Saturday, June 22, 2013

Necessary stuff

For future Extended India Travelers, I thought I would post the stuff I've been collecting for the trip to give you an idea of travel supplies.  We've been told that medicine all needs to be in its original packaging so that changes my usual travel where I throw the tylenol and advil and migraine excedrine all together in one bottle.

To start with, this is my new cool camera backpack.   It's going to be a bit of a hassle to take my dSLR camera with me, but how can I go to a dream destination without my good camera??  I bought this bag at Sams Club on a special $69.99 marked from $129.99.  The front part of the bag is for a laptop and the back is for the camera and lenses and cords etc.  This will be one of my carry-on bags for the plane.


And I also need my electrical converter type things so take a look at this stuff:

Shopping!    :)   Ok, starting at the top left, there are 2 boxes of travel converters with adapters.One I bought long ago for a trip to Europe, and the other I bought at Menards for under $20.  Find a description of what could be needed here:  In the US, for the most part, our items that use electricity are made for 110V so we need to convert it to be used in India. Also, our plugs don't fit in their holes (yeah, that's a technical description :) ) so we also need adapters.  And since the power is not as, hmmm, don't know a word for smooth or consistent in the electricity world, anyway, we need a surge protector.  Some things, like our computers and cell phones, are made for dual voltage so they can plug directly into the surge protector and adaptor and skip the converter.  So, moving right in the picture is a Belkin Travel surge protector (around $15 on and below it, 4 adaptors for India ($6.50 on Different countries get different adapters so make sure you have the ones specifically for Asia/India.
Just below those, 2 2-to-3 pin adaptors.  My converters are both ones that only take 2-pin plugs.  Most plus have the ground so they become 3-pin.  This allows that 3-pin to now plug into my converter.  I found these at Menards for under a dollar for both.

Hearing that most curling irons burn out even with the converter, I bought a dual voltage curling iron on for around $20.   With all the humidity there, this is probably a wasted purchase but I hold out hope for looking good at least ONE day while I'm there.

Nestled in by the curling iron is a flashlight and batteries.  I'm prepared for the power outages.  Our hotel will probably not have them, but who knows where our weekend travels will take us.

Middle row includes some travel bags.  The long skinny one is a PacSafe travel wallet ($30).  The straps have metal inside to keep them from being cut.  There is a place for the passport in there.  The gray bag next to it is a cross-body travel 'purse' designed by the Heys company.($40)

And on the bottom row, a doorstop.  In the book Wanderlust and Lipstick For Women Traveling to India ( a traveler suggested a door stop.  It's a comfort thing to let you know that at least while you are in the room, no one will be able to come in.  Once again, at our main hotel, there will probably be deadbolts, but at our weekend excursion hotels, this may not be the case.  Rounding out the row, headphones, portable fans (did I mention it's going to be HOT!, and a multiple plug surge protector.

This purchase speaks to the what-if side of my personality.  Certainly not necessary but I feel better that I have it.  Obviously water is a problem when going to India.  We're only allowed to drink bottled water and brush our teeth with bottled water.  This item was recommended to me and I did research on it.It's small and lightweight and will fit in my bag whenever we go somewhere.  I'm thinking if we're out somewhere and it's hotter than heck and we don't have ready access to bottled water, we can use this and we won't get sick.   You can read bout it here:  I bought mine for around  $70 at on sale.

So, yeah, I've bought a lot of stuff you're thinking.   Since the trip is delayed, I added a rain poncho to my stuff since our visit may now run into monsoon season.   Next to the rain poncho, I have some of those packing bags where you put your stuff inside and then squeeze out the air. And then there is a thing that will bungee a smaller bag to my large suitcase.  How I am going to get all of my luggage through the airport is a mystery.  Oh yeah, I also had to buy a giant suitcase.  I had one, but need two for the trip.  Maybe not so much for going over, but definitely for going back. :)  Suitcases at that size run between $100 and $150.  I stopped at Goodwill to deliver a load of stuff I was getting rid of and decided to stop in to see if they had a large decent suitcase.  Woohoo!  A Samsonite suitcase in excellent shape and no odd smells was $12.99.  I was pretty proud of that buy.

Mosquitos and sun are going to be a problem so we were instructed to buy mosquito repellent, in both the big and the travel size, that contained at least 30% DEET (DEET being the active ingredient in mosquito repellent).  OFF!, the most popular mosquito repellent here has between 7% - 25% so not enough.  I did find this brand at both WalMart and Meijer and it contains 40% DEET.   And there's some travel toilet paper in there as my hope for avoiding public bathrooms may not always be possible.

I bought pepper spray although I need to google to see if I can even take it.  And rounding out the picture on the bottom right are two kinds of those water flavorers because although I can sterilize the water with my Steri-Pen, I can't make it taste any better.  So this will cover any yuck...or that is my hope.

This was my trip to the Dollar Store for supplies.  Notice the toilet seat covers in the middle.  That's my positive outlook hoping that there WILL BE a seat on the toilet.

We have been told that all medicines must be in original packages so here is my medicine stash. And there included are my Malaria pills.

So that's what I have purchased so far for the trip.  Whew!  Any questions?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Trip Status: Delayed

Delayed.  :(

Ahhhh, the disappointment.  My trip is now officially delayed.  Red tape seems to be the official pronouncement.  Patience has never been in my list of character traits and waiting to find out when I can once again ramp up on the excitement is exhausting.  You're going, you're not going, your're going,  you're delayed....Ugh. 

In the mean time, my body has been stabbed with too many needles.  New little antibodies are coursing through my veins, or wherever antibodies actually hang out and perform their magic.

We have a Travel Clinic at our local hospital.   I filled out lots of paperwork for my first visit and when I took my papers back to the woman at the desk she said, "You're here for immunizations?  Ohhhhhh, those really hurt!". (Me, blank stare) For God sake woman!!!  Have you not heard the phrase Discretion is the better part of valor??   I said, "Really?  Have you had them?"   She said, "No".  (Me, blank stare.  Perhaps a few blinks). 

 I got a Polio vaccine and an Influenza vaccine in one arm, a Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B in the other, a tiny little box of live Typhoid pills to rush home to the refrigerator, and a presciption for Malaria pills to pick up from the pharmacy.    After giving me the shots, the nurse said I needed to sit in the room for 15 minutes so they could monitor me.  She said "If you have any problems, we're right outside, ok?"  PROBLEMS???   What do you mean PROBLEMS?   Do I crawl to the door?  Scratch on it?  Wi-Fi was unsuable and so was my 4G so without my phone I scanned the walls for 15 minutes waiting to feel something funny.  I squelched the desire to look through all of the cabinets in the room which I was pretty proud of.   After 15 minutes, she came back in and released me.  I passed!  Reactions?   My arms were sore felt like sacks of potatoes later in the day.   Other than that I had no reaction.   

A trip to my regular doctor to make sure I was all ok for my trip added another shot - this time shingles.  Sure!  What the heck.   I don't want to get shingles so bring it on.   More little antibodies joined the gang.  Reaction?  None. 

My second visit to the travel clinic was  because the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine was suggested as an addition to our first round of shots.  Ok.  Reading about these illnesses makes any side effect pale in comparison to the actual disease.  Reaction?  A wicked headache the next day...most of the day.  My fellow travellers complained of this one too although one had extreme fatigue and two others had a stiff neck. 

I decided it was time to start the Typhoid pills.  I was waiting for a good time to start them.  Ha!  What's a good time to introduce a live virus into your body?    The thing with the Typhoid is you take one pill every other day for a week.  You take it first thing in the morning with a beverage that is no warmer than your body temperature and you can't eat for two hours.  It needs to stay refrigerated.  I started on a Monday and by the end of my 2 hour fast, I didn't want anything to do with food.  Blech.  Reaction?  NAUSEA and a dry mouth.  Day two was a day away from the pills so I started feeling better.  Day 3 took another pill.  Worse nausea.  Blechhhhhhh.   Day four is a day away from the pill but I feel lousy and my body hurts.   Day 5 and I am sooooo looking forward to taking that next damn Typhoid pill.  And to make it better, day 5 of my Typhoid and I have to return for my third visit to the travel clinic for my second dose of Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B.   So, I army crawl into the travel clinic. (Not really, I just wanted to add some dramatic emphasis and maybe work up a little sympathy in my readers).  The nurse's aide takes my blood pressure, takes my temperature and then leaves to go get the nurse to give me the vaccine.  The nurse comes in and says, "Do you feel ok?".  A change, because this time she's asking me before I even get the shot. Of course the answer at this point is NO but I had to leave work early and I have been sitting in the waiting area so now I waffle between the truth which is NO and just getting the shot over with.  She says, "You have a fever and you're right on the edge of where we can't give you this vaccine".  Seriously??  I told her I wasn't tolerating my Typhoid medicine very well but wasn't otherwise sick.  She gave me the shot.  I waited the 15-minute problem time, stayed upright, and they let me go.  Reaction?  Nothing this time.  No sack-of-potato arm.

Unless something comes up, I have to return to the travel clinic one more time for a second dose of Japanese Encephalitis in two weeks, and a third dose of Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B in 5 months.  Oh, and I start the Malaria pills one day before I leave through one week after I come back.  Wouldn't it be interesting to see what's actually going on inside my body with all of these live viruses competing?  Should there be combat pay included in this?  The great news is I will be protected from the Hepatitises for life and Typhoid for 5 years.  Maybe I should start planning one of my other top 5 bucket list items...a trip down the Amazon!