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!)
Signs of Communist Era
Thursday, 27 October 2005
Communism apparently left the Czech Republic in 1989. However, there are manifestations of the 'grey' era that remain to this date. I shall list some below.
1) The propensity to store. Evidence: my office. We have five drawers (each approximately 15cm deep / 1m wide / 50cm deep) that contain stationary. Not the stuff to get excited about (unlike Dad's old company's stationary cupboard; prior to the advent of CAD, draftsmen got the coolest toys!) but literally, pieces of age-yellowed, brittle paper and their corresponding envelopes. All of which bear the now-defunct logo of the old institute. I've got nowhere to put my pens, but if we need to replicate a document from 1975 - the only hindrance would be finding the correct language to use - the typewriter's under my desk.
2) The shoes. Yesterday I saw someone with ONE platform shoe on. Sick joke, prominte (prom-in-teh = sorry). But yes, here you really do see people with bespoke platform shoes (created singularly) that permit the wearer to walk without a noticable limp. Sure...they develop bulging thigh muscles in one leg only, but hell...who's looking at that!?
3) Queues. I've already mentioned these. If you were to stand one behind the other, in the middle of the street, facing a wall, with a friend, for no apparent reason; you'd have a queue in no time at all. You'd also have tourists meandering around, and taking photos of the wall itself to show ‘folks back home’ in case there's some hidden artistic merit not mentioned in the lonely planet.
4) The buildings. Anything built between 1850 and 1989 is repulsive. We're not talking 'plain' facades here folks, it's like the architects actually went out of their way to make it dreary. "But boss, if we don't put a lintel on this window, it'll leak!", "Lintels are for pansies, boy. Don't you know that we who eat cabbage for breakfast each day and salute the red flag for 20mins before getting to work at 6am so we can give our 20 hours to the state don't have any need for such pretty things as lintels?!" (noto bene: I have no idea what a lintel is, but it was the only architectural term I could think of on the spur of the moment that MAY have a use and not just be a decoration. I'm fairly certain architraves have no real use!).
5) Staff canteens. Until yesterday, I'd been bringing sandwiches for lunch. Today I ALSO brought sandwiches. Because yesterday I (think I) consumed something that really oughtn't be spoken of. In fact: *hushed whisper* it wasn't even meat. Or potatoes. Or plum compote. Or leek soup. Or - okay, the square of chocolate WAS a great dessert, but the rest...oh my god. How to describe? The lump of grey MAY have been pork, but one didn't need a knife to cut it - the back of a spoon sufficed. The white stuff MAY have been potatoes but they'd been boiled to wallpaper paste. The brown liquid drowning both offerings may have been gravy, but identification was obscured by the oversized lenses of fat that formed on top. The red stuff MAY have been compote, but to me it looked like 3 prunes in syrup. (PRUNES? Do I look like I'm in hospital?) And the soup MAY have been leek, or it may have been the internal remnants of yesterday's hot water cylinder, beside which a leek once decomposed. It was, without a doubt, the most depressing 'food' I've ever encountered. Vlad claims he is not exigent, so this is lunch for him. I, however, am resolutely divaesque on the matter of what I put in my mouth (yes yes, despite evidence to the contrary, ha ha), and so shall shamelessly return to packed lunches.
6) The metro. It’s brilliant. It works, there’s a metro along every 3mins or so during the busy times, and it’s clean. Apparently, this has something to do with the budget received from the EU for the flood-clean-up in 2002, but the tunnels are crazy big (which is DEFINITELY due to the communist era) in case the American’s bomb us. Unfortunately, NOWHERE is safe from the American tourists. (apologies to any Americans with sufficient comprehension to read up to this point: your fellow countrymen in Prague do you no favours).

And that, ladies and gennelmen, is that for the week. Tune in again next week, where I shall have tales of the joys of packing my belongings into drohý (dear) Vlad's malý (little) auto (car), and storing them in his garage so I can spend 12 days in a temporary flat, before moving to another shoebox on the other side of town and then collect them. All before Budapest. I'm very lucky that Vlad and Marta seem to have taken me on as their 'slightly dimwitted' daughter. This is possibly a good thing (garage storage, borrowed cars, prescription drugs etc) but likely to be a mixed blessing (have already had one stultifying 'conversation' with his ex-wife). As the office is now empty (15:20 - it's a long weekend so there've been ponděli-esque (pond-yelly-esque = Friday-esque - I plan to butcher this language too!) greetings all over the place this afternoon) I'm going to follow suit and bugger off home také (tacky = also)!
posted by Nomes @ Thursday, October 27, 2005  
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