Optimism vs Malaria

My conscious effort to be more optimistic has run into its first significant test. Two Thai towns on the Myanmar (Burma) border beckon, Mae Sot and Mae Sai. All credible medical sources state both are in areas where one should take malaria precautions.

The defensive measures are easy: Long sleeves and pants, liberal application of DEET on all exposed surfaces, be indoors during peak mosquito activity and of course take an anti-malaria drug. The drug side effects for some people can be substantial, but it sure beats malaria. The odds of infection are low, so it seems like optimism should win*.

Except for me. I’m a mosquito magnet. A strong magnet. How strong? Imagine how much attention one would attract if you walked into a police station carrying an assault rifle while smoking a joint and yelling “SOOIE! pigpigpigpig SOOIE!“. That’s the sort of attention I get from skeeters.

The optimist says either of these two towns would be a look at a different culture, as would crossing into Myanmar and the odds are low for either side effects or infection. The pessimist says why risk the possibility of weeks of side effects or a hospital stay for a few days of what may be a ho-hum travel experience?

* unless the pre-trip drug side effects cause one to stop the meds and cancel the trip


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