Help me please understand one tricky sentence (asap)

“Although I seldom look my elegant best drenched with sweat and with damp hair plastered to my head, the heat was only one of my problems.”

can anyone please rewrite the sentence in some other words so that I could understand it better? I am doing the translation, so I need to understand it and translate it exactly as it was meant. but the sentence sounds a bit illogical to me. I guess there should be a comma somewhere or maybe there is a mistake and it should be “looked” instead of “look”. I don´t know whether she wants to say that she does not look her elegant best now or she usually does not look her elegant best or is it meant ironically that her elegant best is actually being drenched with sweat?
what do you think?

if you need a wider context, here it is:
“I arrived at Koh Samui Island Airport… It was snowing when I left home, but… in Thailand, it was summer… By the time I collected my somewhat conspicious suitcase on wheels - every other item of luggage appeared to be a large backpack - I resembled a rickshaw operator after a long shift. Although I seldom look my elegant best drenched with sweat and with damp hair plastered to my head, the heat was only one of my problems. There was also… I had nowhere to stay.” (excertp from LornaMartin´s book)

and some other questions:
1.“every other item” means “every second item” or “all the other items”?
2. “appeared to be a large backpack” means that it seemed to be or that it actually was (i.e. it turned out to be) a large backpack?

I need this for my thesis which has to be handed in tomorrow, so if you can, answer today, please.
thanks a lot,

Hi Struudla,

The writer means that it was so hot she was covered in sweat and her hair was so damp (from the sweat and humidity) that it was stuck to her head. By saying 'although I seldom look my best…" she is acknowledging that it would be difficult for her to look good covered in sweat in most circumstances, but in this particular instance she is worried about a lot more than just the heat, and the fact that she doesn’t look good isn’t really of any concern next to the fact that she has nowhere to stay.

“Although I don’t very often look good covered in sweat and with damp hair, I wasn’t concerned about the effect of the heat (on my appearance) because I had a much bigger problem to worry about.”

very other item - every second item - so half the bags were large backpacks.

“appeared to be” - I think that ‘appeared to be’ probably relates more to the ‘every second item’ phrase… There were such great numbers of large backpacks that it seemed that every second item was one (though it might not have been exactly half of them). The backpacks really were backpacks though.

About the rest, every other item means all the items except the one being mentioned, appeared to be a large package implies that you had thought that it wasn’t too large at first but then you realised it was.

thank you very very much, Beeesneees. this helps a lot.

Sorry Blue Snow, but you are wrong about both those things.
Please see my earlier message for the true meanings.