No one in Bude has ever been to Bhutan. Now why is that… Let’s find out. Bhutan is a small country, next to Tibet and Nepal. Mid autumn seems like a good time to go. I’ve asked my good friend Kate to join me. She agrees, as long as we will come back. No problem, a fortnight should be long enough.
So where shall we stay, what shall we do. Booking agents in Bhutan all promise heaven on earth. We are feeling already a bit overwhelmed. Luckily my well-experienced travel-friends Don and Katie-Ellen from the West Midlands recommend Travel-counsellor Sharon Matthews. Word-of-mouth always works best.
Sharon has booked our hotels, she has found an English speaking guide and a proper jeep. She advises us to get some safety precautions: injections against diphteria, hepatitis A, malaria, rabies, tetanus, typhoid and yellow fever. Oh, really? Well..
So I went to nurse Hilary at the Neetside Surgery yesterday. Are you right or left-handed?, Hilary wants to know. Left-handed. Good, then I will give you the nasty Hepatitis B in your right arm. You will get a bit of fever and you may feel a bit grotty. And the other one is against tetanus and typhoid… Oh, and let’s see if you need something against cholera, Japanese Encephalitis and rabies. Hmm, you know, altitude sickness may be a problem. What? Rabies, yes. Rabies is usually transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal, mostly a dog, sometimes a bat. Don’t let them bite you, or scratch you, or lick you on the eye, nose or mouth. Symptoms can take some time to develop, but when they do, the condition is almost always fatal.
Mind you, water used for drinking and brushing teeth should have first been boiled or sterilised. Milk should be boiled. You’ll need socks in the airplane. When one leg gets very swollen, find yourself a hospital. And take gloves with you. Earplugs, because at night wild dogs are howling like mad. Don’t forget a mosquito spray. And painkillers. Water purification tablets. Anti-malaria pills. Go to the pharmacy and get yourself a set of clean needles, in case you have to go to hospital and you need a drip. Of course you know that new sexual partnerships and unprotected sex abroad is not uncommon?
Kate said, “Cora, why don’t we go to Torquay instead?” I’m gonna lie down now.