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!)
Fortified axles, new bearings and off-road rims…suitcase mods.
Wednesday, 7 December 2005
Fortified axles, new bearings and off-road rims…suitcase mods.

So, I’m back a few days and some are clamouring for an update already. Give a girl a chance to LIVE the experiences she writes about would you?!

To be entirely honest, the reason it’s taken me so long to update the blog, is that I’ve been reading Long Way Round by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman; essentially a diary of their three month trip from London to London – travelling eastwards on two motorbikes. Though the writing was pants (a diary written by two males…what was I expecting?) the story was brilliant. I’m sure my 6th form-Biology-teacher-for-a-term has no idea what I meant by “thanks for the inspiration” in her leaving card – but when she told me that she’d just returned from a year long honeymoon on two bikes from Egypt to Capetown, a little part of me went “oooh…that sounds like fun.” Those of you who know me well, know that Africa has always been my, er, dream. Though that sounds really corny, the scenery has honestly made me cry with homesickness (I was a bison in a previous life). So yes…a small part of me now is wondering whether to get a ‘trial’ bike and get out into the dirt/mud/snow etc to practise my control. However…

…I haven’t been paid my meagre salary yet – so I’ll content myself by drooling over webpages at present.

How do you change the tyres on a suitcase? My primary coloured suitcase has travelled brilliantlz, however, it now has to contend with cobblestones, snow, wet leaves, being bumped (instead of carried) down flights of stairs and generally being thrown around on a three-six weekly basis, and I’m concerned for it’s wellbeing! I watched how the baggage (mis)handlers treated it from my prop-plane window: first, they point and laugh (‘I thought you said this flight didn’t have any unaccompanied minors, Stevo!”). Then, they throw it onto the plane like you or I throw caution to the wind. Consequently, I’m wondering whether it’s possible to change the wheels and fortify the axle. I’m considering those off-road wheels you get for inline-skates…?

My return to Prague was interesting. Previously (“on ER”), I mentioned that I’d felt patriotic. Seems it’s gotten to the point where I’ll gladly inform my neighbouring American travel rep that the worst thing about Prague was the tourists (destroying potential further discussion )! And despite the fact I was wondering whether the rubber band for the propeller nearest me would last the flight, my heart skipped a little (medical term) when the vast snowy tundra (©Sir D. Attenborough) of the Czech Republic came into view. When we landed, and my window was splattered with droplets of water – snow that had melted on the engine and been blown back – I was in love. Madness. Even the brown crusty slush on the walkway to the “plane-to-terminal” bus didn’t alter my state of mind.

And the best parts of the trip home? Two things: hearing Czech again (I’d missed it!?!) and the fact that all the Czechs (plus me) waited until the ‘tourists’ had quickly run off the plane (as if that’s going to speed up the next bit of the process) before standing in the aisle to don multiple layers, head down the stairs, be the last onto the bus-to-terminal, first through customs (love the EU passport waving thing) and amazingly first to get our bags too! J

There are a few clear indications that you’re in Europe. If a New Zealander steps in dog poo on the sidewalk/pavement/footpath (I can never choose which I prefer) then the world has come to an abysmal end; complete with lightning and gnashing of teeth (or maybe David had an extreme reaction…) However, if a European accidentally treads on excrement of chien, they merely shrug their shoulders and run through a series of options based on the apparent consistency of the faeces. Options include: stamping ones foot to dislodge the offending material, pumping ones foot up and down in a puddle to wash it out of the tread of your, finding a patch of grass and smearing it out with that, locating a perfectly shaped stick…etc. What I want to know is: does anyone ever get TOLD the algorithm? Or is it learnt by watching the behaviour of others? True anthropology…

Another sign revolves around chocolate (hooray). Antipodeans will often head straight for the rack of Toblerone, the soft-palette-destroying Mars bar of Swiss Chocolate. Whereas if you linger by the chocolate stand in a European airport (and yes, this is a confession!) you’ll note that the Italian-heeled (and Italian-toted most often as well) preferentially choose Lindt. Those wearing shoes from Bata pick Milka. And those wearing sports shoes of any description go for Cadbury’s or M’n’M’s. I wonder if I could do a second PhD on this…the field research sounds a lot better than ‘poking swabs up chickens bums’.

A distinguishing quality of EASTERN Europe is that canapés are a meal. Truly; you can nibble on a few pieces of bread topped with cheese slices, salami, a gherkin, a slice of egg, half an olive and a sprig of something green. It’s fantastic! All of a sudden, I realise the peculiar meals I’ve been eating all these years (“something that hasn’t quite gone off, with something else that needs to be eaten – on toast”) have just been preparation. Lira; it’s our culinary home (if you forget about the roasted duck, pork with everything and carp for Christmas…)!

En route home, I thought it wise to take photos for those visiting me in the future. The entire photo tour can be found on another blog ( or I can send you the word document. It means that getting to town from the airport on public transport needn’t be the terrifyingly disorientating experience that it’s meant to be, and you don’t need to be able to decipher public service announcements along the way. This meant that I was taking photos IN the airport (albeit, facing outwards) and IN the bus, and IN the metro station. I tell you, I’ve never felt more suspicious in my life (even when smuggling bacon through the border in Qatar…truly dangerous stuff). But I hope it’s worth it. Nis and Umit will have to let me know…

PS. For those of you playing ‘Nomes Trivia™’, I am now walking ‘across then down’ from my metro stop to maximise my chances of bumping into ‘tram guy’ again. And Elizabeth Arden’s 8 hour cream has fixed my lips. Hooray for Liorah’s Nanna. Am off to purchase Vaseline as per Marisa’s advice…so ta for all the ideas people.
posted by Nomes @ Wednesday, December 07, 2005  
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