Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 3rd 2013 Contents A31
Monday, June 3, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Sleeping bag. Check. Snake repel-
lent. Check. Waterproof pouch for
matches. Check. Sterilising water
Stop distracting me. Can t you see
I am making my survival list for my
imminent trip to the Amazon jungle?
I have the next ten years in which to
make the trip but why wait.
This trip is necessary in order to
justify the $300 spent on a yellow
fever vaccine which has no purpose
unless I make it to the wilds of South
America or Africa. I got a vaccine by
vaps and I feel a sense of adventure
as a result.
It all happened a few weeks ago
when I was trying to get to Bahamas.
Not the most original idea I had devel-
oped lately but duty called. Opinion-
istas are in high demand regionally.
So there I was, all sleep-deprived
(but still rocking the spangled ballet
flats) at the airport more than two
hours before the 6.35 am departure.
First, the check-in agent couldn t find
my name in her little computer; then
after she found it, she decided, mis-
takenly, that the ticket had not been
Small thing compared to what lay
"Do you have your vaccination
card? she asked, much too perkily
for that hour of the morning.
My what? News flash: travellers
can t enter the Bahamas without a
vaccination for yellow fever. The policy
had "always been there," the agent
informed me, but was being enforced
since February. Yellow fever is a nasty
business which roasts the kidneys and
I was turned away, dragging my
rejected suitcase behind me like a sad
The long and short of it is that
another check-in agent took pity on
me, and put me on a much later
stand-by flight; I got the wretched
vaccine (owwww!) and made it to
Nassau---after barely catching the last
connecting flight in Miami. I am talk-
ing hijacking a golf cart and losing a
few tail feathers as I torpedoed my
body through the closing doors.
When I got to Nassau, did anybody
at immigration ask me for a vaccina-
tion card? Was there a single poster
warning passengers that they needed
the vaccine? Take win, if you answered
no, hell, no.
Worse, other passengers who had
encountered the secret policy at the
Piarco check-in counter had got on
their flights without any vaccination.
How? Brace yourself. This idea is so
revolutionary, you might choke on it.
The check-in agent used a telephone!
To call the Bahamas authorities, who
said no such vaccination was neces-
Only Ms Perky seemed to know
about the invisible threat. When I had
asked that a call be made, and a fellow
traveller even offered a cell phone for
the task, I was told nothing could be
done, that the policy was cast in con-
crete. Only after my booking had been
cancelled did another check-in agent,
who had been glancing surreptitiously
at her colleague, mention that she had
sent through two non-vaccinated pas-
sengers after calling the Bahamas.
Couldn t she have told Ms Perky
that before I got creamed?
I have sent a strongly worded letter
to the airline---not Caribbean Airlines,
by the way---containing the words
"shocked "appalled" and "traumatic
No doubt my free lifetime travel pass
is in the mail.
I have also asked these geniuses in
the air travel business to do me a
favour while they are addressing their
minds to my compensation. Could
someone solve the following puzzle:
how is it that for the long weekend
I could have flown to Miami for
US$396 and arrived there in four hours
but flying to Barbados would have
cost me US$683, ten hours and a nerv-
Share your travel or other dilemmas
with Elsa at email@example.com
Victoria Beckham doesn t
want daughter Harper to be an
early adopter of cosmetics-so
much so, that she doesn t let
her watch when she applies
make-up. The youngest mem-
ber of the Beckham family will
turn two in July.
"I can t put make-up on when
Harper s around, because she
would try and do the same
immediately," the designer told
German magazine Icon. "She s
a tomboy around her brothers."
The mother-of-four explained
that she wants her children to
enjoy their time as children-
revealing that she only allowed
ten-year-old son Romeo to star
in a Burberry campaign because
he really wanted to.
"After Christopher Bailey had
spoken to me, I asked (Romeo)
if he wanted to do it and he said,
Sure, sounds like fun . And he
had a lot of fun-he doesn t take
himself too seriously. Will he do
it again? I don t know. He s more
interested in school and sports
right now," she said. "The kids
are under a lot of pressure to
perform and I don t want to
pressure them. (I want them to
be) keen and reach as much as
possible, but the most important
thing is that they are happy.
As arguably four of the most
famous children in the world,
you could be forgiven for thinking
that the Beckham brood might
have a slightly screwed percep-
tion of the real world- something
that Victoria insists isn t the case.
"They lead a very privileged
life but they don t get everything
they ask for. We always tell them
how lucky they are," she said.
"(Cruz once asked), Why is it
good to be famous, mum? and
my answer was, When you re
famous, you have a certain power
to do good things. That s how
we started talking about charity.
Cruz was really sweet and said,
When people listen to what I
say, I could spread some good
messages. It was a nice conver-
sation to have with my child
who s only eight years old."
Posh no to daughter wearing make-up
with her daughter
Harper. AP PHOTO
Vaccine by vaps
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