Sunday, December 29, 2013
The Gift of Adventures Without Checking Baggage
Our son Erik and his family sent us a gift that promises to lighten our luggage, something P and I value very much. We never check baggage after too many lost luggage events, so we're always seeking ways to need fewer things when we travel. The gift that arrived yesterday will help us do just that! It's a strange rubbery bag called a scrubba that has a clear plastic window running the length of it and a flexible washboard inside attached to the bottom of the bag (the bottom when it's laid on one of its fat sides). There's an air valve and a stiff piece across the opening with a clasp attached to the two ends of it. The instructions read: 6 easy steps to clean laundry: 1. fill (and there are two lines marked on the outside of the bag near the window, one for a tee shirt, a pair of underwear, and a pair of socks; and one for two tee shirts, two pairs of underwear, and two pairs of socks.) 2. roll and clip (the top down to enclose water, detergent, and clothing in the bag) 3. deflate (open the valve and let out any extra air that's trapped in the bag) 4. rub (for 30 seconds for a quick wash and for 3 minutes for a "automatic washer equivalent wash") 5. rinse (open the bag, drain out the water, refill with more water, about a gallon, and swoosh the clothes around in there) 6. dry (to help with that there's a travel towel made of some magical micro-fiber wicking stuff that sucks the water out of the clothes and gets it ready to hang up; and there's also a clothesline made of twined elastic that works without any clothespins and has suction cups as well as clips for hanging it up)
Erik knows that I love this kind of thing and will happily bring it to Spain with me in April to use in the apartment we have rented there. One of my forever favorite books is Francis Galton's 1872 book The Art of Travel: Or, Shifts and Contrivances in Wild Countries. I've learned much from Galton's book-- how to build a coracle, how to cook Tough Meat in the bush, how to write in the dark without wasting candles, how to make a donkey stop braying. Here's Galton on how to do laundry: Washing Clothes-- Substitute for Soap.-- The lye of ashes and the gall of animals are the readiest substitutes for soap. . . . When preparing for a regular day's washing, it is a good plan to boil an abundance of ashes in water, strain off the lye, adding the gall of any animal you may have killed, and let the clothes soak in it. Next morning, take them to the water-side, and wash and beat them with a flat piece of wood, or lay them on a broad stone and knead and wring them with the hands." Galton would have definitely approved of the Scrubba. Thanks Erik, Kerstin, Nate, and Abby!