To avail pleasure, one must go through some pain – the elders meant this in a good way. Though in India, this adage takes on a new meaning all together.
The pleasure part was dreaming of a summer-style beach resort, full with white walls, cool-crisp-clean white linen, blue waters, as I was off to Tanzania and Zanzibar and Kenya and Mombasa. For the safari I imagined wearing Sketchers and 3/4ths most of the time, but was imagining wearing my Zara sandals and swim gear for the beach. Glorious sunshine and an even more glorious world of the animal kingdom awaited me.
Pre-travel planning was a bit of a challenge. The Indian authorities expect you to hold a confirmed ticket to Africa + they expect you to have the yellow fever vaccine taken 10 days prior to flying. Catch 22…well…isn't that how our systems work?
The arduous challenge is in acquiring the yellow fever vaccine. First you have to find the administering office which is tucked away under a flyover that is being constructed near the Bombay international airport. Then by noon you must find your way to an *informal* list which is circulated by some people for *queuing* up (which is no guarantee you will be in the lucky 70 list of people to get vaccinated). Then you must return by night to physically queue up, because that gives you a *good chance* of being in the first 70 names the next morning! You can proxy your night presence, but if thr are 5 members in your group travelling together, you gotta proxy for 5 individual people. Sinister eh?
The next morning the lucky 70 get the vaccine. Don’t ask me why only 70 not less not more…If you are the 71st name, too bad, you don’t get the vaccine.
Ohhh hang on…you can get that vaccine, if you are 71st or 201st in the queue of the *unlucky lot*! Provided you are willing to shell out Rs 2500/- per individual per vaccine instead of the *official* Rs 350/-
Why would any State Dept *only* provide for 70 vaccines per day beats all logic, other than, providing means of increasing corruption in the supply chain for all the touts that are part it . Am sure this includes the docs as also the well fed and well clothed touts! Artificial shortage of the vaccine is created to allow a corrupt system to flourish. Where is the law? Yes my disdain is apparent. We make a business out of people’s miseries in this country!
Trip to Africa was already getting dampened even before I had started to pack:(