Shades of Accidental Tourist (Dog and Child Version)

Some stuff before we board our long-haul night flight.

Yes a ridiculous number of things involves Bug Prevention <shamefaced>. But... you also get the fever checks in HK a lot more than say, Malaysia or Singapore or Australia and - Yeah yeah I know a few friendly microbes are good for little kids. If they never get sick occasionally while growing up, they might be weaker as adults..........

When I'm feeling up to handling a bug or two in the comfort of my own home with a helper to load the washer with used sheets and towels a lot more often while I sit entertaining a snuffly child in a steam shower or slowly getting him to eat and drink fluids is when we shall look more into "building resistance." Not when we've shelled out precious time and money for a vacation. (Also, I try really hard not to give Rockstar a lot of medication.)

Besides. Especially in airports and such where many travelers congregate, they're not sharing the same bugs. We used to get like, a colleague from a London office come in to the dealing room with just a light runny nose and then umpteen of us would get really sick, including locals who certainly have better resistance than me.

Here are a few more accidental-touristy things I do.

1. Individually-wrapped alcohol wipes saved from restaurants and airline meal trays (to wipe down airport cafeteria tabletop upon which has been spit chicken bones or other meal remnants, then been wiped down with the exact same damp rag used to wipe every other table.)

2. Hexodane or other alcohol sanitizer (for spraying the soles of Rockstar's shoes after using public toilets - unless of course you have a small child who doesn't occasionally like to kick about on the plane seats with his shoes on)...

We buy industrial-sized and then refill small spray bottles we keep in the car, handbags, all over the apartment, a habit formed long before Rockstar was born because when not outdoors (about 3 hours a day) the dog's often in our bedroom - so we spritz her paws with sanitizer and then clean with a baby wipe.

3. Rockstar's recycled baby bed sheets which we lay on upholstery in hotel rooms or plane seats when he wants a nap. This is after once following Kings on business trip in squeaky-clean Singapore, checking into the room in a 5-star hotel in Raffles Place, and discovering Housekeeping had forgotten to clear the previous occupants' used bath towels - which they had left in a heap, not on the floor, but on the plush hotel room jacquard sofa.

(Another mummy I know found a condom under the pillow of a bed in a supposedly "freshly made up" room. It was new, but erm, not provided by the hotel.) Enter trusty sanitizer sprays.

Guffaw at me all you want. But you have no idea who occupies the room just before your rockstar, or what they do with it. And who "cleans" it.

4. Kiddie Panadol and Cosyr (cough and runny nose syrup), a syringe for measuring, skin creams (Rockstar is very prone to rash, dry spots, one of the things we love is Elomet - which you can get at Watson's pharmacy in Malaysia, but in HK I think you need a prescription... Not that we are going to Siberia and you cannot buy anything there, I just don't want to spend precious vacation time in an unfamiliar place looking for somewhere to buy stuff if we can help it)

Yeah I know, so kiasu about germs still bring medication... And medication that often expires before we finish the bottle and then we have to throw it away some more.

5. Rockstar's also a bug magnet so had we been going someplace warm I would also have packed not just the stick-on mozzie patches but one of the baby-safe (no Deet!) spray-on repellants and thin longs for park outings (spritz liberally on clothes, leave dry 15 mins before donning will drastically cut down how much you have to apply direct to skin, Deet or no Deet).

Pasar malam Malaysia PJs are often much thinner than what Mothercare stocks in HK (and much cheaper, plus I don't have to worry if it's from China and carrying dodgy dye or something*) so I'm using those, and SPF 30-50 rash guards from Bumps to Babes meant as swimwear but really don't look vm like it)..

See? SPF 50, I hardly have to bother with messy sunscreen lotion after I add a hat

*Local friends keep telling us all these horror stories - like apparently months back it was reported locally someone took really nice-looking, supposedly hi-quality paper towels to a lab and they tested positive for fecal bacteria and in the ensuing investigation it turned out the manufacturer got materials from used toilet paper... another story has used sanitary napkins...

6. Crocs! So Rockstar can move about freely in hotel rooms etc and then jump about on the bed, pillows included, without us having to clean his feet all the time.

7. Spare change of clothes and socks for Rockstar for his night sleep on board, toothbrush (which I'll throw away after - just easier than worrying how clean I kept the wet bristles on the plane or well, knowingly letting him not brush his teeth before bed)

8. And this last for the dog - because I found a giant tick on her less than a week ago (which added insult to injury by bursting into a juicy red mess garnished with tick eggs maybe, when I tried to get it off). So after bringing her home, donning rubber gloves and scrubbing her back, we decided to board her at the "5 Star Dog Hotel."

I mention this because I remember picking umpteen dog and cow ticks off my (at one time eight) mutts in Malaysia - never once heard of tick fever. JD in Singapore never donned a tick collar except to board - never saw a tick on her. We move to HK and then not a few meet dog owners who lose their well-cared-for pets to tick fever, or freak out and bring their dog to the vet's when they find a tick.

For some reason HK seems to have way more bugs like this than Malaysia or Singapore (unless maybe its just less reported in Malaysia- but 8 dogs of my own in my teens  and gadzillion ticks later, we never had an incident.) Last time JD got tick fever, the strain she had was quite highly fatal and required exact dosage of medicine that you had to syringe in the dog very carefully and make sure she swallowed it all - so that was another thing I was doing after work, besides the breastfeeding haha).

No lar, didn't go by pedal boat to the vets

So back to the vet to update JD's 3-yearly and yearly vaccine records before the dog hotel will accept her. (According to the dog hotel people, the government issued a warning to all the boarding houses that they have to obtain all the dog's vaccination records before boarding.) We were hoping the pricier dog place because they are more erm, business-oriented, would also probably be a lot more stringent (especially if we tip)... fingers crossed.

Ok gotta pack...

Ps: And now you know how obsessive compulsive I can be <sheepish>

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About Aileen

I blog about living and raising my son in Hong Kong - where toddlers have entrance interviews, parents keep test score spreadsheets, private school debentures can trade for more than half a million USD. Raising Rockstar's the most important thing I'll ever do. We show our true colors by the choices we make in bringing up our children. My blog is a message to my toddler son, about what the world and his parents are like today - for when he becomes a teenager and knows everything.
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  • Heather Sario

    Woah! That was quite a read 🙂
    Though I must admit, I already do items 1,4,6 and 7, albeit with adult medicines and flip flops instead of crocs… So I can imagine just how O.C I’ll be with baby… :-/
    You a virgo as well, perchance? 🙂

    • Aileen

      Wah really meh? I was a bit self conscious, thought people will say I’m a bit siau… I don’t actually read horoscopes, but YES you are right I am a Virgo 😀

  • zmun2

    Hi Aileen, thanks for your long write up on travelling must-haves. Not only for children, it is useful for adults too. I learn something new here too – N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET). 

    Rockstar and JD, both are so very lucky to have a mommy like you. Have a safe journey and enjoy your vacation! 🙂

    • Aileen

      Haha I learnt something new too – I only knew that as DEET 😛
      Thanks for the well wishes dear…