Here’s the deal. Mongolia is a land-locked country where there is no/none/zero marine influence to moderate the weather. I am from a coastal Mediterranean climate (the north coast of California) where the average temperature swing is from an average of 55F in January all the way up to 65F in August. Are we weather weenies here? Yes, we are.
I got on Weather Underground and checked the current six day forecast for Ulaanbaatar. The daytime highs and nightime lows read like this: 80, 30, 50, 32, 59, 33, 66, 42, 69, 37, 89, 44 with chances of rain every day. Not sure what it will like when I’m there, this being the first trip in the summer, but I’m going to be ready for heat, cold and rain. Thank goodness it looks like it cools down at night. I don’t sleep well when it stays warm. We pretty much always have a window open at least a little here at home.
I’m now three and a half weeks from departure and I’ve dragged out the luggage and a lot of the stuff I’m taking. I’ve printed out my packing list. An extra camera battery and two additional memory cards are on their way. The failing MacBookPro’s battery has been replaced. New light hiking boots have arrived, along with a lightweight rain poncho. I have new, sturdy walking shoes. I’ll probably take the Teva sandals and a pair of nice shoes for when I’m in town.
David, my husband, and I went over everything that needs power this evening. The gear falls into two categories: stuff that needs juice to re-charge and stuff that runs on batteries only. I plan to do my re-charging either when I’m somewhere that has electricity or by way of an adapter that plugs into a car cigarette lighter. That will cover the MacBookPro, the iPhone and the Wolverine external hard drive, which will be my backup image storage. The iPhone can also be charged by way of the MacBook when it’s plugged in. The charger for the camera batteries and also the one for the Wolverine can be plugged in to a wall socket or the lighter adapter.
The immersion heater will only work when I can plug it in. If there’s no electricity, then I’ll use the little “stove”, which I also need to test run. A friend said that I’ll need to get a lighter, so that’s been added to the list.
I’ll also have a GPS, Tikka headlamp and a travel alarm which are battery only. I’ll carry one set of extra batteries for each.
This sounds like a lot of hassle, but once I’m on the road and organized, I have a routine that involves always charging things whenever I have the chance while I read or am at dinner or overnight.
I dress in layers. No jeans. Too bulky. Instead I’ll have a couple of pairs of LL Bean ripstop cotton pants, plus a pair of loose pull-ons for on the plane. For town, I may take a sleeveless dress I got some years ago at Hilo Hattie’s in Hawaii in case it’s really hot and a pair of “town” pants. I have a Patagonia fleece pullover that I found at a outdoor equipment consignment shop in Berkeley for about $30. That, a jacket and a set of smart wool thermals will keep me warm. I’ll take two pairs of heavy smart wool socks, too, just in case.
Otherwise, a couple of field t-shirts, a couple of town t-shirts, my denim shirt, which can be a light jacket, a turtleneck and a couple of tank tops. I’ve really pared down the clothes over the years. I just want to have something clean to change into if I get hot and sweaty and while I’m washing the dirty stuff. The humidity is really low in Mongolia, but the insides of the buildings in UB can be sweatboxes.
I’m debating whether or not to take my grey Mongolian del, the traditional item of clothing. It’s kind of bulky, but it makes a great robe/lounge around/throw-on-to-run-to-the-toilet garment. I’ll probably try to squeeze it in.
Still sorting out art equipment. More on that later.