I’m home again, as is the giant suitcase I carried with me to store all of the STUFF that was on our US shopping list. When I left, that suitcase was half empty. When I returned, it was bursting at the seams. (And at 67 pounds, it was within three pounds of the maximum allowed “overweight baggage” weight. Whew.) All of the various liquids, such as the eyedrops that I can’t get here in Portugal, were carefully bagged in ziplocks in case of disaster. And everything arrived intact, except the one thing I hadn’t thought to protect: a 1-pound bag of maltballs from my favorite local chocolate store in Eugene. The thing was sealed shut; why would I need to put it into a separate bag?
Stupid me, not to think about what low air pressure at altitude would do to a heat-sealed bag. Ballooned bag = pressure applied to the seal from the inside = neatly opened bag.
The first thing I saw when I opened up the giant suitcase was the empty malt ball bag. There wasn’t a mark on it; it looked like it had never been sealed at all. The second thing I saw was the scattering of malt balls ALL OVER the interior of the suitcase.
I am now congratulating myself for taking such precautions with the temperature of our car’s boot space. We stayed in Lisboa overnight, where we parked in a spot that would have maximum morning shade. This was critical because I was not about to bring that 67-pound case up two narrow flights of stairs to my brother-in-law’s flat. It stayed in the car, where the sun never got to it. Before we left for home this morning, I lowered the back seats so that the air conditioning would reach the boot and keep everything cool.
My strategies worked perfectly: none of the malt balls got a chance to melt, so no damage was done. Given that it was 35 degrees Celsius when we drove home (95 degrees F.), it could have been nasty. Besides the fact that I’d have spent a week cleaning everything, I would have wasted a whole pound of precious malt balls!
Thank goodness that tragedy was averted.