The adventure begins... with food and needles!

Trip Start Sep 23, 2005
Trip End Nov 05, 2005

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Hello all!
Well, I just learned my first lesson the hard way about saving often on this thing!! I had this great journal entry all filled out about my adventure with Indian food and immunization shots, and LOST IT!! And it was so witty and clever, and I'll never be able to recreate it. So, I'm not going to try. You get the "I can't believe I have to type this all over again" version. Sorry!!

Even though my trip to India doesn't officially begin until September 23rd, I would say my adventure began this week - with food and needles!

On Monday, Sept 5th (labor day), I had my first taste of Indian cuisine at a restaurant called Memories of India. It was recommended to me by my friend Derrick, who also accompanied me, along with Natalie and Elizabeth. The menu was a bit overwhelming, as I had no idea what anything was or would taste like, but after some help from Derrick and the waiter, settled on chicken sharuka or shakura or something like that. Chicken in brown gravy stuff with coconut and other spices, over rice. It was surprisingly good!! Derrick ordered lamb sha-something and let me taste it. (It's important to get familiar with all your protein options!) We also had nan (bread), which is evidently a staple in India (and will be good to spread my peanut butter on!).

Derrick ordered a lamb kabob, which contrary to the name was not kabob'd. There was no stick in site. It actually looked like lamb ground up and then mushed back together into a sausage type thing and sliced up. And it was DARK RED! It reminded me of red velvet cake, except it looked more like an intestine of some sort. Not that I've actually seen one of those on a plate before, but I have a good imagination. It wasn't too bad, actually. And even better heated up for lunch the next day! One of the pictures in my album for this page is me with my plate-o-cuisine leftovers! Yum. Many thanks to Derrick for dinner!

On Tuesday, the real fun began. Those of you who know me well are familiar with my phobia of needles. Phobias by definition are irrational, and mine is no exception. So you can imagine my anxiety at having to get a SERIES of shots to immunize me for my trip. Fortunately, Pam (my manager who is travelling with me) and the nurse, Gisleine, who administered the torture and counseled us on the many diseases we could obtain in India, were both very patient and sweet to me through it all.

Fortunately, we had enough time before our flight to take our typhoid immunization orally rather than by injection (yay!). Unfortunately, there has been an outbreak of meningitis (which is deadly by the way) in Dehli since June, and rather than contract it, we opted to get immunized against it. So basically, it was a wash.

I gave Gisleine fair warning about my phobia, and she asked me about my usual reaction to shots (nausea, fainting, etc). My usual reaction is tears. Yes, I cry. I can't help it, the tears just come. Not gut wrenching sobs, mind you, but tears nonetheless. She promised me that if I was very good, I would get a tootsie pop and could be part of the brave club. Sold! :-) I decided to go first, to get it over with, and got a total of 5 shots - 2 in my left arm, 3 in my right. She asked me to lay down, just in case. I made it through the first 2 with only a few squeaks and some controlled breathing, but right before number 3, darnitall, the tears started. Pam handed me a tissue, and Gisleine reassured me by telling me I was a very good girl, and to hold still. After the puncture session ended, I was a little dizzy (it was a very traumatic experience!), but otherwise, no long term psychological damage was done!

My international certificate of vaccination says I have received immunizations for Hepatitis A and B, Tetanus, Meningococcal (for meningitis), Polio, and a PPD for TB, I think. Not to mention the typhoid and malaria pills I get to take! Gisleine gave me a sticker that said "I am very brave", and a red tootsie pop. Pam, who smiled the whole time and was able to sit up, got a sticker that said "star patient" (whatever!). Of course, it's not over yet. I have the wonderful fortune of more shots when I return, during the 6 months following. Oh, yay.

There are photos in the album of me getting my shots (note the pained expression on my face) and with my band aided arms, and Pam getting her shots (smiles!). Enjoy!

Thanks to those of you who were praying for me before and while I was enduring this traumatic event. It definitely made the difference. Considering that I used to require valium and a chauffeur when I went to get shots, I think I've come a long way!! Go, Nikki, Go, Nikki!

I don't know that I'll have any more adventures before our actual trip begins (30 hours of travel... aah!), but if I do, I'll be sure to share.

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