India 2018 Preparations

For this trip, which may be the last holiday I will ever take because of costs and more particularly health, I have time for some planning.

On 25th August 2017 I was taken to hospital and spent from 30th August until 25th September in the critical care unit of Hitchingbrook hospital. Over a year on and I still have problems, under going investigation and no treatment.

So how did you end up in critical care?

I am flying into Delhi on 4th, heading for Amritsar first. Decide then what to do next, aiming for Pune for 23rd. I then head south to "God's Own Country", the state of Kerela. Return flight from Delhi on 3rd February so have to go back north, perhaps the long way up the east side of India before crossing  west to Delhi. I have time. If I don't feel up to much trekking and sight seeing one day I can take a rest. There is always the next day for another plan.

Plenty of notice for the wedding. I told my parents about 4 weeks before mine in 1976 and my grandmother didn't believe me and returned home to Germany! In April I had no passport, a limited wardrobe (terrible weight gain in the past two years) and no luggage - at least not suitable for trekking town to town as my backpack from trips in '89 and '91, '97 had disappeared.

First step a new passport. All the paper work completed my our local Post Office, including the photograph. No smile - took several attempts and ended up with this - I feel old just looking at it!

It is worse when viewed from the passport. 94.75 and 5 for the photographs. I have spare photographs to take with me. I expect to source a SIM for my mobile phone - maybe two as coverage is not universal from one provider and for the forms I need a photo. The printed copy of the E-Visa also needs a 2x2 inch photo glued to it.

I set out to decide what to pack. Very much like I travelled to California for Jaspreet's wedding in 2008. My laptop is smaller, but I liked the tablet in hospital and have also an 8" tablet. Not much lighter but does not need a larger heavier power supply. Camera has changed. In 2008 I had a Minolta 7Xi SLR, a Minolta TC-1 and Minox CD150 and the Tessina. Also a DV and HD tape based camcorders plus the mobile phone. Now I have the Sony Nex 7 and Sony XA1 mobile phone. But I was not town hopping nor staying in hotels.

So what to pack and what to pack it into?

Need a new travel bag and daily carry bag? - the narrowed down choices
Packing for International Travel: What to pack
Packed Up and Ready To Go
My reviews on Tortuga Set Out Divide (151.50) and XD Design Bobby Bizz (83.09)

Packing, repacking and still- barring crazy last minute changes - more packing. Getting in packing cubes, security locks, sleeping bag liner, microfibre bath towel, new battery razor, waist belt for the Bobby Bizz, Polarizing filters for the two lenses (in '89 many of my photographs were over exposed and I should have used  ND filters) and a solar powered battery pack to keep everything charged on the go.

Booking tickets. Finding the lowest price and having to ignore the 31 hour flight time cheaper options. Multiple exit points ( last time I flew into to Mumbai and returned from New Delhi) didn't seem to work and anyway I have no plans made so don't know where I would be or need to travel from for the return flight. So on 24th October I booked return tickets to New Delhi 514.11. Mid-week travel on Tuesday 4th December 21:30 so I might have 10-12  hours to get to London by public transport. Return on 2nd February 15:45. Looked at getting a Visa - so much conflicting information I put it one side. E-visa is issued electronically and stamped at port of arrival. Only need to get that four days before departure.

Next medication. I need 60 days supply of my meds.

I left it too late for the GP Surgery to get the jabs needed. They need notice months in advance. I had already discussed my travel plans with my GP and two consultants at the hospital to see if they felt I might have any issues knowing my current health. I had not anticipated the costs nor the time needed to get this done at the surgery.

Jabs for holiday. prices from:-
Hepatitis A     49
Typhoid          30

Tetanus          32
Diphtheria      32

Hepatitis B    120
Rabies           165
Japanese Encephalitis 178
Cholera         56
total of          662

The first four are recommended for everyone. The others for some travellers depending upon where you are going within India. I already had Tetanus and Diphtheria and polio in 2015 so 91 for Hepatitis A and Typhoid at Masta, Hills Road, Cambridge.

I don't remember what the costs were in October 1989. Not significantly enough for me to have made a note of it at the time.

The E-Visa was $102 (80.66 plus 2.41 for converting from USD - foreboding on every transaction in India each hotel and ATM).

156.28 travel insurance and any respiratory inflections excluded because I was in hospital 14 months ago.

I am taking a mini boiler to purity water (in fact my parent's as the plastic on the cable on my broke down). I purchased two packets of Micropur tablets that sterilise a litre of water (7.99 each box of 50 tablets). I had a number left from 28 years ago. Too old to be of use - the rubblish we just don't throw out! Also from Boots - Compression socks for the 9 hour flight 13.99.

GPS tracker for the luggage that goes in cargo. With the weight limited of 10kg for carry on I can't travel with just one bag. 42.95. SIM card from 1p Mobile is free 10 initial top up. Each SMS will be 25p. So, assuming it all works I get 40 replies from it before the credit runs out. It uses a standard SIM size as my car phone does. Most providers have a nano SIM inside a micro SIM inside a standard SIM. But the GPS came with three holders and a SIM tool.

The last minute

I Went out to get a cable. None in Chatteris. I tried a few shops in March and was recommended to try Curry’s in Wisbeach. I did get an expensive box that did more than what I needed so 29.99 instead of 5 online from Amazon. I did find a USB-C to USB-C cable that does work with connecting my tablet and mobile phone together which will be useful. The expensive dongle does not do what I need it to so I returned.

In the town centre there are several mobile phone accessory shops – all run by Asians although some staff are Eastern European. I got a little adapter for 3 that works with the tablet but not with the phone unless I take Allen key and remove the case each time I want to use it. I ended up ordering on Amazon a short bit of cable adapter and another even more expensive box that I may yet have to return as also not suitable. One day delivery arriving the day before I leave.

Then I discovered my Bluetooth mouse does not work. Annoying when I finally found that I needed it after all for the new tablet. I have another, well not exactly. I got Yasmin a Bluetooth mouse for the Raspberry Pi Computer for Christmas last year. I couldn’t figure out how to get it to work. I hoped she would or between us. Mine didn’t work with it either. A bug in the Raspberry Pi software; which 12 months on they may have solved. I got her a USB nano receiver mouse in purple and matching purple clicklet keyboard – really cool looking.

The shops don’t have the demand, but also not having the new stuff are not creating the demand either. So I can get the type of cables for my old tablet and old phone of 10 years ago but not the newer, now over 3 years ago plugs and sockets. By the time they stock these there will be yet another plug. The rapid changes and developments in portable devices forces these changes. It is not just the new device but all the cables and accessories that are made redundant.

I decided to take some materials on an external hard drive. So I could spend some time in the evenings to knock off a couple of items on my “to do” list.

It can be fairly boring between the evening meal and bed time with no TV of interest to watch and perhaps no internet to catch up on the news. 4 hours for 60 nights is a fair amount of work time. Even half of that would be.

I took out the tripod to save 1.6kg. The duffle is down to 13.1kg and the backpack 8.2kg. Before it is weighted at checking I have a few items to put on me, in pockets, to get that under the 8kg carry-on limit.

The Flight Out and first day back in India

To be continued ...

Last updated 24th November 2018