It has been a head-spinning and wallet-lightening couple of weeks for us concerning the trip. First, we received our passports – Yay! We badly need to secure our Chinese visas, so we quickly filled out the forms and sent our new, original passports (fingers crossed) to the Vietnamese embassy.
Try to follow along, as the visa dance goes something like this: Step forward and try to get your Chinese visa… but you can’t get it without pre-paid transport into and out of the country (we have our flight in, but we plan to train out from Nanning, China to Hanoi, Vietnam). Step back and grab at the train ticket… but in order to get one into Vietnam, you must first have a Vietnamese visa. Slide to the left, send the passports to D.C. for the Vietnamese papers. Slide to the right and reserve the train tickets from a China-approved third party because they are not sold more than 60 days in advance. Once you have paid for the tix and have nothing more than a promise of their best effort to put you in the same 4-person sleeper as your 12 year old daughter, Running Man to D.C, because the Chinese do not accept applications by mail – you have to deliver and pick them by hand about a week apart.
Exhausted from the exercise, you realize how out of shape you are and muse, “Wouldn’t it suck if I had to do this dance while I had Typhoid?”. Yes it would. So we have been trying to schedule the little shots of water from the Holy Grail to make sure we don’t get taken down by this and various other pig-based diseases in Asia. I am certain the cup of Christ is where the drugs come from, since nothing else I know (legal or otherwise) could cost $600 for 1/1000 of a liter. Let that sink in a bit. It actually makes my head hurt. I think it does on purpose so I can get a small taste of the brain-swelling disease, and want to spend the $2400 for my family to prevent it. The worst part of all may be that this shot is readily available in Bangkok from a number of wonderfully reviewed and capable clinics for $25. Who are the real blood suckers? – ALaff