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Last Minute Preparations

Typhoid, RID, Rain Gear, Middle Seat

My last minute preparations began last Thursday when I made a frantic appointment at Passport Health in Portland to get a Typhoid vaccine. Who would work in an orphanage in India without complying with the CDC's advice on vaccines for India? Not I! Friday, during my lunch, I drove to an apartment office where a Nurse Practioner took a Typhoid Vaccine out of a cooler under her desk and charged me $175. Thank you very much. No more rookie travel mistakes for this veteran traveler.

Yesterday I finally read my volunteer handbook to prepare for my trip. I should have read it sooner--perhaps before I committed to two weeks. On the packing list, I noticed RID lice shampoo. What? To my dismay, it seems the kids at the orphanage have lice. Should I be surprised about that? No. Was I? Yep. After speaking with Peter at Global Volunteers, he reassured me that it was a preventive measure. No volunteer has reported a confirmed case of lice; however, Global Volunteers wants their volunteers to feel prepared and ready for anything since the kids have confirmed and reported cases of lice. I felt like I met my bug quota growing up in rural Minnesota. I had no idea. After the Peace Corps, I felt I had really, truly met my bug quota. Guess I was wrong about that, too. Please, please, please, don't let me get lice! The pharmacist at Walgreens assured me that if I were to get lice, it would be quite easy to leave those pesky bugs in India with a lice comb, a laundromat, and RID shampoo. She felt that if I had to get lice, it would be way easier while traveling rather than having to delouse our entire house. Words of wisdom, I suppose. So, now my overpacked quart size bag of liquids has two ounces of RID.

Packing for 38 days of travel to mostly Muslim countries has been a challenge for me. I have a few travel clothes I always bring on trips. This time, I had to shop a lot and try out clothing on our few hot days in Oregon. Thanks, Eva, for evaluating my Cairo, Egypt apparel. Additionally, I will board over seven flights. Two of the flights have a 15 Kilogram weight limit. That's not a lot of weight for 38 days of travel. I think I've finally got it at 15! Good job! Oops! Forgot the rain gear! It seems that rain gear is a must when traveling to Nepal during the monsoon season. I live in Portland, Oregon. Shouldn't I have a light rain jacket to pack? Nope. It seems I only have cold weather rain jackets. Chris and I made a trip to REI and made two very sensible purchases. Now I just need to get it in my already overweight suitcase!

Delta and Air France are not my friends right now. Delta, operated by Air France, from Paris to Cairo keeps changing a "paid for" and coveted aisle seat to a middle seat. I've spoken with them five times over the course of a couple of weeks. I finally received an email from a Delta agent with a confirmed seat assignment. Nope! They were only kidding. Putting something in writing and adding the word "confirmed" means nothing to an airline that operates under the idea that people will fly with them no matter what. Today, Air France has not only moved me to a middle seat, but I'm in the back of the plane. What? I booked my tickets months ago! I paid for and reserved the seat I wanted. I called Delta for the 5th time at 3:00 pm today. I chose to have a callback rather than wait on hold. Good thing because it was a 4.5-hour wait. What the heck? And, get this? The Delta agent transferred me to Air France where I've been on hold for 25 minutes. And, get this, I was told that the money I paid "extra" for a seat was really just to know I had a seat on the plane. Really? What is the purpose of the $1800 dollars I paid? Standing in the aisle? The airline can change me to any seat on the plane, including a middle seat, even though I paid for a seat. The extra money was for what then? I paid money for a seat they could switch, and if I hadn't paid money they could have just put me in any seat? UGH! What a racket! Why are there no checks and balances on airlines? I no longer wonder why people are so angry on flights. I think I need to take a break from Delta and try a different airline. Maybe one that isn't an American carrier. I feel furious right now at the greed of airlines and the absolute lack of customer service.

I know these are all 1st world problems. I know I probably need a reality check on need versus want. Two weeks in an orphanage might be what I need to become more grounded. Crap.

Posted by venisha 17:00 Archived in USA

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