Preparing for a trip to Central America when it’s a snowy winter in the Rockies can be a bit frustrating, especially when the only thing you really want in the world is one of those slick little pairs of quick-drying pants that zip off into shorts. Shouldn’t be such a tall order, but in January in Albuquerque, it’s next to impossible. The search took me on an urban trek of my own from REI to the mall to the thrift store and back again. Now, that’s a real adventure.Perhaps unwisely, I chose to start at the top with REI. They were pretty low on anything in my size, and the only pants that would be suitable for the trip were pretty damn heavy for a jungle trek, and, while I love REI, don’t we all feel just a little bit silly wearing pants that cost the equivalent of a month’s pay in the country that we’re buying them to visit? So I couldn’t pull the trigger on that sale and it was on to the mall, which was just a huge mistake for obvious reasons. I quickly went running in the other direction.
The quest continues: A more middle of the road sporting goods store? They wont get them in until March. Wal-Mart? Out of the question. Don’t even go there.
Through some odd logic though, Target is perfectly fine in my book. They’re sold out of the zipper pants / shorts, but I did snag some great deals on synthetic-fiber shirts that are quick-drying, breathable, and of course, cheap. The quality might not be top-notch, but I don’t want to haul my best duds around in a backpack, and there’s the whole western guilt thing over expensive items that I mentioned earlier. All they need to do is keep me cool and dry for four weeks. If they fall apart in the process, as they might, no problem.
But still no pants. So, it’s on to the Goodwill, where at long last I scored a pair of synthetic pants that could be rolled and fastened into shorts. They were a yellow tag special, totaling five bucks. Not bad. Mission Accomplished.
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Oh, and those shirts I bought at Target? It’s worth noting that they were made in Honduras. Maybe I’ll check in on the factory.