This morning in my guesthouse bedroom there are 3 bags to be sorted. Into my small suitcase, carry-on size, go all the things I won't need during today: night things, a change of clothes, adaptors, chargers for 2 phones, camera, Kindle and computer, seeds to give away tomorrow; receipt for the money given to Alphonse yesterday for his project... I decided on this case rather than my bigger rucksack because it has wheels, a robust shell and a padlock. The wheels are only useful when the terrrain is smooth. (Anne will remember the limitations of a wheelchair in Tunisia.) The shell ended up dented by the end of the 4 hour bus journey on Monday after being stowed under a folding seat and trampled from time to time as passengers wriggled in and out of seats on the overstuffed bus, but it sprang back into shape. As usual with locks, one can only hope they serve a purpose.
The second bag is a lightweight backpack that has been surprisingly useful. My rigid document case containing teaching materials gives some structure to the bag. Yes, despite protestations I am still teaching. Then there is a waterproof jacket that also provides warmth and wind protection on the mountains, my computer and camera. There is a side pocket for my Rwandan phone, used just now to rearrange my meeting with Rachel at the bus station because it's raining too hard for motos – she will phone this afternoon's group to tell them we're running late.
The third is my handbag, packed for the stroll to a lakeside hotel to spend the couple of hours before setting off for the bus. Umbrella, plastic bag with swimming things, purse, Kindle. At the hotel I find I have misremembered the layout: it's not quite on the shore and the only swimming is in a very blue pool which I don't fancy. So I order a hot chocolate and sit on the scythed lawn, with palm trees, canna lilies, Peruvian lilies, marigolds, ferns and a network of clipped euonymus hedges – pretty much universal. I haven't got my camera but you can imagine the scene from many a holiday advertisement.
Back at the guesthouse I collect suitcase and backpack from the luggage store and regroup. At least the swimming things are not wet. They go into the suitcase along with the squashy handbag. Now I'm down to a manageable two bags, ready for the moto ride to the bus station. I ask the receptionist to tell the moto driver to take the metalled road so I can steady the suitcase. It's trying to rain so I put on the rain jacket.
As my helmet is buckled on the rain strengthens. Moto dismissed, I'm filling the extra hour writing this.