We received our first visa back today! It had only been 5 days since we sent our passports to the Lao embassy in Canberra so I was rather surprised when there was a knock on the door today and the familiar looking registered mail envelope was looking at me (well, the postman looked at me with the envelope in his hands, but I don’t think I can even remember if the postie was a he or a she)! Not even sent with express post and back so quickly! A quick check of the contents reassures me they are our passports and they have a visa in it with a validity range of 2 months! Woohoo, we can now enter Lao!
When I picked up Jon from work (on the bike – my commute), he told me he had spoken to the travel doctor who had done the research for our trip. Pretty good news there too. He recommended we take the Japanese Encephalitis vaccination here in Australia, but wait until we get to Mongolia before we get our Tick-Borne Encephalitis. Much cheaper (EUR30 vs AUD300 per person!) and much easier to get. He will send us a link with a recommended clinic and that leaves us only with Typhoid (expired for both Jon and me) and the Japanese Encephalitis before we leave.
Jon had also spoken to Bupa (our medical insurance) to get in writing that we can suspend our insurance and can re-activate it on return and we will still be covered without a waiting period for anything AND for everything and anything we might have picked up en route! He now has the email details of the person to talk to and get it in writing – fingers crossed…
Then, as we were finalising our tax we received an email from John and Ann. That’s when the good news ended! They are unable to continue planning with us as they are no longer able to join us on the trip! We tried to call them, but couldn’t get them on the phone. We’re not sure what the reason is, but I am sure we will find out at some point. We spoke to Guy & Cheryl and Rob & Robyn who are all still keen to continue the planning and go on the trip, so we decided to all get together face-to-face again at Guy and Cheryl’s place this Sunday. Hopefully we can work out some new ideas then.
Base plan is to join the 2 groups and use our shorter version of the China trip (leaving out Tibet due to their altitude restrictions) and start a few weeks earlier than planned (roughly 14 May into China). This will put us a month ahead of schedule into Mongolia (and the Stans!) which is probably not a bad thing considering we are otherwise getting into the Stans when winter is approaching…
We’re not sure where it will end, plans are on the move again. We’ll keep you up to date!