S, os

Im packing my bag for my solo journey to Vietnam.

Now Ive travelled a lot in Australia trucking to gigs mostly in the Mighty Camira (Marks I and II). And I will miss her (the car). Weve been together nearly every day for years.

I dreamt last night I took the Camira with me to Vietnam. Hmmm. She and I sloshing through the Mekong delta like a US troop carrier, rumbling up the central highlands, wheel in hand, like a Mongol army and nosing around the French quarter of Hanoi like a 50s Peugeot. (I dont mention this dream to my girlfriend. She wouldnt understand; she doesnt drive.)

Ive been using the same old travel bag for years. But I wouldnt use it for overseas travel. Lord knows what traces of contraband stuff a beagle might sniff out in its seams and corners. (I mean Im not a druggie but I do spend time with that most wayward of people, entertainers.) Yep. That bag has been around. It practically winks at you.

And theres no way of locking it. Its a relic from days when people didnt lock their homes or bags, or bribe enemy dictators with public money.

But for this international trip Im being careful. Look what happened to Schappelle. (No, not the eyebrows, the bust.) And she wasnt even sleeping with the enemy.

So I bought one of those dicky-looking suitcases with wheels and an extendable handle.

Sure they look like something from Desperate Housewives but they supposedly work really well. Yeah, right. Maybe on tiled airport floors but when I tried to wheel it down the path from my shack it got stuck on a wattle root. Useless.

Id like to modify mine for greater ground clearance, adding off-road wheels, a stereo, fog lights and central locking. Maybe even a bull bar (for Vietnamese clouded leopards). And a mini-bar. (Its hot in Nam.)

Then youd have something that would impress even those muscled young backpackers from Germany (and the men) as you passed them on the steep hiking trails of Sapa in north-west Vietnam, the souped-up suitcase riding smoothly behind you, handle in one hand, an iced drink in the other and Cold Chisel on the stereo.

I thought about a backpack but I really dont think it would go with my pre-postcolonial fashion: beige hemp slacks and shirt, leather shoes, panama hat and gin. (Im thinking French cigarettes but in Vietnam, the French, like the Yanks, are losers.)

So the dicky roller suitcase looks a bit Big W but I couldnt find a silk-lined, all-leather suitcase in Lismore.

But Ill keep my eyes out for one in Vietnam. Apparently you can get anything you want in Vietnam (or at least an exact copy of what you want).

Tam biet.

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Strength in diversity

Strength in diversity

Multicultural women's group offers support to newcomers to region

'Together we have achieved a lot'

'Together we have achieved a lot'

Thank you to everyone