Now I know I can go to Laos (see my previous post about toilets ... or not, if the idea upsets you) I have to brave the injections.
No, they aren't compulsory. Nobody will check if I have them. There will be no surrogate parent will greet me at the airport and scowl, send me to bed without my supper. The only person it matters to is me.
And no, they aren't fun. But who wants typhoid? Or meningitis? Or rabies? Or Japanese encephalitis? (Does anyone know what that is?) Malaria - that's a thorny one. It's patchy - less common in the big cities, or during the dry season. And no one wants to pop pills unnecessarily. (My solution - yours may be different - is to find out when I get there if there is a problem. For instance, on my long trip I knew it was all over the border between Thailand and Cambodia, but I spent just one night there, so smothered myself in DEET, covered every inch of myself in shirts and long trousers, slept under a mosquito net, and managed without a pill. But several days in the backwaters of India - that was too much of a risk, so pills it was.)
Back to this trip. I trotted to the surgery to make an appointment with the nurse. Have I filled in a form? No - please may I have a form, I can fill it in now. No, that is not possible; you must go home and find the form on the website, fill it in, and we will ring you to say if you need an appointment. But I know I need an appointment, my typhoid jab is out of date. I'm sorry, you still need to go home to fill in the form.
Times have changed. Before the long trip I made the first appointment with the practice nurse about four months before I left. She and I poured over maps and Government guidelines and decided which injections I needed, some of which came in three doses - and the result was one injection a week for twelve weeks, to have them all. We got quite friendly in that time. I know she has small children and has always wanted to go to New Zealand. She knows about my magnificent daughters. Send me a postcard, she said before I left. I sent her a postcard from New Zealand.
This time - I have to negotiate with a computer! Where is the fun in that? And she still had to ring me to tell me I need an appointment.
I know change is part of being human. And I don't want to join the bah-humbug brigade that grumbles when we have to do things differently. But, just sometimes, I wonder if we haven't lost something along the way.
And you - are there things that you miss?