Napoleon suite) and as I had them trapped by the door I stamped my feet and scared them inside before pressing the button for the ground floor. I raced down the stairs just in time to see them dashing out of the lift and across the lobby with no one but me to see them! What a shame, if the service is bad I like the management to know about it! Worse than the rats were the cockroaches big as crabs that came and went about my room the night before, as thought it was really theirs and I was just a temporary occupant - I suppose they were right in that respect!
The Hotel Afiat in Makassar Indonesia.
A hotel in one of the most fetid cities in the world. and recommended in 'Lonely Planet'. It was so filthy I never even took a shower (though it's usually just a bucket and scoop anyway, the kind I like best) - I didn't want to risk togging-off in such squalor. There was nowhere to hang anything so I had to revert to my 'trick' - a piece of fishing nylon for a clothesline to get my gear and pack off the floor which was alive with tiny insects (not just ants, unfortunately). After a night of listening to the scratching (both the insects and meself) I was up early and planning my escape to the wide open spaces of the north and the land of the Torajans, a 14 hour bus trip and that's another story in itself.
My room was next to the lobby and the staff, now mostly horizontal, were still lounging about in a fug of cigarette smoke and farts, either dozing or gawking into their mobile phones--seems to be a worldwide pastime these days. When I asked to sign the visitors book (this time it was important for me) they didn't have such a thing so they gave me a sheet of paper on which I wrote in BIG print: "I'VE