Musn’t grumble

We are back in Auckland and I am down and teary about that but I’m going to try hard not to complain so will leave it at this.

Our last couple of days in Thailand were not without drama. We were taken to see some wild monkeys on Friday and fed them a bag filled with bananas which they seemed very appreciative of. Daniel and Elizabeth are not scared of animals like other children can be and Daniel held a banana just a little bit too long for the liking of a rather large alpha-male who then attacked Daniel, giving him a small open wound on his hand. I saw the attack but can’t say for certain whether Daniel’s wound is the result of a scratch or a bite. I am pretty sure it is a scratch but I am not 100% sure. The distinction is fairly important because rabies is transmitted through saliva.

We asked some locals about it and they told us not to worry so we didn’t think about it for the rest of the day. But then that night I decided this was too risky not to take precautions and so as we flew out of Khon Kaen early the next morning, I resolved to find a doctor at an airport en route to New Zealand. We made our connecting flight in Bangkok with little time to spare so it was in Hong Kong that we sought medical help. We had to wait two hours – something to do with Chinese New Year – and the doctor who saw Daniel was rather confused and unsure what to do. Eventually he decided that monkeys do not carry rabies. My response was, “Are you sure?”. I really wanted to say, “Don’t you want to google that?” but I know how doctors feel about the google diagnosis and so I kept my mouth shut.

As soon as we left the medical centre, with one unvaccinated Daniel, I looked it up and found that monkeys do carry rabies. So then I became a bit dismissive of everything the Hong Kong doctor had said. But by then we had another flight to catch and so we decided to take him to a New Zealand doctor. This is where he is right now with Ben and I have word that they’re making up the vaccine for him now. I have also discovered that the vaccine can be administered right up until symptoms appear. After that it’s too late and certain death. Daniel has no symptoms of any sort and I think the risk is low but the consequences so severe that it’s just not worth taking the risk.

The evening after the monkey attack we went to a very glamorous golf resort for dinner. It was such a stark contrast to the poverty of the surrounding area that I felt a bit embarrassed eating there.  But the food was excellent and I ate the best som dum I have ever had.

Here are some photos from our last day.



Pee-Nang, Elizabeth and me


Elizabeth took the next three photographs and they are amazingly excellent. This next one of Pee-Nang is so good. She looks serene – which is probably a good description of her – and nothing like her 72 years.IMG_5299

Cookie Monster

20 responses to “Musn’t grumble”

  1. That was quite an episode with Daniel’s monkey run-in. A bit negligent of the HK doctor. I hope Nang can make it out to see you in Auckland soon. Elizabeth’s photos are good especially the one of Cookie Monster. Great pose!

  2. Excellent! You seem to have had a great time. I am glad Daniel is ok. Lol on the Doctor’s and the Google diagnosis. But it sure shows that nothing beats a mother’s intuition 🙂

  3. I was bitten by a little dog in a fabric shop once in Khon Kaen almost forty years ago. The fact that I had trodden on him as I was squeezing between rolls of fabric didn’t really allay my fears as we’d had rather an epidemic of rabies at the time on the university campus where we lived. Two cases come to mind – the English lecturer’s pampered, pet dog that had bitten her had been found to have rabies and a wild, rabid dog that had run through the classrooms until chased down and shot. Rabies is an awful thing.
    The owner of the unfortunate pooch that I stood on, not wanting to have his dog put down, assured me that his dog wasn’t aggressive or rabid, it was just reacting to my very clumsy behaviour. In the end, we came to an arrangement whereby we all agreed to watch the dog closely. After that, I never went into town without slowly driving past his shop, waving and looking in to make sure the dog was still in good health.
    I also remember the monkey village. The monkeys were very aggressive, landing on the car roof as we pulled up and putting long, hairy arms in through the window. We knew to let go of the bananas immediately.
    I am sorry you have had all this stress and worry, but as you can’t watch the offending monkey, you don’t have much choice.

      • Back then, it would have been a series of injections in the stomach for about a month so watching the dog wasn’t so hard and its owner didn’t think it likely. The teacher who was bitten knew it was so out of character for her dog that she did have it put down and its brain examined. However, until it bit her, the dog had exhibited no signs of the disease! I think a big ferung stepping on a little dog might cause a dog to bite. I’m just grateful our countries don’t have this disease.

      • I’m aware of the Lyssavirus in Australia. It’s the reason I try not to leave pet water bowls out in the open lest the water get infected from bats flying overhead. However, we don’t have rabid dogs running about the countryside. Thank god!

  4. Catching up with you Rachel (got my laptop back at last but still trying to figure out all my personal settings which is a nuisance, but mustn’t complain, could have been worse) and it seems you have had quite a lot of adventures in that time! I was very interested to read about your time in Thailand but so sorry about Daniel’s bite. I agree totally, nothing like mother’s intuition. Always go with it! Also I agree that Elizabeth did indeed to a super job with the photos 🙂

    • Thanks, Sherri. I’ve got a bit of catching up to do in the blogoshpere. I just feel like going back to sleep at the moment though. Must be jet lag.

      • I should say, you must be exhausted! It always used to take me ages to get over jet lag, worse coming back home to the UK from the States I used to find. Hope you will soon be up and running again with your usual vim and vigour 🙂

  5. Bad luck with the monkeys 😦 Nice to see a picture of you all in the sun, very different from the wrapped up look in England.

    It is strange, when I got to the end of your post and all the photographs, I didn’t want it to end. It has been very enjoyable seeing your tour around the country. I am not surprised you are sad it has ended. On the other hand, I think what a wonderful opportunity you and your faily have experienced these last few months.

  6. Poor Daniel! I can sympathise, I was bitten by a wild animal overseas but luckily didn’t come down with anything. I did see a rabid dog in Bangkok though! Very glad he is ok. Big hugs from Aunty.

    We fed the monkeys too, they were quite shy with us and gently took our offerings then promptly ran away. They were a bit scary though!

    Would love to compare Pa Nang stories! I hope you had a good stay too xxx

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