Tomorrow is the day I start my 3 month around the world trip! It feels like its been ages in coming, but actually I’ve been planning for a very short time compared to many people who spend minimum 1 year up to many years planning their RTW trips.
In fact, it seems like I did it on very short notice. We were the last 2 people for our January Intrepid Egypt-Jordan trip and we booked in the first week of October, more than 3 months in advance. When we booked our Antarctic cruise (Antarctic Dream Nov 29th departure) in mid-October, most of our first choices for Antarctic cruises were already full. Good thing I decided to book Antarctica and not just show up and hope to get a discounted last minute place on a cruise. By contrast, we were the first and only people booked on our February Intrepid Kenya safari for a long time such that we thought they might cancel it because of not meeting the minimum number of people.
Last week I saw the travel doctor in Hong Kong and got the vaccinations I needed, including Typhoid, Polio, and Yellow Fever; my arm did hurt! Apparently there is no effective vaccine for cholera and it you get cholera, its not that serious. The doctor recommend Malarone as an anti-malarial for Tanzania and Kenya. Malarone is a very expensive anti-malaria drug because it is the newest, most effective, and has the least side effects. The price offered to me by the clinic in HK was about US$6/tablet, compared with about US$5 in the UK, and US$2.5 in the US. Note, the price is per tablet because its so expensive!! and because it only has to be taken from 1-2 days before entry, during the trip, and the continued for 1 week after. Because of the price differential, I opted not to buy the Malarone in HK.
Further investigation into visas, namely a call to the Tanzanian Embassy in the US, showed that I can obtain a double-entry visa to Tanzania on arrival at the airport and its the same price as a single-entry. Excellent!
Tomorrow I will leave Shanghai at about 4:30pm and even with a brief plane change in Beijing (erghh, Air China is so annoying), will arrive in Los Angeles only a half hour after I left Shanghai, despite 15+ hours in transit! That means by tomorrow night, I will be in LA having dinner with friends. After a very brief night in a hotel, the next morning I will be having breakfast with friends before I go and get on a plane for another 11+ hours of flying, finally arriving in Santiago, Chile. This will be followed by another couple of hours car ride to my ‘home’ for the week. (Home is where your backpack is and where you lay your head, right?) Therefore, I will arrive at my destination 53.5hours (2days+5.5hours) after I left. Thank god for the stopover in LA!! I don’t know how people who do business between Asia and S. America (Japan-Brazil trade is big) manage those time changes, time loss, and connections.
Here I go around the world, weeeeeeee!