A Travellerspoint blog

Revised Itinerary

"Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind." Séneca

overcast 14 °C

Not only will the recent alteration to my itinerary prevent me from flying with American Airlines for an additional eight hours (something I was dreading!), the removal of the LAX-DFW-MEX-DFW-LAX legs of my earlier itinerary will also provide me with the ability to extend my Latin American trip should the opportunity present itself. I have booked my trip using my Qantas Frequent Flyer points (yes, almost a decade of points accumulation has now given me an opportunity to fly for free!) and travelling on a frequent flyer booked ticket has severe restrictions attached to it.

After making the original booking using one's frequent flyer points one is permitted to make changes to the dates of travel at a cost of 5,000 points (MEL-LAX-MEL has cost me 96,000 points) - depending, of course, on the availability of seats earmarked for frequent flyer points bookings. Prior to commencing travel it is possible to change the route of travel, although this is a little more difficult (and costs 5,000 points) due to the limited availability of seats earmarked for frequent flyer travel.

However, after travel on a frequent flyer issued ticket has commenced it becomes even more difficult to alter the date/s of travel and impossible (i.e. not permitted at all) to alter the route/s. Initially I was flying MEL-LAX-DFW-MEX-DFW-LAX-MEL: a route that was always going to prove to be impossible to request a date change. However, by removing the LAX-DFW-MEX-DFW-LAX leg of the journey if I want/need to change the date/s of my return to Australia this will prove to be much easier - as I will only need to change the date for one flight leg, as opposed to three.

The current plan is that I will overland it either by bus from LAX to Tijuana or from LAX to El Paso via Amtrak where I can hop over the border to Ciudad Juárez and hot foot it out of there to Chihuauhua.

Places of interest currently on my draft travel agenda are:

    Cañón del Cobre, San Blas, Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, Guadalajara (home of Maná), Taxco, Cuernavaca, Oaxaca, San Cristobal de las Casas, Palenque, Campeche, Mérida, Uxmal, Chichén Itza, Tulum, Calakmul, Agua Azul, Laguna Miramar and of course México City and Teotihuacán.

Posted by knowmad 15:40 Archived in Mexico Tagged preparation Comments (0)

Travel preparation: Health - Vaccinations - Part 3 (Final)

"I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move." Robert Louis Stevenson

overcast 14 °C

I visited Dr Scally again on Saturday for my final Rabies, Hep A and Hep B shots.

Everything was fine until 4pm that afternoon when I fell ill. Really ill. I developed a raging fever which lasted for 24 hours and which no amount of paracetamol could reduce. Accompanying my feverish and delirious state were a series of bizarre and frightening nightmares concerning my impending overseas trip which have lead me to completely change my México itinerary. I have cancelled all internal US travel and will now make my way overland from Los Angeles into México.

Posted by knowmad 21:54 Archived in Mexico Tagged preparation Comments (0)

Travel Preparation: Equipment

"A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving" Lao Tzu

overcast 12 °C

Yesterday I spent most of the day acquiring "equipment" for my 12 September departure.

I settled on a pair of Merrell Pulse Trail shoes which I picked up from Mitchell's Adventure & Outdoor Sports store for $199.95. I behaved extravagantly and also picked up a pair of Merrell Nerve shoes for $179.95.

Other items of clothing I purchased include three pairs of light coloured pants (each around $39 - one pair converts to shorts), four tee shirts ($20 each), a Feathertop rain/wind proof jacket (purchased on sale for $70), underwear and socks (specially designed to 'wick' the sweat away). In addition, I picked up a Maglite/Victorinox utility pack (i.e. small torch and swiss army knife) as well as some heavy duty mosquito repellant and sunscreen.

The last item I need to purchase is a sleeping bag which I can also purchase from url=http://www.mitchellsadventure.com.au]Mitchell's Adventure & Outdoor Sports store[/url].

Mitchell's are significantly cheaper than the bigger city stores such as Paddy Pallin and Kathmandu, however the range of products are limited and if you are seeking something in particular you will most probably need to request that it be specially ordered for you.

Posted by knowmad 18:56 Archived in Mexico Tagged preparation Comments (0)

Travel preparation: Health - Vaccinations - Part 2

I'm a pin-cushion

overcast

I visited Dr John Scally again today who jabbed me for typhoid and my second rabies shot. We also discussed the best drug for malaria prevention and settled on Chloroquin. However, he pointed out that if I end up in Colombia and Ecuador I should get hold of Malarone as the Chloroquin won't be of any use if I visit malaria areas in those countries.

I have to go back to Dr Scally again on 2 September for the final rabies and Hep A/Hep B shots.

Today's expenses were $42.00 for the typhoid shot, another $95.00 for the second rabies shot and $15.00 for 100 Choroquin tablets. And $81.70 for the consultation fee. Medicare will reimburse me about $50-$60 for this.

Posted by knowmad 03:08 Archived in Mexico Tagged health_and_medicine Comments (0)

Travel preparation: Health - Vaccinations

"First love is a kind of vaccination which saves a man from catching the complaint a second time" - Honore de Balzac

overcast 7 °C

Stage One vaccinations commenced on Saturday. I thought it was going to be a fifteen minute job, but Dr John Scally (also a well seasoned traveller) takes his WHO job very seriously.

I had a one hour consultation with him during which time he took out his fine toothed comb and researched every Spanish-speaking American country I may possibly visit. To be honest, I thought I'd just walk in and get a jab for yellow fever and then walk out again. But it wasn't so simple.

Dr Scally gave me detailed information about how, where and from what I could contract a nasty series of diseases like Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B (both scary), yellow fever (pretty scary), and rabies (very, very scary). He also talked about dengue fever and typhoid... but his description of rabies has so overshadowed everything else that I can't remember anything else he said!

So one hour later I walked out of his surgery having received vaccinations for Hep A and B, yellow fever and rabies. But it doesn't stop there. This coming Saturday I need to return to his clinic to receive the second shot for Hep A and B, the second (of three) shots for rabies, and one for typhoid. During this upcoming session he will also discuss malaria prophylactics and whether or not I should take preventive measures against dengue fever. Oh, and then three weeks later I need to return again for the final rabies shot.

I must admit that a few years ago I developed a slight fear of needles as a result of passing out on the red carpet (literally) at Melbourne Town Hall after being innoculated for MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella). So I was feeling a little nervous as Dr Scally waved his needles around. To combat the feeling of faintness I focussed my eyes on his framed Camino de Santiago memorabilia, a few Hail Mary's and called upon Mary McKillop to prevent me from passing out. Dr Scally has a pretty gentle touch so I didn't really feel anything at all... until a few days later when I felt that my arms had gone through a few rounds with Kostya Tszyu.

So far, this exercise in innoculation has set me back AU$310.90: $111.90 for the hour long consultation, $95 for the first rabies shot, $45 for yellow fever and $59 for the combined Hep A and Hep B shot. Of all these vaccinations, the only one that is absolutely compulsory (if travelling to Colombia and Ecuador) is yellow fever. Australia is home to the same mosquito that carries the yellow fever virus, hence Australian Quarantine's severe warnings about ensuring all travellers to yellow fever areas are duly vaccinated and obtain a "yellow fever" card (which, also happens to be yellow).

Posted by knowmad 06:40 Archived in Mexico Tagged health_and_medicine Comments (0)

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