Thursday, 15 February 2007
our time is running out....
It only really dawned on me yesterday quite how little time I have until we leave for Ecuador. We fly out on the morning of Friday 2nd March. That’s only a touch over two weeks away. C. is away this weekend, so we’ve only really got one weekend together to pull everything together and to buy all the bits and bobs we’ll be needing for the trip.
Just looking down the list we’ve been given, this doesn’t look like an entirely trivial task: alongside the every day items like clothes, walking shoes, insect repellent, sun cream, hat, sleeping bag and head torch are such delights as gaiters, 1 litre nalgene water bottles, a breathable waterproof jacket / trouser set, a poncho…. They’re all items that should be fairly easy to get hold of, but I’m still slightly nervous about quite how little time I have to get it together.
I’ve also had to get on the phone to the nurse to arrange for the anti-malarial drugs. This isn’t as straightforward as it sounds because there are a number of different drugs, each with its own set of benefits and side effects. We are going to be dipping in and out of malarial zones whilst we're away, so I had to decide if I wanted to take the drugs on a start / stop basis or if I just wanted to take them continually for three weeks (plus the run-off period). In the end, the fact that I have been told that the combination of malaria and the WTs would be absolutely knockout, I opted to play it safe and I’ll be on Malarone for 4 weeks. Expensive, but also the most effective anti-malarial prophylaxis available. I hear that weird dreams are a common side-effect, but given that last night I dreamt that a celebrity hairdresser gave me a cut that involved long hair stuck straight upwards all around the crown of my head with a shaven bit in the middle dyed purple, I think I’m having enough weird dreams already....
As I was thinking about all the things I needed to get done, my mind turned to my passport. I may be able to get many things when I'm actually in Ecuador, but a passport is the one thing you have to make damn sure that you remember. I’ve had mine for ages, and I knew full well that it expires at some point in September this year. It has long been at the back of my mind to check what Ecuador’s requirements are for entry, as I had a feeling that some countries need you to have a minimum of six months to run.... Sure enough, Ecuador is one of those countries (well, I read that it was, rang the Ecuadorian consulate to confirm this, and they didn’t seem sure. I decided that on the whole it was a chance that I couldn’t afford to take). Whoops. The postal application process for a new passport takes three weeks that I don’t have and involves sending off my current passport. This leaves me with little alternative but to apply in person, so this Saturday, I will be making an unscheduled trip to the UK Passport Office in Peterborough to get my passport renewed in person. I had to make an appointment and everything!
Well, at least it will be done then, eh?