Monday, 24 August 2009

Once upon a time there were two impatient adventurers, waiting to go off galavanting ...

It's now a little over two weeks until lift off and we're frantically sorting out all the minutae of our trip that have (inexplicably?) failed to sort themselves out. Our Russian and Chinese visas were relatively untroublesome to obtain, with hopefully the Mongolian to follow in a similar manner this week. We've been repeatedly jabbed in the arm by a worryingly scatty nurse in a travel clinic just off Russell Square. We're still trying to work out the least savings-squeezing method of getting our grubby mits on three months worth of Malarone anti-malarials, so if anyone has any suggestions they'd be hugely appreciated.

We hopefully now also possess the means to update this blog at least once a week, in the form of an unlocked mobile phone (for use with local sim cards) and broadband dongle. The gods of internet access allowing, we will be uploading writing, pictures, videos and audio of the interviews, stories, thoughts, poems, ideas and discussions we discover along the way.

I'm starting to get a little nervous about the trip and the project. I'm very much in two minds about whether to contact the relevant authorities about the project and the standard foreign office blurb hasn't so far been astonishingly helpful. Technically we're not journalists but it may appear that we are, and therefore there's a very real possibility that we may be deported or, far worse, cause trouble for the local people we speak to. This is something we must avoid at all costs.

Most worrying is my progress with the beautiful (but evidently bastard-hard) Russian language. Several months ago Will and I made a bargain that he would learn Mandarin and I would learn Russian. While Will has diligently completed a whole audio course [two courses! - Will] and can now get by in basic conversations with the Chinese [admittedly unproven - Will], I am not doing quite so well. In fact, it would be fair to say I'm still struggling with “hello”, “don't touch me” and “where is the toilet?”.

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  1. travelpharm and stratford pharmacy are the cheapest online place to get malarone. i think they charge about £2.24/tablet. we did a fair bit of shopping around before our month in Kenya.

    well worth paying the extra for malarone above the other options though. no side effects at all! have fun :)

  2. Hey Emma and Will,
    Greetings from across the Atlantic from your friends at Brighter Planet (that nice climate change blogger badge you've got down there). We're very impressed with your commitment to avoid flying. And I wanted to share, from personal overseas experience, that it will be much better for your safety and your reception by strangers if you say that you are "students" rather than "journalists".

    Best wishes!
    Carolyn @ Brighter Planet

  3. Hey Vloody,
    Thanks so much for the Malarone advice. We'll definitely take it - that's the cheapest we've found. Very relieved to hear you didn't have any side effects. It would be really frustrating to spend all that money only to have them make you feel rubbish anway. No we just have to persuade our doctors to prescribe them for three months - they're not supposd to give you more than one month's worth!

  4. Hi Carolyn,
    Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement - it makes all the difference to know people are behind what we're doing and actually reading our blog!
    That sounds like very good advice on how we present ourselves. We only have tourist visas but we do want to film our interviews with people. The last thing we'd want to do is cause trouble for a local activist because of our lack of knowledge about the politics of the region.