Chris and I went to the travel medical centre on Mill Street today, since the world overseas is a seething cesspit of hideous tropical maladies. Also because I’m a total pussy who hasn’t had a single vaccination since they were mandatory in primary school, so I’m not really safe to live here in Perth either. I thought I was being so clever when I wriggled my way out of hepatitis and meningitis vaccinations in high school. Now I want to go back in time and punch that kid in the face.

In any case, the last shot I had (tetanus, 2000) left me pale and sickly for hours afterwards, and I think I threw up when I got my measles shot the previous year, so I wasn’t looking forward to getting an estimated ten or eleven vaccinations for travelling. While we were sitting in the doctor’s office discussing exactly what we’d need I started to feel increasingly queasy and had to splash some water on my face. I am a creampuff.

Getting the shots themselves wasn’t too bad, though, so I guess my body has manned up since I was 12 years old even if my mind hasn’t. Today I got a new diptheria/tetanus shot, polio, the first of my Hepatitis B shots and the first of my rabies shots (those two both require a three-week course). In the coming weeks we also need to get typhoid and yellow fever, and decide which anti-malarials we’re going to take, since each type comes with a different set of fun side effects. Diseases sure do suck, although I guess they suck worse for the people living in the third world who actually have to get them.

Including consultancy it cost $270 for that session alone. Medicare doesn’t cover travel vaccinations. I went to the doctor for something unrelated the other day, and paid $70 out of pocket for a five-minute consultation. Isn’t Australia supposed to have free healthcare? I’ve often said that the fact that America doesn’t have free healthcare is absolutely mind-boggling, but somehow I’ve managed to become an adult with my own Medicare card without really learning how our system works at all.

I’m sort of bummed out about money in general, because these vaccinations are going to cost way more than I thought they would, and yesterday I found out that my hours at Coles have been slashed so I’m going to be earning less than $400 a week. I’ve rung up my other job three times since returning from Collie, and my boss has been “unavailable” every time. I always got the distinct impression I was just a Christmas casual, but I assumed a small business owner would be professional enough to tell me that rather than avoid me.

I’m sitting on just over $13,000, so I should easily reach $15,000 by April, but that was always the absolute minimum. I’d be a lot happier with $17,000 or $18,000. Incidentally, what is it with travel blogs and being coy about how much you spend? I find it very frustrating when reading about other travellers and trying to gauge how much our own trip might cost. It’s not the 1950’s anymore. Grow up.

Did some more planning for the first leg of the trip. The biggest hurdle is still the Russian visa/Trans-Siberian clusterfuck, or “chaos snail” as we have christened it. Getting a Russian visa requires an invitation and confirmation and you need an exit visa and all this tiresome bureaucratic claptrap. I don’t think it’s been updated since the Soviet era, and it’s going to be our single biggest headache. I couldn’t even pin down the street address of the Russian embassy in Beijing. Chinese embassy in Bangkok, Australian embassy in Beijing, Mongolian embassy in Beijing, no problems. As soon as I try to find the Russian embassy Google Maps takes me to Moscow and all the websites are five years out of date or run by third-party companies trying to sell me a visa invitation.

Speaking of unscrupulous sales, I scalped my Big Day Out ticket for sixty bucks more than it cost me, and I’m trying to figure out how much I could sell my car for. A Hyundai Excel that hasn’t been serviced in eight years, has a huge dent in the side and takes quite a few revs to get started might fetch as much as $400! Email me if you’re interested!

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