Thursday, March 17, 2011

And the planning continues

This week I was able to take advantage of a lull at work to actually get things done for the trip. Well a rare lull at work and a not so conveniently scheduled sinus infection that landed me at the doctor on Monday.

At that appointment, I'd hoped to get my vaccinations for China also (hey, while I'm there, might as well!), but the physician's assistant said they don't even stock some of the ones I need. Instead she referred me to an infectious disease specialist at a travel clinic. Immediately, I called to book an appointment, if only to get it all over with. The receptionist was well-versed in how this will work and what I would need. Unfortunately, they are booking into June now. Fortunately, I have some time to play with. She did recommend that I call my health insurance provider and find out that they are all covered, because some are over $200 a piece. Thankfully, a quick call to Blue Cross today confirmed that all of them, even the rabies series, is considered "preventive care" and is available to me at no charge!

Which is good, because the other thing I did today was book airfare. I'd been waiting for a dip on the BOS --> D.C. --> PEK route, but when I went to book today that leg had been canceled entirely. So now I'm going through Chicago on the way over and through San Francisco on the way home. I splurged and bought the extra legroom in Economy Plus, which added $366 to the fare. Gulp. But I have to believe that five more inches of legroom is really going to matter on a 14 hour flight. All in it was $1900. My thought is to lock that in now before anything else in Asia or the Middle East effects fares or fuel costs!

Next up was trip insurance, which had to be purchased by today, three weeks after my deposit on the trip, in order to be eligible for "pre-existing condition" cancellations. I know to some trip insurance seems like money out the window, but with various health concerns among my immediate family, it seems like the smart thing to do on a trip this expensive. If it was just $500 to Paris, that'd be one thing. This is considerably different.

And finally, I picked up passport forms and went to AAA across the street from work today to get passport and visa photos done. This weekend I'll complete the passport application and get that out. I can't apply for the visa until June but will need the passport renewed by then.

There is something sad about changing passports. I've done it once before and always feel like I've earned all those stamps and dog-eared corners and rippled edges. It shows that I'm a cagey veteran, I know what I'm doing and take me seriously. Now I'll have a passport that probably creaks when I open it, rather than bend back on its own to the photo page. I'll get the old one back just like I did last time, but it feels like I'll be leaving behind an old friend who's been through a lot with me. The bigger issue is getting a photo taken that you can live with for the next ten years. Yikes!

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