I looked at all the items piled on the bed, on the cedar chest, on the bureau and then I looked at the suitcase. Again at the stuff. Then the suitcase. There was no way all of that was going to fit into one bag. And at least half of the “stuff” was not mine but rather the components of an ever-expanding list of needed items that Brandon sent from Beijing – things he said he could not easily get there.
(Brandon has been in Beijing since May 2009 when he started a three-month internship at the China Daily, an English language Chinese newspaper. He left for China about four days after graduating from Penn State. About half-way through the internship, Brandon decided that he would really like to stay in China longer than the three months. He also felt he had a better chance at getting a job in China than back in the States. He signed a one-year contract with the Beijing Review, an English language weekly newsmagazine similar to TIME or U.S. News and World Report. He is one of several foreign language experts with the magazine. He edits copy written in English by Chinese reporters so that it reads more like standard English than Chinglish.)
I really didn’t want to pay for an extra bag but that would have been cheaper than mailing so many items to him. I found the Continental Airlines Web site somewhat confusing about the number of bags one could check. But my wife, Mary Ruth, was pretty sure I could check two bags on a long international flight – and she was right.
And so I was ready. One large suitcase and a smaller one. And my canvas Jack Baurer man-bag carry-on which I planned to use throughout the trip to carry my camera, water supply, sunscreen, sun glasses, umbrella, tour guide books, snacks, tissues, handy wipes, migraine medication and anything else I might need.