I am determined to find the Japanese Encephalitis vaccination here in Delhi, which the doctor giving the presentation to all Fulbrighters said was available at her hospital. Told it was a well-known hospital, we negotiated with auto rickshaw driver (I was with a fellow Fulbrighter looking to get some shots himself) to take us there. After a bumpy and petrol-filled one hour ride (For a trip of this length, I highly recommend a taxi with a/c) we sputtered up to the new and modern looking hospital. So you can imagine our disappointment when the receptionist tells us that the good doctor is at a different location today. We fueled up on Gatorade, Immodium and water and headed out to find another auto rickshaw.
Again, negotiations, and this time, only a half hour ride, to a smaller clinic. After filling in a form in which I had to note either my father’s or husband’s name, and paying only Rs 300 ($6.67) as the consultation fee, I was eventually told by the pharmacist that the JE vaccine has been banned from India. WHAT? The doctor assures me that these things come and go and I should call her mobile later that evening. More water, more Gatorade, and we’re off: I did not get any shots. No such luck, she says, when I phone her later. But I should call her tomorrow, because she is checking with her supplier.
That afternoon we visit the lovely Red Fort. The planner in me loved the Metro ride. The Delhi metro is fairly new – built about five years ago. It’s extremely user-friendly, and, despite the bag x-ray and the body scan, it went smoothly and quickly. After the Red Fort we stumbled upon a Sikh (pronounced like sick) gurdwara – a large, white temple with friendly Sikhs taking our shoes and offering head coverings. As we ascended the stairs, barefoot and treading lightly on the slick stone, the sounds of Sikh music became clearer and more vibrant. Sweets were offered at the door for all visitors.
Not feeling well, dinner consisted only of a raita – a yogurt drink; this one had puffed wheat or rice balls floating around it.