Discovering the world on $20 per day ......................

Post 22: 'Hidden Costs, Obvious Benefits'

'Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing'. ....... Bejamin Franklin

To be frank, .... there's nothing much to write about at the moment. Things are happening, but nothing of interest to anybody with a life. It's the mundane time and energy sapping processes of last minute planning and sorting out the loose ends created by leaving your home and family for six months that are driving us crazy. Departure is so close that we can taste it, but there are still lots of dung heaps to vault before we can finally place 'Responsibility' into the 'Pending' tray and bugger off around the world. I'm now into my second day of last minute travel vaccinations. So far I've enjoyed Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Rabies, Tick Borne Encephalitis, Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Tuberculosis and Typhoid. Some of them are '3 Course Inoculations' so I guess that's quite a few more injections before we leave. Thankfully, the only stinging is in my wallet, ... but boy does that sting. I entered the private hospital in Chelmsford marveling at the difference between this and the more familiar NHS variety, ...... I left understanding who had paid for all of that splendor. Thankfully, the NHS will cover all but the Rabies and Encephalitis vaccines, but these two courses still account for 20 days of our respective budgets.
Earlier in the Blog I mentioned that we'd secured travel insurance through Worldwide Insure, ... but now they've come back and asked for a detailed itinerary and I'm reliving the nightmares of when I first approached the tourist authority for China. I hope that it's going to be alright. If for any reason it goes horribly pear-shaped, then it's getting a little late in the day to arrange alternates.
Early in the planning stage for Poor Circulation I approached Marmite (Unilever Plc) to see if they would be interested in seeing how the people of Eastern Russia and Mongolia would react to impromptu 'Love It? - Hate It?' taste tests. Unfortunately, ...... their silence spoke a thousand words of rejection. My new plan (always have a back-up) is to do the same using proper 'Liquorice'. I don't mean the liquorice allsorts kind, ... I mean proper man's liquorice, the kind that used to be in the black variety of 'Sports Mixtures' until they wimped out and went all blackcurrant on us. Apparently all proper liquorice comes from the Pontefract area of Yorkshire which we'll be passing on our way up to Darlington. We'll take some liquorice sweets along with us and test the reactions of the people that we meet. Alan thinks I'm one stop short of barking (I guess that's East Ham or Upney depending on which direction your traveling) but for me it's just any excuse to interact with people along the way. We'll see some fantastic places and the photographs will look amazing, .... just as amazing as every other photograph of the same thing, but it's the people that we meet that will make these things truly memorable.
Back in the days when I had hair and seemingly spent most of each year travelling, I was visiting the Pyramids in Giza, suffering from travel fatigue and as usual, got chatting to a local rogue, in this case it was Ahamed. He convinced me that climbing to the top was 'this years thing' and so the race began. Following a brief but expensive interface with two officers from the tourist police we rode back to Cairo and got wasted together at a bar in the Marriott Red Fort Hotel overlooking the Nile. Later in the evening, the two 'off duty' officers joined Ahamed and myself along with another of their friends who claimed to be a retired army general who was now trading as an independent arms dealer. We all ended up at the Heliopolis Hotel close to the airport, knocking out shapes to Donna Summer and Black Box with some amazingly agile and hedonistic flight attendants. The rest as they say is history, ..... the Pyramids are still there, (though the Heliopolis Hotel actually burned down the next evening) and still very much the wonder that they always were, ....... but that evening on the town with four of Cairo's finest will never be repeated, ...... you simply had to be there. Hedonistic Flight Attendants apart, the Ahamed's that we meet along the way will make Poor Circulation different form all other holidays or adventures, ...... but only if we're brave enough to start a conversation.

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