The Adventure Continues...

Rants, raves and random observations from an itinerant epidemiologist.

100 in 1000
  1. Spend a week up a mountain learning to ski
  2. Visit Karoline's place in Moravia
  3. Hold a conversation in Czech (only)
  4. Drink 500ml of each of the following beers:
    1. Pilsner
    2. Staroprammen
    3. Budvar
    4. Velke Popovice
    5. U Fleku
    6. Gambrinus
    7. Krusovice
  5. Respond to at least one GOARN request (WHO and MSF are also acceptable)
  6. Travel across the Atlantic
  7. Return to South America
  8. Read a book to, or with, an impressionably aged child
  9. Participate in one NanoWriMo Challenge and come within at least 10,000 words of the goal length
  10. Have my nose pierced
  11. Have my next tattoo drawn
  12. Purchase the perfect jeans (x 2 pairs)
  13. Attend a spin class 3 times a week for 8 consecutive weeks
  14. Bake Viv's cheesecake
  15. Make David's casserole
  16. Make David's Chicken Cashew-nut Stirfry
  17. Invite 4 people who don't know one another too well to dinner
  18. Ride from Vienna to Venice on a motorbike (pillion acceptable, those less desirable)
  19. Attend a book group for at least two books
  20. Go on a choir weekend (learn and perform difficult piece in two/three days)
  21. Visit Madame Tussaud's (in London)
  22. Take an architecture appreciation course
  23. Join an all-girl group and sing a solo
  24. Publish in a scientific journal (top two authors)
  25. Cook a duck or other 'waterfowl'.
  26. Locate the Al-Timimi's from Doha Veterinary Practise
  27. Have a pedicure
  28. Maintain a Brazilian (ouch) for three months.
  29. Find a trustworthy Czech hairdresser
  30. Treat my inner-6-year-old twice a week (at least)
  31. Do the liver-cleansing diet properly (12 weeks)
  32. Don't eat out for one month
  33. Find a flat and flatmate
  34. Purchase one Joseph sweater
  35. Purchase one of the following pairs of designer shoes (they MUST also be COMFORTABLE, and be able to be worn with 4 different outfits and 2 types of occasion): Jimmy Choos, Manolo Blahniks, Christian Louboutin (Ebay or 2nd hand are acceptable)
  36. Send 5 books to the booksphere and track them.
  37. Go hanggliding
  38. Read 10 'classic' books (from 1001 Books to Read before you Die)
    1. Moll Flanders
    2. Everything is illuminated
    3. Madam Bovary
    4. Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintainance
    5. Catch-22
    6. Odysseus
    7. On the Road
  1. Run (non-stop!) for 5kms outside (preferably in a street race thingy)
  2. Send Christmas Cards on time
  3. Make a collage/mural out of street lights on my wall
  4. Buy a bed, build it, and sleep soundly in it
  5. Go to Africa
  6. Host an 'event' (classified as and when)
  7. Organise a 30th Birthday Party
  8. Wear a costume
  9. Sing on stage
  10. Buy a painting that evokes memories of Prague (cannot involve queues!)
  11. Learn a god-damned card game that stays in my memory (other than fish/snap)
  12. See sunrise. Be sober. Have woken for it. Excludes months Nov-Mar
  13. Take a walk and flip coins at each intersection
  14. Win something
  15. Draft a will
  16. Take a roadtrip
  17. Go to Italy already
  18. Sea Kayak around Abel Tasman Park (NZ)
  19. Get plants
  20. Take a train to another Eastern European Destination (accession countries are acceptable) alone preferably.
  21. Get UK to give me a provisional motorcyclists license and simultaneously get a 'card' license.
  22. Go SCUBA diving again - at least two dives lasting 30mins each.
  23. Go to a dentist. *sigh*
  24. Do a Czech Wine Trail. And live to tell the tale
  25. Make an 'outbreak emergency kit'.
  26. Go to bed prior to 11pm every night (inc weekends) for four consecutive weeks.
  27. Marvel over lack of tiredness
  28. Dine at a Gordon Ramsey restaurant (or Nobu)- preferably for free.
  29. Bet on the nags
  30. Do something for charity (applying and getting a 'red card' will count)
  31. Walk along the Champs Elysee
  32. Do 100 sit ups in a row
  33. Do 50 pressups (arms in tight)
  34. Make branston pickle (or nearest substitute)
  35. Cook something 'new' and 'adventurous' at least once a month
  36. Find a mentor
  37. Be a mentor
  38. Learn what mentoring is all about
  39. Meet an online person in real life
  40. Resist the flirt. Once. Just one night. It's okay if people don't immediately succumb to my natural charm. Really it is.
  41. Spend time at a spa (spa towns in the CR don't count)
  42. Send a care package to someone
  43. Get a Tata Bojs CD
  45. Order new contact lenses.
  46. Make a list of things I take with me when I pack for different occasions
  47. Eat lobster. Prepared by someone else.
  48. Back up the blog
  49. Put everything onto an external hard drive
  50. Find a DDR mat and console and 'dance, I say dance!'�
  51. Go to the beach and lie on the warm sand. For an hour. (with sunscreen on, natch)
  52. Take and complete a course in either: Tango, Salsa or Flamenco
  53. Join the Municipal Library of Prague
  54. Move to another country
  55. Go to a live concert of a band I actually like
  56. Pay off debts (student loan excl.)
  57. Send thank you cards for every gift I receive (other than the gift of happiness, blah blah blah).
  58. Get an agent (literary or theatre)
  59. Go to a sports bar without cringing, by personal choice
  60. Ride a rollercoaster
  61. Hold a snake
  62. Spend a day wandering around a museum (not art gallery!)
Menorca Pt I
Tuesday, 27 September 2005
So here I am, surrounded by a few dozen other people who are all wanting to be field epidemiologists - called to problems in Africa/Asia/hell-anywhere at the drop of a hat.
I know that many of you think that we´re just having a laugh - that we´re spending three weeks on an island off the coast of Spain. Well...let me tell you the TRUTH.
The island is in the bay of Mahon, which is on the island of Menorca which ITSELF is an island off the coast of Spain. All sounds very good, but our island ´Lazarote´ (not to be confused with Lanzarote under ANY circumstances) was the quarantine island for Spain. We´re in a group of buildings that have DOUBLE walls around them - well over 15´ high - made of bricks. We´re not allowed to swim to the bay of Mahon, because it´s too busy a passageway (large liners, tankers, ferries and sharsk...nice!).
The buildings themselves woudl be stunning if they weren´t so run down. For instance, the one I´m ni currently (sitting at a bank of 6 comptuers for about 40 people - do not expect regular updates) has a many ´vaulted´ ceiling. I don´t know if tehy´re properly called vaults, but they´re two arches that bisect perpendicularly in teh middle. Very ornate, very good acoustics for singing - not so good for lectures.
My bedroom is in an apartmento. This means I´m actually one of the lucky ones with a suite of (empty) rooms at my disposal. I sleep in one of them, which has two single beds, and a bathroom. The water from teh taps is seawater. One shudders to think what teh coil in the bottom of hte hot water heater looks like by now.
So...I wake up at 7:00am. Then meet the girl in the apartmento underneath me (we´re the only two with so many rooms, and we´re not sure what we did to deserve tehm but are v. grateful anyway) and we go for either a walk around the island, or a quick dip. When I say dip, I mean a hasty swim till we worry about sharks. To get to the ´beach´to go swimming, we have to pass teh sewage outlet. We try not to think about this. Either that or we go walking for a ´bit´. Bit being about a 30mins. Then back to our rooms for showers and to change into ´summer office garb´. Then off to breakfast at 8:30am. By 9:00am we´re all in the lecture hall again, reviewing the days notes, checking the notice board to see what groups we´ve been placed in etc.
Then we all take our places. Our places have namecards in front of them (imagine the UN on telly - it´sjust like that only ours are made of plastic and paper - I´ve coloured mine in already! - and yes, it was pink but only because I had no glitter...) and we await our lecturers (called ´facilitators´ for some jargon reason). Our lecturer claps his or her hands at 9:30am (yes, very germanic) and begins. We have a variety of topics covered (today was operational logistics of outbreak investigation - SOO exciting as we foudn out what we should have in our óutbreak bag´ that we have with us all the time...ready to go at a moments notice) until morning tea at 10:30. Then after some really milky coffee (spanish coffee is awful), and about 10mins in teh sun, we´re back in our seats again until 1:30. By this time, everyone´s stomachs are rumbling - so we´re very glad to be served our three course lunches (today: risotto, meatballs, watermelon) and by the time this is over, it´s 2:30. We break into the aforementioned groups, and then work on various case studies until we´ve finished what we have to do. today, we finished at 7:00.
So...then, because it´s still light and we´re trying desperately to kid ourselves that we´re a) still in summer and b) on some jaunt, we go for a swim in the ocean again. It´s not that warm at this time of night. After that, we hang out our washing (that has been washed for us) and shower for dinner at 8:30 (tonight: melon and prosciutto, eggs and chips (I kid you not) and yoghurt). By 9:30 we must be otu of the ´salon´ so we head back to the outdoor seating area, grab a bottle of €7 red wine, about 4 - 5 glasses for whomsoever, polish that off, then bed by 10:30.
Which means, in other words my dear, that the taxes of those in the EU who are paying for this, are ACTUALLY being well used. I don´t think we´re being spoilt, we´re really working hard the whole time. It´s still an effort to be nice to EVERYONE and I find myself taking a lot of comfort in seeking out a few people´s company. Theyér starting to do the same, so I´m clearly not on the ´pariah list´ just yet. Our personal name badges are starting to come off (you mean I´m notorious already) but I´m definitely deleting the history on this computer...
...and for those of you who were as curious as I was: gay or JUST European?
The jury is STILL out. And there´s a whole load of other bits taht I had written, only I gave this blog address to one of the other fellows, and don´t think it at all appropriate. In fact, once I realised what I´d written, I ran BACK to the vaulted room in my pj´s to delete it. Sorry y´all. And a big warm welkom to the delightful Maarten! ;) (my pjs and I are now back off to bed)
Still, there are plenty of people to hang out with regardless. And Andreas (a german FETP) has assured me that the rumours Iév heard from expat women in Prague are incorrect - that men are well up for it over there. The fact that he´s also into lads shouldn´t worry me in the slightest should it?!!!?
Right my dears. This is a call for many e-mails reminding me what life is like in teh real world - wheré you´re not having to be nice to people you think are not worth your time beacuse they need their damned attitude adjusting (and having to hold your tongue from telling them this even though you´re supposed to be providing feedback constantly about your colleagues...). Damned Italians is all I can say at this point. All I WILL say rather.
And although I beg for e-mails, I can´t promise many in return (crap, and I do apologise, but surely the sheer length of my updates compensates somewhat?) due to inability to get onto a computer. So...if any of you have a spare laptop lying around seldom used...send it to Nomes, care of ¨quarantine island, spain.
posted by Nomes @ Tuesday, September 27, 2005  
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