Buenos Aires to Azul – Part 1 of the Great American Trek

So what have Meg and I being doing apart from eating Bon-o-bons and stealing free sugar from coffee shops? Well I’m going to try and tell you, but it might take a while, so I am going to do it in parts, a ‘ride-report’ if you will. Hold tight people.T

he trip had a frantic start, and you really have to pinch yourself to appreciate where you are, what you’re doing and to take in the memories, its way to easy to get caught up in the rush and excitement. This was made even more difficult by the fact that our flight to Buenos Aires was leaving in an hour and we still had to pack all of our extra kit and tyres into the bike crates at a cargo company so they could be sealed in time for their flight out. This is particularly ironic, because as most of you know we then had to wait two full weeks in Buenos Aires before the bikes even left South Africa.

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Looking sharp in our ‘safe-to-be-seen’ jackets

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Stuffing some of our goodies in the bike crates

After a hair-raising taxi ride to the hostel, we spend two weeks, vegetating, sight seeing, buying rubbish and generally becoming fat and broke. The upside to this was meeting some fantastic people, all on their own journeys and all in different places in their lives. If you guys are reading this- it was a real pleasure, it felt like a little family of misfits who all shared the difficulty of finally leaving BA, we had a jol.

One person I must mention in particular, is Dan. Both because he is doing a similar, although much more amazing, journey than ours, and because our paths cross again later on the trip. Dan is cycling around the world, he one of those very rare creatures that motorcycle overlanders will come across once every blue moon, seeing them on the road is much like seeing a unicorn, strange creatures, and very rare. God only knows what would possess you to do something that mad. You can check out Dan’s journey >HERE<. He is a great guy, and he is going to do and see some really cool stuff – you should definitely be following his trip!

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Dan the unicorn – see, he’s funny!

I will eventually get around to writing a post on the things to do in BA… I promise, but here are some of the best parts:

Recoleta Cemetary:

Absolutely amazing, old, beautiful graves and tombs, beautiful sculptures, and MASSIVE. If you are going to BA you have to go to the cemetery, we loved it.

cafe, recoleta, buenos aires, argentina, travel, coffee, south america, backpack

Cafe in Recoleta, every weekend there is a big market on the square near the cemetery

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Recoleta, cementario, cemetery, grave, big, beautiful, sculpture, argentina, buenos Aires, graves, tombs, travel, tourist, tourism

Argentina, Buenos Aires, Recoleta, grave, tomb, derelict, beautiful, decay, GoPro, Canon

Derelict grave in Recoleta

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Some beautiful sculpture

Argentina, grave, statue, tomb, cemetery, Buenos Aires, Recoleta, beautiful, sculpture

Some beautiful statues – what do I have to do to get a headstone like that?

skull, bones, cross bones, sculpture, death, tomb, grave, recoleta, argentina, buenos aires, photography

Here lies a badass…

Grave, tomb, ivy, overgrown, beautiful, awesome, old, monument, Argentina, South America, Recoleta, cementario, cemetery

Not too shabby eh Nige…?

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From the most pristine, well-kept tombs, to the most derelict, they are all astounding to see

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GoPro – never be without it!

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Meg looking like a boss – like a REAL photyographer

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Sculpture EVERYWHERE

Angel, angels, cemetery, buenos aires, sky, gopro, hero 3+, Statue, sculpture

Yup – it was an awesome day

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Inside, there are also some amazing things to see, with some great stained glass

Recoleta, cementario, cemetery, grave, big, beautiful, sculpture, argentina, buenos Aires, graves, tombs, travel, tourist, tourism

corridors and corridors of tombs and graves

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Some havnt been visited in a LONG time

Palermo parks and Japanese Gardens:

Also beautiful, spent a peaceful day with Meg, taking photos, playing with ducks and picnicking. The parks apparently also turn into a red-light district at night,  there’s some duality for you!

Buenos Aires, Palermo, Japanese GARDENS, beautiful, Canon 7D, travel, backpacking

The Japanese Gardens in Palermo

Buenos Aires, Palermo, Japanese GARDENS, beautiful, Canon 7D, travel, backpacking

Japanese Gardens in Palermo

Buenos Aires, Palermo, Japanese GARDENS, beautiful, Canon 7D, travel, backpacking

Bizarre to see in the middle of cosmopolitan Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires, Palermo, Japanese GARDENS, beautiful, Canon 7D, travel, backpacking

Some beautiful photos to be had, everything is really well-tended to

Ducks, rude, violent, unfriendly, racist, attack, fight

Some ducks are just rude and racist to other ducks – bullies

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A Japanese bridge, as you might have guessed, in Argentina

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Look at this chick – what a belter

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Schoolkids, they all wear lab-coats in Argentina for God-knows what reason

Buenos Aires, Palermo, Japanese GARDENS, beautiful, Canon 7D, travel, backpacking, waterfall

And a waterfall

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GoPro – Our weapon of choice

Buenos Aires, Palermo, Japanese GARDENS, beautiful, Canon 7D, travel, backpacking, geese, ducks, ducklings, goslings

Pato pato pato

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GoPro

Fuerza Bruta

Gobsmacking, flabbergasting, mind-blowing. What the hell just happened to me and what did I see!? Its really difficult to explain this one, a show with everything from a mans journey through life on a giant treadmill, to a massive ,transparent, moving swimming pool suspended inches above your face, filled with pretty girls, to people ripping a house apart and the whole crowd being encapsulated in one big, confetti-filled jumping castle. MADNESS. Check more out >HERE<

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Epic

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The crazy treadmill

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The dream / nightmare

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The swimming pool in the sky, on its way down

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Dancing with a puddle, making patterns with the water as it follows her around above you

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Having a moment with one of the swimming girls

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Stealing a crowd member inside the giant jumping caste / air tent

Fuerza Bruta, group, photo, after, show, interactive, party, jol

After the show – Stoked!

San Telmo market

You THINK you’ve been to a flea-market. You haven’t been to a flea market. Everything under the sun is available at this market, and it takes an entire day to traverse, its so big we actually had to call it quits and duck out at a stage.

Argentina, Buenos Aires, San Telmo, square, girl

Meg in San Telmo square

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Some great street-art in Buenos Aires, there’s tons of it!

San Telmo, Buenos Aires, Argentina, market, street

The San Telmo market – it just goes on… and on… and on…

Argentina, Buenos Aires, San Telmo, market, street, people

and on… and on… and on…

Argentina, buenos aires, San Telmo, architechture, beautiful, old, building, balcony, city

It’s a beautiful city

As a side-note: Boca is billed as a major tourist attraction. Don’t go. It’s complete rubbish. Fake, touristy, and boring. You will feel like you are being scammed out of every last penny, and that’s because you are.

Argentina, Buenos Aires, Boca

Boca

Argentina, Buenos Aires, Boca

More Boca

Argentina, Buenos Aires, Boca

And more Boca

Argentina, Buenos Aires, Boca

Well this was awesome at least – Meg and Natalie doing a tango – for real

So we met some people, and saw some sights, same as everybody else – big yawn. But then the bikes arrived.

Getting our bikes was made possible by the help of Vino Ruthnum at Aviocean Natal, and the famed Dakar Motos, run by Sandra and Javier -we were very lucky to have the help, friendship and advice of such great people, we owe you so much. After lots of excitement and interesting train rides we arrived at the airport, where, with the help of Sandra we opened the crates to see our two beautiful BMW F800GS’s.

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Up and running, just about

After the initial awe we realised: how the hell do we get the front wheels back on!? Not HOW do I put on a front wheel, I mean I’m not an idiot, but how do I get the bike into a position to put the wheel back on. With nothing to prop under the bash plate, and with a big piece of wood behind the rear wheel, getting it onto a center stand was going to be problematic, and getting it onto the side-stand near impossible, as the crating slats were in the way. A logistical nightmare was averted when I thought to myself: ‘Its a GS… this bike is built like a tank, I’ve put this bike on its side more times than I can count’. So that’s exactly what I did, tipped the bike over onto the floor and got to work. Within minutes we had two fully assembled, ready for action machines. After signing some paperwork and getting shamelessly hit on by the girl behind the customs desk we hit the road.

And man did we fight… big stress, other side of the road, Spanish street signs, unfamiliar equipment, crazy drivers, not knowing what to say, malfunctioning GPS. Its a miracle the trip didn’t end in a divorce before we got back to the hostel. But we got back, body, soul and marriage intact.

This was mirrored the next day on take-off too. The bikes were so grossly overpacked we looked like we were moving house, and seconds before the ignition key was turned, the GPS decided to die. So after a good deal of frantic cursing, and stealing wifi to download a map on my phone, we were able to leave, my phone and it’s Lifeproof mount saving the day. But wait! That’s not all! We rode down the road, and on hitting Ave. 9 De Julio, both the widest, and longest avenue in the world, Megan smelt burning plastic. Shit. Her newly-mounted tool tube had melted from being to close to the exhaust. After some roadside repairs, we were finally moving.

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Packing the bikes for the first time

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Packed and ready to go!

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Do you smell burning plastic?

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Fixing the tool tube in the traffic

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Finally on the road

The view of Buenos Aires disappearing in the mirrors was a thing of beauty, the buildings got smaller, the landscape got greener, the traffic got less and as we got further out of the city, we got happier. With growing smiles we realised that we were finally doing it – we had thrown off the shackles of BA and we had the open road ahead of us. With our first petrol stop we were all smiles and in high spirits. We were heading to a town called Azul, to a place called La Posta del Viajero en Moto to meet a man named Jorge. The contact had been given to us by Javier at Dakar Motos, we knew absolutely nothing about La Posta, and we were in for a treat, the best way to start a motorcycle journey, the trip had finally started and our world was changing, a new chapter was starting.

Ill be an arsehole and just leave it here for now, but I’ll post part two ASAP – watch this space! (more actual BIKING to follow)

~Poodle

 

Review: Milhouse Hostel, Buenos Aires

Review of Milhouse Hostel Buenos Aires:

(Hipolito)

 

Price: (US$)

  • Dorm: $17
  • Double room: $50

Facilities:

  • Dorms of 4, 8, , and 12 beds
  • Double rooms
  • All beds comewith a locker for all your baggage (physical not emotional)
  • Clean, well kept bathrooms
  • Common room with bar, computers, pool table and TV
  • Free Wifi and computers with internet
  • Breakfast included (Cereal, toast with jam & dulce d’ leche, juice concentrate, coffee and occassionally cut up fruit)
  • Courtyard in the middle of the building for smokers or those who want to be ‘outside’ for a while.
  • Kitchen with hot food for sale during the day, including cooked breakfast
  • Kitchen with fridge and stove for preparing your own food (no oven)
  • Washing service $4.72 per load
  • Free labelled maps of the city with staff to help you out with advice
  • Free Tango lesson once a week
  • Range of organised walking tours, bicycle tours, cooking evenings etc. all for a price according to a weekly and daily schedule
  • Hostel internatioal discount
  • NB: You will not be allowed to bring in outside booze. The booze from the bar is also, quite frankly, overpriced at $3.50 a can of beer. A six-pack of 500ml bottles from the supermarket 2 blocks away will costs roughly $7.50.
Argentina, Buenos Aires, Hostel, Backpackers, Wifi, computers, internet, good, TV

The computers and TV area at Milhouse Hipolito

 

Our experience:

Milhouse is a very popular, clean and very organised hostel built in an old 1890s house. Now with another Milhouse open ±2 blocks away to deal with this popularity, as well as a branch in Cusco, Peru. It’s a busy, and bustling hostel with plenty on offer when it comes to organised tours, lessons, and parties. It is centrally situated, with most of the city easy to reach on foot.

The important thing to remember is that Milhouse is the ‘Party Hostel’ of Buenos Aires. Every night, one of it’s hostels becomes filled to the brim with a massive party, the party is then moved out to a club at around 03h00, with transport organised by the hostel. For those of you who have never been to BA before, this is when the clubs open. Mind. Blown.

Milhouse has a great vibe, and is run like a well-oiled machine, but if you’re not careful, you can end up spending a lot of money here. Milhouse is designed to show you as much of BA as possible while partying your arse off with minimal effort on your part. It is not however planning to save you any money in the process, so depending the location and depth of your silver spoon, take this as you will.

milhouse packpackers, staircase

The Milhouse staircase

 

How long should you stay?

  • We were there for two weeks, and it felt like too long. I would recommend a maximum of about 10 days and a minimum of four. Buenos Aires is a huge place, with lots to see, you will struggle to get everything in, even in two weeks. If you want to stay for this long I would recommend changing it up a bit with regards to hostels to keep things fresh. Because the same breakfast every morning and the same daily and nightly routine can become a bit tedious after a while.

    Milhouse, hostel, Bar, restaurant, tables, work, internet

    Us doing some work in the common room, nice place to do this, plugs and wifi readily available

Pros:

  • Internet connectivity
  • Clean
  • Organised
  • Great rooms
  • Beautiful building
  • Free breakfast
  • Central loction
  • Helpful, friendly staff
  • Nice lockers for your valubles
  • Loud porno cinema next door provides a very entertaining soundtrack to your shower, and a great topic of conversation
  • Rad parties with your bed in the same building

Cons:

  • Too many people can make the experience impersonal at times
  • No outside booze, with expensive inside booze
  • Too many rules (but can completely see why these are necessary). The booze thing, strict checkout times, cant leave baggage in the reception while you wait for transport, etc etc
  • One big gripe is that the kitchen closes and gets locked at 22h00, with all your food inside, as no food is allowed in the hostel other than the kitchen. This makes things very difficult, a really unneccessary rule
  • The bar is completely closed on non-party nights, meaning no booze allowed inside and no booze can be bought at the bar, which means no booze in the hostel at all, which means a very dreary bunch of people. This has to be changed.
  • Very few windows and outside areas, some rooms have big windows and a balcony, some have no or very few, tiny windows. The common room, reception and bar has no windows
  • Don’t have the rooftop barbeque, we did, we went to the barbeque and were just handed a plate of very average food to eat in the common room. Apparently there was construction going on on the roof, so we coudnt barbecue up there, but no one let us know. Not a BBQ and not cool!
  • Rad parties with your bed in the same building – the reasons for this being a con is not only some noise during the wee hours, which is actually really not that bad, but more for the fact that all this partying at different nights for different people can make rooming together in a dorm a bit difficult. There is always at least one person sleeping at all times due to the weird hours, so it is rare to be able to talk at normal volume in your room or possibly to ever see it in the light of day

 

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The free tango lessons at Milhouse – great fun!

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Mad skills! – Natalie and Bruno getting serious

Conclusion:

Milhouse is not a good hostel, it’s a great hostel. And if you are keen for a few big nights, this is the place to visit. The only drawback is the no outside booze rule amongst other rules. And while I understand this is bound to happen with increased size and popularity, it makes for a bit of a clinical, unpersonalised experience. When I travel I prefer the quirkier, family run, and organic places with a bit of soul and personality, and generally try to avoid the generic, Hostel International like the plague. They have become ‘The Man’. But different strokes and all of that I suppose. Milhouse: Please don’t loose your soul and become another Hostel international, I beg you,!

Go and visit Milhouse, you will party your arse off and meet great people in comfort, you wont be sorry, it’s a great place.

 

Time of review: September / October 2014

 

Address:

Hipolito Yrigoyen 959

Buenos Aires

 

Link:

Milhouse Hostel

 

Tel:

+541143459604

 

~Poodle

(Some of the images on this post were taken from the Milhouse website, they link back to it, and I am in no way trying to claim these as my own)

How to pack a first-aid kit for traveling- The doctors’ orders

So here is the first of many packing lists still to come. Lots of people have been requesting these, so we thought we would start with our “first-aid” kit – as two doctors, what we made is not really a first-aid kit, its slightly more, sort of a Frankensteiny resus kit.

Important stuff to remember:

  1. You must take a script for all medications and include it in it’s associated zip-lock bag just  in case.
  2. Very important, is how to package pills for a motorcycle trip, especially an off-road one. With all the moving and shaking all your tablets will turn to dust in 30min if you don’t package them tight. We put them into pill bottles and then filled the rest of the bottles tightly with foam, so nothing can move around, then sealed the top with insulation tape to prevent anything getting wet. This was a lesson learned through experience

But anyhow, here you go, this is what two doctors think you should take on an extended motorcycle trip.

Let us know if you have any questions or recommendations, maybe we forgot something – a medical kit is a constantly evolving thing: no medical kit is ever complete!

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Hospital in a bag

  1. Doxycycline 100mg dly (script needed but you can get one from any travel clinic if they know you are traveling to a malaria area) – Malaria prophylaxis – the cheapest, easiest way to prevent malaria, we are going to spending a lot of time near malaria, so we have a 3 month course each inside that little bottle. Luckily, its also the treatment for tick-bite fever, and if you’re that way inclined… STDs
  2. Adrenaline – 2 x 1ml vials: For dire emergencies involving anaphylaxis (allergic reactions) or shock. As a non-medical professional, you can get an epi-pen prescribed for you, its just crazy-expensive: an epi-pen is ±R1000 and a vial of adrenaline, which is exactly the same thing, is R1..
  3. Probiotics (interflora – can buy over the counter): Essential when taking antibiotics to replace the ‘good bacteria’ in your gut to prevent associated diarrhoea and general crappyness – also good for normal diarrhoea
  4. Flagyl (Metronidazole – script needed) (4 courses): An antibiotic for bacteria that causes traveler’s diarrhoea
  5. Also flagyl (traveler’s diarrhoea is no joke people!)
  6. Alzam (20 tablets) (Xanax – definitely need a script): An anti-anxiety medication, for Meg’s fear of flying and any trouble falling asleep
  7. Inderal (6 tablets): Beta-blocker also used for anxiety (not essential for every medical kit and script needed)
  8. Prednisone 20 x 5mg tablets: For allergic reactions – (script needed)
  9. Augmentin 1g (4 courses) (amoxicillin + cluvanic acid – script needed): A broad spectrum antibiotic for a broad spectrum (duh) of infections and sicknesses
  10. Augmentin
  11. Augmentin
  12. Even more Augmentin
  13. Tweezers
  14. Mosquito forceps: Can be used to grasp and clamp off bleeding vessels in a bad injury, grab small foreign objects, and can even be used as a tool when working on the motorcycle engine with small parts
  15. Artery forceps: Can be used for the above, as well as for stitching to hold a needle
  16. Scissors: Cut stitches, clothes, bandages, etc etc.
  17. Thermometer: Used to diagnose a fever as well as monitor it’s response to antibiotics
  18. Gelofusin: An intra-venous fluid that is given via a drip to replace large volumes of blood loss. This might seem a little drastic, but as doctors on a motorcycle trip, we just don’t want to be without it. Not worth taking if you don’t know how to use it – can be dangerous if given incorrectly
  19. Lignocaine: local anaesthetic for sutures or any other owie that requires it – script needed
  20. Iliadin nasal spray: a bocked nose can be a real bitch (any decongestant spary can be bought over the counter)
  21. Tears natural: For dry or irritated eyes, or if your in a weed-legal state ;)
  22. Swimmer’s ear drops: Clear water out of your ears
  23. Variety of pain killers, from mild to just below horse-tranquilizer – includes:
    1. Stilpayne (Codeine and paracetamol – script needed)
    2. Panado (Paracetamol – over the counter)
    3. Tramacet (Codeine and Paracetamol – script needed)
    4. Oxycontin (codeine – scedule 6-7, definitely needs script)
    5. NB: We haven’t included any Aspirin or anti-inflammatories here as I (Matthew) am severely allergic, otherwise a really good idea and can be purchased over the counter
  24. Gaviscon tablets: For heartburn. Its bound to happen
  25. Canestin cream (cotrimoxazole – over the counter): For a cookie-itch (thrush)
  26. Burnshield 100×100 dressing: for all sorts of burns, with a hot exhaust around you can’t be without this!
  27. Dressing pack:
    1. Plasters – variety, important for blister prevention / relief
    2. Sterile blades – variety of uses including cutting loose skin from wounds, draining abscesses, shaving hair around wounds etc.
    3. Steri-strips – stitchless wound closure for small wounds, or for those who can not suture wounds
    4. Variety of sutures – for those who can
    5. Opsite – basically medical clingwrap: to cover exposed wounds to keep them clean or to secure an iv line etc etc
  28. Jagermeister: Why WOULDN’T you carry Jagermeister!? – no script needed
  29. Burnshield gel tube and lamisil:
    1. Burnshield once again, this time in a gel form, so you can apply to wound and cover with a different bandage
    2. Lamisil (Terbinafine ointment) in case of any athlete’s foot picked up in dodgy bathrooms
  30. Variety pack:
    1. Burnshield 25×50 dressing
    2. 2 x sachets of vital protection (washed in with clothes to offer 3 months of mosquito-repellant clothing)
    3. Rehydrate – important to combat dehydration, drink when experiencing diarrhoea or vomiting,
    4. Condoms (variety of uses apart from the obvious very important use)
  31. Syringe and needle pack:
    1. 1 x 10ml syringe (for diluting adrenaline)
    2. 2 x 2ml syringes (for administering lignocaine)
    3. Various needles (also useful for removing splinters etc.
    4. Gelcos in various sizes (for inserting iv lines)
  32. Vital protection spray – mosquito repellant, also lasts for 3 months after applied to clothes and tent
  33. Variety pack 2:
    1. Chloromycetin eye ointment (chloramphenicol – script needed): for eye infections
    2. Vermox 500mg stat (Mebendazole – over the counter): for, you guessed it… worms (and other parasites)
    3. Augmentin 375mg – milder course of Augmentin
    4. Ciprobay (3 courses) (ciprofloxacin – script needed)- antibiotic for urinary tract infections, and travelers diarrhoea
  34. Anusol: For haemorrhoids. It happens, and its even less fun when you have to ride a motorcycle for days on end
  35. Savlon: General antiseptic solution
  36. Variety pack 3:
    1. Tampon: also a variety of uses, including stopping severe nose bleeds, whilst inducing hysterical laughter in those around at the time. Can also be used to plug a large, bleeding puncture wound
    2. Dental floss: Used as floss, emergency suture material, or as thread to sew on loos buttons etc – very strong
    3. Ear buds: Remove foreign objects from eyes and wounds and for applying ointments
    4. Toothpick – because it doesn’t take up any space and Megan wanted it – use pending…
    5. Bandage clips x 6
    6. Safety pins x 10
  37. Plastic zip-lock bags: the uses for these are infinite, a vital thing to take
  38. IVI line – for putting up a drip
  39. Variety pack:
    • Betadine antiseptic ointment
    • Water for injection x 2 – to dilute adrenaline
    • Alcohol swabs – also infinite uses, including cleaning a site before injection or lancing, cleaning a small wound, cleaning skin before applying a plaster etc etc etc.
    • Primapore : Wound dressing
    • Gelonet: wound dressing for wounds where there is a danger of the gauze of the dressing sticking to the wound (burns, grazes)
  40. Malaria kit :
    • 2 x rapid test kits (can be bought at a travel clinic)
    • Instructions
    • Co-artem tablets 200mg  (artemether/lumefantrine – script needed) for malaria treatment before you get to a hospital
  41. CPR barrier device: For giving CPR to a stranger
  42. Rubber gloves: For working on people and bikes, keeps off blood as well as grease
  43. Crepe bandages
  44. Variety pack : The tummy stuff:
    • Immodium (Loperamide – over the counter) x 24 tablets: Diarrhoea + motorcycles = not cool
    • Buscopan (Butylscopolamine – over the counter) x 20 tablets: Stomach cramps
    • Desolex x 20: Antihistamine with no side-effects of drowsiness
    • Valoid (cyclizine – over the counter) x 10: Vomiting, nausea, and motion sickness
    • Maxalon (Metoclopramide – over the counter) x 20: Vomiting and nausea
    • Motilium (Domperidone – over the counter) x 10: Also for nausea, vomiting or bloating
  45. Sterile gauze: for dressing wounds
  46. Elastoplast
  47. Compression dressing (self-adherent): for strapping sprained joints and sore muscles, stopping bleeding, and securing bandages
  48. Corenza Para C (I’m allergic to aspirin remember): For colds and flu
  49. Space blanket: For hypothermia and shock
  50. Sanitary pads: highly absorbent wound dressing for bleeding wounds
  51. Movicol (Macrogol – over the counter): Because constipation is arguably worse than diarrhoea
  52. Dettol wet wipes: For general hygiene and cleaning your dirty paws
  53. Another crepe bandage (75mm)

Not included in the picture (but also important):

  1. Antihistamine ointment
  2. Citrus soda sachets (for urinary tract infections or heartburn)
  3. Flammazine ointment (for continued treatment of burns ie. from 24 hours and after burnshield has been used in the immediate treatment)

Although the above seems like a lot, its really really important, and only packs up to:

medical, first aid, kit, medicine, dressings, motorcycle, adventure, small, lightweight

So it all packs up pretty small

 

Once again: let us know in the comments if you have any questions, recommendations or advice

~Matthew

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