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!)
Banks, Trams, and Elevators.
Friday, 11 November 2005
So it’s been a while since I’ve written - I apologise. Half of you have probably already given up now (hi to the three remaining willing victims – Hi Mum, Rowland and Chris). I simply haven’t been doing anything worthy of mention. And while I don’t want this mundanity to affect whether you suddenly realise your hair needs washing (no, it doesn’t, the wet/greasy look is in right now!) or that your goldfish tank needs cleaning (you don't HAVE goldfish!), I do feel slightly ashamed for continually badgering you to read it and then having a far more boring existence than you can imagine.

Seriously – this weekend I did my washing (highlight) and went to a party (mediocrelight) and then slept in (highlight) before realising it was only 9am and I couldn’t sleep any more (low, very low light) and going for a walk to the metro station instead of taking the tram as I normally do (filtered light) and wandering around a huge shopping mall (high and lowlight: still unpaid!) and then coming home for a microwave meal (where’s the lightswitch?). Hardly the stuff novels are written about. At least not the ones I read. Actually, now that I think about it…

Still, this doesn’t mean I’ve been wandering around with my eyes closed (indeed, how could I have identified the Czech equivalent to Glassons and Pagani with my eyes closed?) despite what my dear father may believe. In fact, I’ve taken to checking BBC news prior to my e-mail. Of course, it’s the entertainment news…I need to know what’s new for winter boots…(don’t wanna disappoint you, Papa!) so there are still musings to be conveyed.

There are a few types of trams v Praze (v'praaz = in Prague). There are the ones made of materials that can withstand being sluiced down each evening. Obviously, other people agree with this interpretation, as these are the trams that smell of stale human urine. I’ve seriously considered getting off and waiting for the next one, but I was too engrossed in Tetris, so I just flared my nostrils a bit, and breathed through my scarf. I’m so tough.

Then there are the ones where the drivers have heavy hands. They beep at you like you’ve never seen a tram move away from a stop. Or approach it. Or close the doors. Or open the doors. These trams are very easy to find, just wait until this song’s over, and you’ll hear the loud beep in the moments before the next one starts.

Some drivers are frustrated racing (tram?) drivers. Either that or they hate senior citizens – who are stalwarts of public transport. At least, that’s the impression they give as they hurl their vehicles around sharp corners in an attempt to dislodge either someone else’s record or grandmother from the seat down the back.

On the other hand, people are so polite here (if grim looking), that it’s not entirely unheard of (or unseen) to jump onto a full-to-bursting tram, only to find half the seats are empty. Those who are under the age of 30, unencumbered by shopping bags/dogs/children (in order of cumbersomeness – cumbersomosity? The cumber index? Qcumber?) remain standing to give those older a place to sit. Those older (often hampered by shopping trolley’s, crutches, zimmerframes, mother-in-laws and the likes) refuse to acknowledge that they’re incapable of withstanding 4G’s as Prague becomes the Indie 1900 (well…what do YOU think a tram race would be??) so they too remain standing. So all the seats are empty for the tourists, who don’t get ON the tram in case it smells of pee or because it looks too full (all of a sudden, I see the method to the madness), or the dogs and children to clamber over the seats.

I usually get on, and shake my head as I take myself a seat (no, I haven’t changed in 8 weeks), especially if I have my two work bags with me. But yesterday, even though I was in the middle of a very engrossing game of Tetris, and listening to the Dawn & Drew show, I relinquished my seat to a woman with twins that appeared to be under the age of 3 foot. Thinking of myself as one step from beatification (i.e. still breathing - albeit through my scarf!), I continued with my game. Only to be distracted by the two shorties. Who insisted upon getting their mother’s attention at every possible instant. Both of them. Simultaneously. So my tetrines (did you know that’s what they’re called?) started going all over the place as my play was interrupted with piercing and poorly articulated, unmusical cries of “mama” and occasionally “maminka”. Maminka herself was doing very well, describing what it was at which the midgets were gesticulating (to call it pointing would be to employ so much artistic licence it would run straight into the realms of ‘lying’!). So, I learnt some more vocabulary. Ulice (ooh-lits-er = street), okno (ock-no = window) etc. It was with commendable restraint I didn’t learn the vocabulary for ‘crazy woman with homicidal gleam in her eye holding prematurely terminated game of tetris…”.

I went into a bank the other day, and the security guard gave me a very peculiar look. In fact, had I not noticed his general snarl of disapproval, I may well have been forcibly removed – I was too close to hysterics for the bank’s marble vaulted interior. Why? Well, the sign on the door of course. I wish I’d taken a photo (but I thought I was taking sufficient chances displaying mirth, imagine what could have happened had I displayed a lens?) but suffice it to say it was one of those ‘please do not…’ signs. The following items were crossed out: a cigarette complete with a long bit of ash held beneath the river Vlatva, a dog of unidentifiable genetic heritage, an empty helmet, and a handgun.

Yep…please don’t bring your personal munitions into our bank. “Rover, put down that cigarette – you look pathetic trying to smoke it through that visor anyway – and hold onto my Desert Eagle would you? There’s a good boy.”

The list of things I’m worried about while here is ever increasing. It used to be just getting my haircut. Now you can add taking anything into the drycleaners to that list. Because it would seem they haven’t got the hang of dry cleaning sleeping bags and are mysteriously shrinking them instead. That’s the only explanation I could arrive at when I witnessed the spectacular new turn of the average Prazdian’s wardrobe. Not only do they all seem to have jeans they can tuck into boots (and the corresponding vice versa) but they all have ‘person bags’ – some of which are decorated with fur etc around the hood. Oh…and for your reference: you do NOT all of a sudden look chic, warm and Russian Princesslike when wearing one – you just look like someone too lazy to make an effort who’s opened the bottom of your little brother’s sleeping bag in order to get a cup of coffee)

Oh, and I can answer a question from ‘the book of questions’ more honestly now than ever before. No, my father and my best friend have NOT both fallen into a pit of deadly vipers, both been bitten and left me on the edge of the pit with one dose of the antidote. Not as far as I’m aware anyway (please write to assure me that this hasn’t happened). No: I was trapped in an elevator. And I now know exactly what goes through my mind under the circumstances, a) I wish I wasn’t wearing so many clothes, b) I wish I’d been for a pee more recently, c) I wish there weren’t so many people in the lift, d) I wish I hadn’t been the last one in and e) how long will it take before the oxygen runs out or I die by exsanguination? (latter due to having period I presume!)

Thankfully the engineers arrived before we expired (by exsanguination or otherwise) or anyone wet themselves (as far as I knew!). And because they had to send our elevator (with us in it) to the very depths of the parking building beneath the shopping mall, we kinda had to ‘get straight back on the horse’. I mean, my newly discovered sense of claustrophobia was insufficiently developed to force me up 16 flights of stairs…whaddya take me for?
posted by Nomes @ Friday, November 11, 2005  
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