Preparations

07/06/2011

If this were a short story or maybe an art movie, having my record of this little adventure start out in the waiting room of a diagnostic clinic would be inauspicious if not downright morbid. But given the hour or more for the oral contrast to fill my cavities and the regular spread of old Sunsets and House Beautifuls AND a need to get this thing going, I’m going to risk it.

Tickets–check. Flying out of LAX the morning after Adri and the boyz head off to yurrup (as usual for the summer). Arrive in Lima late the same night. Onwards to Iquitos the next day to spend a week swatting skeeters and dodging vipers in the Amazonias of Peru with Seth and Karen. Onwards to Buenos Aires for a week of sipping mate and stewing vizcacha with Mike. No visas needed. Adri’s miles will get me to and back from South America, and I’m paying just for the flights within the continent.

Dogs–check. Chris and Rich are baby-sitting my loving but completely untrained labs, Nami and Goku. They always have a blast when they go to spend time on the “farm.”

Vaccines–check. I was already good on yellow fever, but there still a few others: typhoid, hepatitis A, and while I was at it I might as well get hep B and a tetanus booster. Cholera still occurs in Peru though nothing like the outbreak they had in the 90s. Vaccination against cholera is no longer recommended, and the vaccine is no longer manufactured in the US though it’s still available in Canada and Europe. Rabies would be a good idea if I was going to play with bats or other carrier species–Seth says we’re not, and the nights we sleep outside we’ll have mosquito netting to keep out the vampires, which are the principal rabies vectors in tropical Americas.

I’ll also be doing a seventeen-day course of Malarone, starting three days before my arrival in Iquitos. While it’s officially “verano” there–meaning low-water and low-bug–malaria and mosquitos are never absent. I was also able to get a prescription for a fistful of ciprofloxacin to take along in case I get the turistas. Practically everyone I know who has been to Peru got the turistas. Topping off my pharma-stash are a box of imodium tablets and some naproxen. And band-aids, of course.

It’ll be the dead of winter in Argentina, and I figure I’ll be lucky to see any bugs at all once I’m out of Peru.

Equipment-wise I’m pretty much set, I think. Seth said to bring a hammock with mosquito netting for the nights we sleep out so I bought the cheapest one REI had. I also got myself the obligatory khaki ensemble made of the latest–and even bug-repellent (the shirt anyways)–lightweight fabric. Cheap digital camera–a replacement of the one I dropped on Mount Fuji last year.

The currency of Peru is the sol nuevo, which was about $0.36 last time I checked and on a gentle upward trend. Peru has just held its national elections and Fujimori’s daughter lost. I think this means a victory for the more left-leaning party which may or may not mean something with regard to economic stability, but in any case I don’t think there’s any hurry to exchange money before the sol skyrockets against the dollar (like the yen did last year before our trip. foo!).

The argentine peso is right around four to a dollar, and its value has been on a slow, steady decline. I’m not planning on doing much shopping (except for a Lionel Messi Argentine national team jersey for Ryo), but I suppose that bargains could be found if one were to look.

So that’s about it. Just waiting for the rest of the month.

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