I called one of the travel clinics and told them about my plans to gallivant across Mongolia on semi-feral horses being chased by wild and rabid dogs. I was hoping to get the most up to date information about when to start my vaccination schedule. They advised me to start my vaccinations one month before leaving. After I hung up the phone, I started to wonder if they thought I was just being melodramatic about my upcoming adventure. Perhaps, I should get a second opinion, just to play it safe with my health.
I attended the Cloverdale PharmaSave and spoke with one of the knowledgeable pharmacists. He asked me very detailed questions about my trip and what I might encounter. That’s a good question, what the heck would I encounter? He asked if I would be visiting rural areas and whether I was an adventurous eater. Frankly, I don’t think I will have a choice on whether I want to be an adventurous eater or not.
I am told, by The Adventurists, that I will be served customary nomadic Mongolian cuisine. This includes very hard and dry cheese – for which I was told do not bite it but rather suck on it. Fermented mares milk with a hint of vodka, as well as boiled goat, and hopefully boiled water without too much horse hair in it.
My pharmacist advised me that I arrived just in time to start my accelerated Hepatitis A & B vaccinations. Apparently, I arrived too late to get the regular round of doses. I am required to return in one week to receive my next dose, then three weeks after that and finally one year after the first dose for a total of four injections.
To deal with the enforced adventurous eating, he scheduled my Typhoid vaccination two weeks before my flight.
He also advised me that my best protection against rabies would be to avoid any rabid dogs. I don’t know how many of you go looking for rabid dogs, but I would definitely not be seeking these foaming at the mouth creatures for a loving lick on the face. Alternatively, the rabies vaccine is scheduled 28 days before I leave for the first injection, then seven days prior to take off and finally the day of travel.
One common theme I have encountered in reading previous Mongol Derby competitor blogs, is severe traveller’s diarrhea. As you can imagine, to be struck with severe traveller’s diarrhea while riding horseback across Mongolia, is not a romantic thought or occurrence. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine available to avoid traveller’s diarrhea. I really hope this is the last reference I will make to traveller’s diarrhea on my blog. However, I fear, it will not be so.