Headed for China this January 2010 for the Annular Eclipse?
What’s an eclipse hunter without his tools ? Get that checklist and see if you have considered bringing this stuff. Give yourself a point for every item considered.
1. Passport… Perhaps the most important piece of your luggage. No passport no entry. Nuff said. And be sure it’s at least 6 mos. valid. China requires visa. Allot 4 regular days for processing
2. Toiletries… hahaha.. A hunter needs to be vain at times to look good on the camera. But don’t bring the whole set.. One thing you might miss out is lip balm.. Weather will be very cold in January, you ‘ll need to moisturize your lips regularly.
3. GPS… This tool comes in handy to get your exact latitude, longitude and elevation. Essential for contact timings. Don’t forget the AA batteries
4. Cash… Most hostels don’t accept credit card.. Bring lots of mooolah.. Better bring dollars and have it exchanged at an accredited bank. Changing dollars at the airport is not advisable because they charge a considerable fee.
5. Wristwatch.. For the timing of the contacts
6. Digital Camera.. ..Of course while you’ll be using a DSLR for the sun shots it pays to have a point and shoot cam handy.
7. Hotel Info… In Chinese characters.. Most taxi drivers can’t read the alphabet. Have your hotel info in Chinese characters handy and you’ll never get lost
8. Cellphone… Of course you would want to answer that incoming call.. It’s PhP 80/minute for int’l roaming . But then it pays to have it handy for emergency purposes. Besides you can receive text message from your envious friends in the Philippines for free. Texting back though is PhP 20/ text.
9. Photographs… Some hostels have this sort of shrine for travellers (Think Mt Pulag Shrine). Leave your mark by posting a good photo of your group.
10. Mini-flashlight… I just squeezed this in.. Flashlights might come in handy in case of power failure. We had that experience when we’re in Shanghai. A small key-chain would do the trick.
11. Mini-tripod… Big things come in small packages. Comes in handy for those spur of the moment group shots. This toy elicited hearty response from my foreigner friends when I whipped it out for a group pictorial.
12. Credit Card… While most establishments don’t accept credit cards, having one is a good insurance.. You’ll never know when you need one.
13. Mementos…. Bring memorable stuff from the Philippines or from your group. Chances are you’ll meet a cute lady whom you’d like to leave something to help her remember you by.. (ehem ehem, sounds familiar to someone I hope)
14. Chargers… As Lady Gaga said… Russian roulette is never fun without a gun. Your gadgets are useless without the power.
15. Calling Card… Chances are the person sitting beside you on the plane is a fellow eclipse hunter or a media personality or has a contact to where you’re headed There is always wealth of opportunities of meeting folks on trips like this.. Have these cards handy so you can give your contact details in a jiffy.
16. Thumb drive… Handy for swapping files.
17. Pen… Need to fill out that entry form? Need to write down the address of your hostel? Need to scribble the cute girl's number? Need I say more?
18. Scissors and Cutters.. They come in handy in most unexpected circumstances.. cutting ropes for your banner… constructing a box… devising a filter for your cam.. Throw in a baggage tape and masking tape to complete the set . Just make sure you pack it in on your checked in baggage as sharp objects are not allowed in the cabin.
19. Medicines… A hunter is only good if he’s not sick.. Make sure to include paracetamol, ascorbic acid, ibuprofen and loperamide in your pack.
20. Laptop.. Kinda bulky but essential for storing thousand of bytes of digital images and videos.. Besides you would need to stay connected with the gang.
That’s it folks. Hope this list gives you a head start on your hunt.