I have two hundred dollars worth of vaccinations flowing through my veins right now. I feel like some kind of Immunowoman, armored against the world's food and water-borne diseases. Bacteria trembles at my approach and such. Rawr.
I didn't budget for all this health prep-- my mistake. If my dad hadn't been with me at the travel clinic and insisted on my safety or whatever, I probably would have saved the two hundred for pad thai and elephant rides and then crossed my fingers against Hepatitis A. As it is, though, the good doc highly recommended that I get shots for tetanus (now with anti-whooping cough bonus material), typhoid, and Hep A. Then he said some terrifying things about dengue fever and brought out the needles.
The doc also talked to me about malaria and traveler's diarrhea. He told me that the giant green malaria pills I have won't be necessary in Thailand but that I should take them if I plan to venture into Cambodia or Laos like I want to. Earlier this week, the pharmacist dispensed the pills to me along with a warning against laying down after taking them and a face suggesting how the burning would feel in my esophagus. :0#
Apparently 60% of visitors to Thailand end up with traveler's diarrhea. Nowadays whenever anyone says 'diarrhea' I think of Kyle Killen's thelettereleven.blogspot post: "You know that you're ill when you're packing for a two day trip and you find yourself thinking, 'how many pairs of underwear should I bring? 4? 10? You know what, I better just bring them all'."
Today my dad and I took an Argentine tango lesson from the charming trilingual tiger lady featured in this video: http://web.me.com/cpsociety/Tango_Del_Rey/Tango.html. Tomorrow's my day to tie up loose ends for the trip: make copies of my travel documents, make myself a Thai phrases study guide (how do you say "I need to buy more underwear"?), make a last run on the pharmacy-- that sort of thing. Saturday is all about beach ultimate at San Diego's One Love One Beach tournament, and Sunday is about Easter with the extended fam. I leave from LAX at midnight that night and stop in Taipei and then Bangkok on my way to Chiang Mai, where I will proceed to pass out in jet-lagged glory at a hostel called SpicyThai Backpackers. Apparently Chiang Mai is a great place to be during the Thai New Year and Songkran Festival-- a few days in mid-April when everyone participates in a country-wide water fight. Street vendors sell water guns and everyone is a fair target, regardless of age, nationality, or willingness. How do you say "I contracted a water-borne illness because I was no match for a Super Soaker"?
I'll be adventuring for a month, backpacking solo. For all of you who are worried about me, I'll tell you that after my dad's safety lectures and his insistence on me reading "The Beach," I am sufficiently paranoid. And vaccinated. I am ready to go. Immunowoman out.