Thursday, 4 August 2011

Episode 3 (part 2): Rob gets an AIDS test (for his VISA...)

Anyone who has been to Torquay may have heard the often-mentioned fact that it is built on seven hills (Rome eat your heart out). While this is usually just the bane of dog walkers, the elderly
and mums with prams, this time it also proved to be the bane of dozy Rob Lees, driving their Mum's car, desperatelty seeking the GP's surgery five minutes before an important blood test...

Flash back three days and my fears were realised. To get the specific AIDS-test certificate needed for the VISA application I had to pay the surgery £98 and do it through my Doctor instead of the free, GUM clinic. Well I suppose the price of ink and paper has gone up a lot recently... So I booked an appointment to see the nurse and went about my usual business until the morning of my date with the syringe finally came round.

Torquay's harbour and "Mount" - my hilly home

Getting in the car that morning I was fairly confident in my ability to navigate the seven mountains of Torquay and find a place to park near the surgery. How wrong could I be! Soon I was hopelessly lost in an endless labyrinth of optimistically-named hotels, hammer-horror care-homes and towering apartments. I gripped the wheel frantically, pelting down the identical roads of Chelston and Cockington. They seemed to spiral in all directions. Everything looked the same. Round and round I drove, getting more and more flustered, like the victim of some Lovecraftian intrusion.

I gave in and phoned my parents at work for help. Every shred of my student independence crumbled away as I grovelled and complained to mummy and daddy for more accurate directions... (not an option when i'm in Russia)

Having found the surgery, my day was vastly improved as the nurse had been nice enough to wait for me. I didn't even mind being stabbed in the arm as we had a pleasant conversation about the unusual reasons for getting the test in the first place. With my blood safely on the way to the hospital labs I settled the bill with the receptionist and with lightned pockets I headed for home and the next stage of my year abroad planning...

see you next time!

PHOTO CREDITS: Torquay Mount photo taken under creative commons from Sovobongo1's photostream -

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