Ever the bargain hunters, we trek around Millets comparing backpack litre capacities, sleeping bag extreme temperature ranges and the comparable weights of mozzie nets. Not an obvious source of pleasure you may think, but compared with the pain of the vaccinations we were about to sign up for it was pretty enjoyable. Whoever would have thought we'd spend our weekends trying on dodgy fleeces and those ridiculous lightweight trousers that zip off to become shorts? I never thought I'd buy an item of clothing that has toggles. <
After several hours, and several hundred pounds lighter, we were satisfied with our shiny new backpacking personas. Decked out in our full kit with rucksacks strapped firmly on, we almost looked like we knew what we were doing. Seasonal travellers? Hardly. Our idea of roughing it is a week of non-stop partying in Ibiza in a no-frills apartment.
Anyway, back to the jabs... "You may feel a slight sting", says the nurse at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases. Oh, we felt it alright - right where it hurts. In the wallet. Did I see the slightest smirk on her face as she read out the list of vaccinations we'd need and the corresponding prices?
"Do we REALLY need rabies? ", I ask, eyeing the pricelist. "It kills within a few hours of infection", she replies deadpan as she plunges the syringe into my right arm. "And you must have yellow fever..." JAB! There goes the feeling in my left arm.And so it continues: Hep A, Hep B, Diptheria, Tetanus, Polio, Typhoid.. Remind me again why on earth I want to go to countries where all these dodgy diseases are rife!!
We try to pretend our arms are too sore to extract our groaning credit cards from Liam's wallet, but they're having none of it. "£535 for both of you then please"...OUCH, OUCH, OUCH!
Oh well, we'll just have to make sure we hug every flea-bitten mangy mutt we come across on and have a couple of blood transfusions whilst we're away, just so we get our money's worth.....