Marieke ten Wolde's blog

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Posts Tagged ‘Rabies

Tibet Travel log 7, Bloody dogs and rabies shots

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The result of my karma, the Tibetan way of thinking, or bad luck, my take, was a dog bite. It was no more than some minor scratches (see previous blog) and an enormous bruise that took three weeks to disappear, but since the skin was broken, I had to find Rabies booster shots. There are no Rabies shots available in Tagong, because these need to be cooled and with the intermittent power supply, the local clinic is not allowed to store the vaccine.

Therefore I went to the next large town with reliable power supply (Kangding) to the vaccination office where dog bites and rabies vaccinations are a standard procedure and taken very seriously!

It was decided I needed to have four shots: two were immediately administered, one I would have to get in a few days time and one two weeks after that. The nurses also very carefully pointed out that the vaccine had to be cooled, but not frozen. The remaining two bottles of vaccine were packed in newspaper and ice and they insisted that I put them as quickly as possible in the fridge in the Tagong clinic.

Ha, nice challenge, I did not tell them I was not staying in Tagong but backpacking through a freezing Tibet where at the same time temperature would reach 30 degrees in the sun. I will spare you tales of fridges, frozen bottles of water, power cuts, locked storage rooms, local clinics, quality of Chinese syringes etc that I dealt with in the weeks after.

But I managed, so, if you think these blogs stay coherent, you might conclude those Rabies shots worked.

(If you still doubt about getting your rabies vaccinations before heading for Tibet, please check up Wikipedia on the subject)

Written by Marieke ten Wolde

July 20, 2012 at 08:53

Tibet Travel log 6, Those bloody dogs

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Monastery dogs, I seem to have an issue with them. Which is strange, I like dogs and dogs like me, at least in Europe they do. In Tibet it is different, in Tibet the dogs are different.

Single dogs are OK: they seem to mind their own business and can be chased away by throwing a few stones, I always have a few stones in my pocket, if that does not work because they just wait with attacking until you have thrown your stones, then you can fight them of with a stick. In my case a tripod does miracles.

The problem is packs of dogs. In some villages and monasteries in Tibet packs of dogs take over the streets, and not only at night.  Even Tibetans themselves are careful, but the dogs seem to pick out the strangers. Typically one dog starts howling, others join, they follow you, start growling, one attacks the others join in and before you know it you are hunted down by a pack of dogs. I have been warned so often by Tibetans not to go in some direction because of dogs, they have offered me rides to avoid ‘dog area’s’, they have chased dogs away for me. And I had been on edge, but fine, so far.

It turned out the other problem is sudden attacks. Dogs that do not bark mean business, they just growl look straight at you and bite. Or bite before you even saw them.

I was at one of the Buddhist teaching colleges in Tagong on the main road. No dog in sight. There was an interesting statue being erected on a mountain and there was a rather big concrete building I had not seen in previous years. I was trying to find the right angle to make an interesting picture. As I raised the camera something hit my leg, at least it felt like that. I looked down: a dog, attached to my leg, very angry. My black coat, black daypack and tripod probably triggered him. Luckily only one smallish dog and he let go when I wacked him and I managed to pull back, or depending on the point of view, the dog chased me away.

The Tibetans say that the dogs hanging around at the monasteries are the reincarnations of monks that violated their vows. So Tibetans often joke I must have done something to a monk or a dog in my previous life and am now paying for that.

Written by Marieke ten Wolde

July 13, 2012 at 08:42