DownUnder2Borneo

A mum, dad and their three kids from Tasmania, go on an epic adventure in Borneo for 3 weeks in December

Passports, Packs and Pricks

Well, it’s about a month to go before we leave and whilst I am excited, there’s still stuff I have been procrastinating on which has me a bit worried.

The other recent bit of news is I finally manged to sort out passport applications for the youngest – Oscar (9) and Abbey (6). Being a tight arse, I found a couple of websites like Portrait Booth and 123Passport Photo  that allowed me to upload photos of them and crop them to exactly the right dimensions for Australian passport photos, save a JPG and take it to Harvey Norman and print for 10c each (I used three separate sites and printed all of them, and only one site actually fulfilled the exact Australian Government stipulations). The application forms are a pain in the rear end and what’s more, our guarantor (someone who’s known the kids for more than 18 months) made mistakes (spelled Clark wrong, and used a wrong date on the other) and they knocked back the applications at the Post Office, so we had to get that section done again. Grrrr. Hate bureaucracy.

I happened to be in Melbourne around stocktake sale time and was still undecided about a pack for me. I was narrowing down on the EPE Torino 55L exandable to 65L which has endorsement from the Chiropractic and Osteopathic College of Australia (sounds good) and is priced very well compared to the big brands. A travel journalist uses one and rates them, but I couldn’t find any other independent reviews, so it would have been a punt. They look great, but I would have bought it online and if the harness didn’t fit, I’d be forking out $20 return postage.

So back to the stocktake sales. Walking through Knox shopping centre I spotted a Snowgum store and at a loose end (I’m always at a loose end in shopping centres waiting for Nani) I said to the lad “they never have any good deals in here but we’ll have a look anyway”. Then I spotted a great deal on their Travel Pack – a 55L pack with a 10L day pack. Just the size I wanted (I’d travel with 45 if I didn’t have kids with me) and all the features I was looking for. It was down from $240 to $100 – couldn’t go wrong!

As I was rummaging through the features, I noticed an internal secret pocket with a zip but no puller (little bit too secret!) so I asked for a further discount – which they couldn’t do, but they threw in $20 of accessories (good customer service too!). Then after I paid for it, I noticed the zip on the back flap that protects the harness was all wonky, and the teeth weren’t lining up, so they rang their store at The Glen and put one aside and I exchanged it the next day. Success!

I have managed to buy a couple of other bits and pieces I think will come in handy – like this strong pegless clothes line from Ezyline. It’s very cool! I wanted a line so I could wash socks and undies and quick dry stuff that I might need the next day since I want to travel light, but I’d read warnings not to get lines with suction cups because they’re weak. So when I saw this ad on TV, I jumped at it and got a couple of lines that attach with ropes.

So aside from the long list of things I still need to buy – like tropical strength Aerogarde (remember the leeches), some lightweight shoes for the kids and a heap of other minor bits and pieces, one of the last things to do (oh don’t forget insurance) is pricks. We got a printout from the GP with a laundry list of vaccinations (typhoid, malaria, tetanus, Japanese encephalitis etc.) but I read down it, and none of them were really mandatory, or even necessary in places we were going, so I think just maybe the Hepatitis A should do the trick. So I think the task for this week is line the kids up and get some pricks. The six year old is going to just love that!

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2 responses to “Passports, Packs and Pricks

  1. min li November 29, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    I had a tantrum at the post office, stomping my feet and all insisting the woman send my application in regardless of how much she thought it wasn’t right. She did so reluctantly and sneeringly. I got my passport in 2 weeks in the mail. Ha! Are you sure you don’t need the malaria tablets with all the NP trekking you’re going to do?

    • John December 9, 2011 at 1:58 am

      I think malaria is an issue in rural areas but the national parks are meant to be ok I believe. We’re trying to keep Mosquitos off because there’s dengue as well, but Bako was a bit crazy

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