Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Packing Anxiety

Packing for a week's travel used to send me in such a tailspin. But I thought I'd finally grown up and gotten over that little anxiety. Frankly, I assumed, since I have now lived in chic, glamorous Paris for a grand total of 18 months, that packing for Beirut would be a no-brainer. My hostess reminded me before departure that it was still pretty summery here, and suggested that I would need some LBDs (translation for the menfolk: Little Black Dresses) for the nightlife and khakis or nice pants for daytime. No problemo. Beirut, a mere four-hour flight from Paris, couldn't be all that different, right?

But somehow, having not seen hot sunny weather for over a year in Paris (except the warm and glorious month of April) I kinda forgot what hot truly is. Canicule of July 2006? Can't seem to conjure it up. Honestly. Beirut is still in glorious summertime, a season I'd all but forgotten this year.

I don't know what possessed me, but I packed some early fall clothes, thin silk long sleeved tops, silk pants, nice shoes. When Beirut dresses up, it's dressy. I happily obliged -- but for a Beirut winter, not September. Oops.

Just about everything I packed was wrong. It wasn't my hostess's fault. I just processed the information through my skewed Paris filter and screwed up completely.

For example. The LBD? Well, I have no choice but to wear it tonight to a formal dinner. But it's wool crepe. The evening temperature here is easily still in the 80s and -- duh-- we're right on the Mediterranean, so humidity is a way of life. What was I thinking? I'll have to glisten sweetly all evening.

I left my casual jeans at home, thinking that Beirut was too dressy for faded black denim. How do I mess up? Let me count the ways. So I found myself wearing microfiber khaki lookalikes while hiking up and down the ruins of Baalbek, Byblos, and Tyre. As in microfiber that is thin but doesn't wrinkle -- or breathe. Works kind of like those plastic sweat suits for losing water weight.

"Oh, and if it's really hot," I thought while tossing too many inappropriate clothes into my suitcase last week, "I'll wear a few debardeurs to keep cool." Non, non, non! Of course it is not respectful in many public places in Lebanon for women's shoulders to be bared. I had known that, and had assumed I would remedy that faux pas by wrapping a shawl around them when necessary. Ix-nay. How much do YOU feel like swaddling yourself in a Pashmina when you've already got beads of sweat combining to create a constant rivulet between your shoulder blades? I think not.

Now I'm packing to return to Paris. You'll be able to spot me at Charles de Gaulle tomorrow. I'll be the fashion disaster arriving in Terminal 2.

No comments:

Locations of visitors to this page
Travel Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory blog search directory Targeted Website Traffic - Webmasters helping webmasters develop high value relevant links. Promoting ethical web-marketing using the time trusted pillars of relevance and popularity.