Less than 24 hours now, and everything is falling into place. The passport and visas came back yesterday, a day earlier than expected, and the passport is considerably chunkier than when it left me (although disappointingly, it tastes much the same) now that it has an assortment of papers and stickers attached by the various embassies.
A shopping expedition on Wednesday helped me avail myself of the latest in travel knick-knacks. A stunning new backpack - complete with pokey little pockets in all sorts of shapes and sizes and locations - as well as a money belt, padlocks, gloves, some snappy new clothes, and best of all from a two-dollar shop: six Australian map shaped key-rings, made in China like all good manufacturing is, and bought with the intention of being given to North Korean youngsters to assure them that the world really does care for them. Diplomacy, backpacker-style.
Now the backpack is full with clothes, shoes, books, toiletries and trinkets for North Koreans. Thankfully I'm big enough to carry it on my back without making too many chiropractors fabulously wealthy.
It's strange how every object needs to be carefully considered. With only a limited amount of space and weight, every object needs to justify itself. Will I really wear that shirt or that book or that tube of toothpaste? Decisions, decisiona, and I won't know if I've made the right ones until I get there.