Today I travelled to the MASTA Travel Clinic on the Bristol side of my favourite little West Country town to engage in the pleasure of a yellow fever vaccination which meant that another significant step in my Peru plan had been successfully taken. After months of doing little bits of this, that and the other in the name of preparation it is very satisfying when something relatively big happens such as this. It is all really taking shape now and I’m counting down in days rather than weeks, even though there are still exactly three weeks to go to my departure. I feel a sense of achievement already, so Jaysus knows what sort of state my mind will be in when I get to the Chiriasqa Pass.
This morning’s little jaunt wasn’t cheap though. I used the last few drops of the petrol in my car to get to the clinic so I had to pop to a forecourt and fill up before I could go anywhere else. It cost me £55 to do this. A truly extortionate price! Do I blame it on the oil producing nations? Do I blame it on the British Government? Do I blame it on the petrol stations? Do I blame it on the boogie? Actually I blame them all and as soon as someone designs an electrically powered car with a lead long enough to get me from my tin shack to places like Trowbridge and Bath I’ll be investing in one.
Coincidentally, my yellow fever jab also cost me £55. This made me feel a bit better about the petrol as I had got forty litres of the stuff for my money as opposed to the half a millilitre of the vaccine, which tots up to £110,000 per litre. On the other hand, the jab will remain effective for at least ten years but my petrol tank will probably be empty by next Tuesday.
So, £110 spent before 9.30 a.m. I’ve had whole holidays that have cost less than that in the past. But this was all money well spent as it will keep me alive to go on more and more trips in the future. The nice nurse did point out, however, that if I go on more and more trips I will need more and more injections. She said rabies is a nice one but a little expensive. Perhaps someone could buy me that for my birthday. The alternative would be to stay away from wild dogs and vampire bats, both of which she said thrive in Peru. She told me about dengue fever too, for which there is neither vaccine nor cure and of which twenty eight thousand cases were reported in Peru during 2011.
As I left the clinic I felt ever so slightly terrified but also completely immune from ‘Yellow Jack’, the one malady I had gone there to be immunised against, thus deeming it my favourite tropical disease.