Erawan Waterfalls in Kanchanaburi Thailand and the Quest for Rapibur Anti-Rabies Vaccine

erawan waterfalls in kanchanaburi, thailand

Greetings,

I was going to write this LOVELY (think Old School & Will Ferrel explaining his Saturday to those kids who want him to funnel beer) trip to Erawan falls. It was delightful and I had a sick time despite never having planned on going. I ran into a travel agent who was going there with a group, I said “I got gas pitch!” half jokingly and she said don’t worry about it, just come, we’re leaving at 9.

I awake a few hours early check no one there, then realize it’s 6:30am, whoops. Fast forward to 9, we hang out and we go. It’s 200 baht and a great time. The first ~500M I was like, wow I’m outta shape, then suddenly I’m sprinting around to the top. They had this one waterfall that has a huge sliding rock and it was littered with attractive Australians. Would have filmed it then but being the gregarious gentleman that I am, I joined them. I didn’t have my swim suit but figured silk boxers would do considering half the people there were Euro’s in speedos.

I digress.

Hang out and meet some nice people and climb to the very top, definitely worthwhile and very glad I went. Pictures below speak for themselves as well as the video above… The people I went with were very nice and the tour guide was really cool, my kinda lady! Another cool thing is that there are tones of big fish swimming around.

erawan waterfalls in kanchanaburi, thailand

erawan waterfalls level 3 or 4 rock slide in kanchanaburi, thailand

erawan waterfalls in kanchanaburi, thailand

erawan waterfalls in kanchanaburi, thailand

swimming in erawan waterfalls in kanchanaburi, thailand

Being the kind soul that she is, she drops me off at a local hospital. Once again they treat me like a King and are about to inject me with a vaccine but it’s NOT RABIPUR. Listen you, I don’t know my a$$ from my elbow about medicine but I do know I want to continue with the same vaccine, makes sense, yes?

So they give me the info, I read it, it has the “Anti-Rabies Vaccine” and 2.5 whatever or greater in international units. Figure it should be OK, however they say down the street 10KM they should have it. I say whatever, it’s only 10KM, I’m outta here.

Surprisingly I CAN’T FIND a cab, anywhere. So I look for the local bus that comes this way, nothing. At this point I’m having rabies rage and saying “PHUCKET”, I’m just gonna walk or get a ride for free. So I walk, I walk, I walk, I walk. I run into all sorts of characters along the way such as police, tourist police, some French people and mechanics. The mechanics ask if I want a shot of their local moonshine and I say “Sure”. That was a bad idea because immediately after drinking it, it felt like a death march.

Every KM or so I ask how far it is, one guy says 2KM left, I’m like “sweet”, next guy says 6, I’m like “This sucks”. I ask these ladies at a local store… They say it’s far, if you can wait 2 minutes, I’ll drive you free, really? For free? Awesome. It’s odd how once you commit to something, I mean TOTALLY COMMIT to something, the universe works its magic in your favor. I was NOT taking a cab or anything, I was annoyed and suffering from rabies rage (ok not really).

So I help her unload the stuff from her motorbike with side carriage and while doing these dogs freak on me, great I’m on route to a rabies vaccine and these dogs are tweaking on me. One then licks me. I am getting shots so it’s no big deal but thought I’d mention it. She drives me for ~5KM and as we get to the hospital this dog starts going ape sh~t on the vehicle. Below is the free ride.

free ride in sorta taxi, kanchanaburi thailand

Get there, they make me wait forever and then I’m sitting in the seat and she is about to inject me with this strange serum. This is at a private hospital btw. I say “Rabipur?” having just gone on a harrowing journey to get here when the other place was close, convenient, the staff was nice and they treated me like royalty… She pulls the box out of the garbage and it’s NOT Rabipur. She says same thing as other ladies, it doesn’t matter it’s a different brand but a PCEC post exposure immunization… What am I to believe? I take the shot. One thing that confuses is me is neither placed asked how much I weigh (I’m not big) but the Rabipur was 1ML while both of these are 0.5ML, hmmm, suspect!? They all contain 2.5 units or more of “Anti-Rabies Vaccine”.

As I’m leaving, filled with a mild case of neurosis from the fact that both these mention a different strain, but how did the first place in Bangkok know what strain? Maybe having multiple strains is good? What’s good, what’s bad? I dunno… So I pay and it says “medical & drug use” on the receipt, I tell them I want it to say VERORAB Anti Rabies Vaccine as that is what I paid for, they come back 10 minutes later and say it’s 200 baht more. At this point my “What the…” switch flips.

I say, this is illegal, I bought VERORAB and that is what I want on my receipt, I told them if I buy a mars bar or a bar of soap at a grocery store, it says what I bought, this should be no different. The lady starts flipping on me in Thai.  Finally some other lady comes over and I tell her what’s up, she goes back and 10 minutes later comes back and says well Dr. already signed so he did his job, I said that’s crap, I want a receipt that says what I paid for and I’m not leaving until I get it. I get it, no extra charge.

Screw private hospitals, they are money grabs. I am so happy to be from a country where all hospitals are the same and the people working there have NO INCENTIVE to try and up charge you. It’s not he flow people, it’s the principle of charging me extra for an itemized receipt. If I didn’t have it, I could of bought some sedatives or something, or advil or whatever. That said, I’m a foreigner here so they treat you different. A guy I know here says he ONLY goes to private because they treat him like garbage at the local one. Just called my family Doctor, got receptionist, she said he is busy, asked if I ordered it from him “Said no” and she told me I should call a pharmacy… What a nice lady.

So here I am, back at my guest house after a 40 baht motorcycle ride through Kanchanaburi on some guy who drove soooo slow I felt unsafe. It’s odd how when you are in “crazy land” on the road, the guy driving slowest is often the most dangerous, it’s treu (sic).

I have 3 “anti rabies vaccines”… 2 Rapibur and one VEROLAB. The one they offered me at the first place was called Abhayrab and at least it had “Rabies Vaccine B.P” on the cover, whatever B.P means. That is what Rabipur has. This one jsut says “Inactivated Rabies Vaccine Prepared on VERO Cells”. The Rabipur was on chicken embryos. Again, I have no clue what any of this means. All I know is 2 hospitals says no worries so I’m not gonna worry, ok just a bit. I suspect it’s all good but for peace of mind, I’d like to take the same vaccine until completion.

Just did a google search and nothing relevant comes up. Maybe I’ll call my Doctor today and ask him, then again he probably won’t know, Rabies is like Polio or the Plague back home, nobody gets it, ever. On the topic, this guy at the hospital told me a story of what happened to his friend… His daughter and him got a bite form their puppy… He got his daughter vaccinated and didn’t himself. She’s OK and he’s dead. Supposedly he just got mad sick and then just tightened up and became crazy before shortly after “kicking the can”. Cool, he said “Get a cane to keep em away and make sure they load you up, I’d rather overdose on the vaccine than die of Rabies”. He was quite the character.

Alright, I’m gonna chill out and have a cold one, maybe eat some soup from the street and then eat so many skewers that it skews my judgment so that I decide to go to bed at a reasonable hour tonight. I have something planned for tomorrow that is “same same but different” from my last few days, use your imagination.

Oh yeah, check out Erawan Falls if you’re in the area, it gets the SHABL Stamp of “Worthy”, even if you don’t like nature so much, you’ll love those Eastern European ladies bathing suits.

Tips hat with a perplexed look on face,

2 Comments

  1. sageorodriguez

    January 26, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Erawon was amazing, you didn’t mention how the fish nip the dead skin off your body and that there are some spas in N.A. that will charge you big bucks just to have these fish mow down on your flesh, But there its free. Lol. anyways man i hope your rabies shot situation works out. Where you going next?

  2. Rob

    January 26, 2010 at 10:01 am

    No clue, where should I go? Just called a nurse back home who said a vaccine is a vaccine and she’s sure about that. No more sketchy message board posts on the web.

    Some of those fish are huge, didn’t feel them eating but I was moving around a lot.

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