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
  44. Take a French/German/Dutch course and SPEAK THE DAMNED LANGUAGE WHEN I HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY EVEN THOUGH IT MAKES ME SOUND LIKE AN IDIOT!
  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!)
War on Tourism
Wednesday, 7 December 2005
If Bush can do it, I can too. I wonder where I find some navy seals. Tanned ones would do equally as well, I’m sure.

In the past few days having returned to Prague, I've run around like a flea in a fit attempting to get all my laundry washed (I finally succumbed to the lure of the “total service” and am now apprehensive as to the size and state of the clothes I’ll collect at lunchtime today…will they have melted? Will my hems be around my armpits? Will I create a new fashion label as a result of the bizarre clothes I have left? It’s sometimes very exciting being me!!), my house is nearly clean, I've passed on postcards from a cohort colleague to her old school friend in Prague (and had 3hr coffee), organised that photo tour from the airport, tried to translate ‘tax code’ into Czech so the EU can pay me and learnt the past tense (spala jsem špatné včera večer, tad‘jsem moc unavena – I slept badly last night, now I am tired) I’ve also managed to visit the Vanoce trch (Van-ot-seh trrr-ch = Christmas Market) in the old town square. I’ve had the ability to compare it back to Budapest.

Mikuláš, Anděl a Čert are scary! On the evening of 5 December I went down to the Old Town Square (VERY ‘If you go into the woods today…’) and there were dozens of teenagers dressed up as St Nicholas (a bishop), an angel (white with wings etc) and a devil (looking like a black cat more than a sunburnt inhabitant of hell). They roam the streets, accosting small children, quizzing them about whether they’ve behaved themselves over the last twelve months, conferring with the parents of the terrified youngsters, then rewarding (angels bestow chocolate) or punishing (tying them up in the devil’s sack – seriously, I saw children REALLY crying their little eyes out) them for good or bad behaviour respectively.

Now, apparently, many people perceive St Nick as a ‘goodie’ in this pantomime, but that upset my understanding of Newton’s laws, entropy and the likes (never particularly solid at the best of times, it doesn’t take much to topple my comprehension of physics – despite my wide personal wheelbase!). Surely, SURELY, St Nick must be the impartial bystander in this charade, the ‘person pulled from the audience’ so to speak? Else how will Newton’s IIId law stand ('for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction'). Turns out MY interpretation was more correct than some of the other expatriates: and thus was born the first Czech Traditional ‘Mediator’. A far cry from the jolly fellow you worry is a paedophile in a red and white disguise, gurning merry “Ho Ho Ho’s” from a department store grotto!

While wandering the ‘jam-packed-to-a-standstill’ square, sipping my Svařák (svar-jjrr-aaack = mulled wine / Glühwein) and noting (with considerable disappointment) that the Budapest version was nicer, it dawned upon me that perhaps I don’t really hate tourists. Nope, it’s more likely that I’m lonely as a single tourist. For instance, when we were wandering around Budapest in a group of 6, sometimes, embarrassingly, taking the same photo of the same thing, I didn’t once spare a thought as to how annoying we must be to the locals or expats. Perhaps we weren't so annoying, as we were not a large (~30-strong) group, led about by a tour rep with a ‘sign’ (often a brightly couloured, furled but extended umbrella held above head…occasionally a wooden flower of some description) stopping every now and then to collect the stragglers, listen to a tired spiel and generally block the path of those trying to get from A to B.

So what is it about this whole tourism thing that has me so riled up? Is it that Prague appears to have ‘sold out’ to the American market? There are so many tours of the old town area all going on at the same time, following one another around the same boring route, it’s a tragedy: slaughterhouse style. Is it that I despise the crowds? The crowds were so dense on Monday night, I wondered whether a ‘cave creek’ would occur with the viewing platform constructed in the middle of the square. I was equally concerned as to whether my svařák would be splattered all over me. Is it that it’s taken me this long to find somewhere close to Old Town Square in which I can get a decent cup of coffee without being fleeced? (I still haven’t, by the way Nis, but I’ve heard the rumours from a reputable source!) I KNOW that tourism assists the economy here, I just wish they wouldn’t get in my bloody way!!!

Just want to make a quick shout-out to Nis. Without you, my dear, I would have a very standard template for this here blog. So thanks for figuring out Flickr, and moblogging and RSS template design before me…I walk in your shadow. However, when you get bird flu, I’ll be at your door with my clipboard shouting ‘throw out your flu-ridden’! It's all give-and-take in my world! :)

Anyway, it's thanks to Nis that photos are now along the side of the blog once more. If you click on one of the photos, it'll take you to a photo album thingy on a new site. Then, over on the right hand side, is a small foldery thing that says 'previous' and 'next'. I'd advise scrolling through these to read my pearls of wisdom at the bottom of each photo, or if you're already fed up with my voice, then view as a slideshow. This week, pictures of Budapest.
posted by Nomes @ Wednesday, December 07, 2005  
3 Comments:
  • At 12:23 am, December 08, 2005, Blogger Mums said…

    Hi GNomes,
    Sounds like you're turning into your Father with all this "Tourists are a bane" stuff. Unfortunately, we both have to agree, though they can produce hilarity, as in tuatara seeing, or not when we were in Auckland in the year dot.
    But it is lovely to see that you are acclimatising to Prague. I'm sure the language lessons are helping in that regard. Your Czech seems to be progressing, though at firt it is only in arithmetic progression, but it will turn to geometric - such are the vagaries of learning a new language.
    I'm not at all surprised about your love "affaire" with Africa. I have no doubt you remember some of my stories of Cameroons, especially the elephant swimming in the sea - hence my collection of 400 elephants, which are too many to display in a house we're not going to inhabit for much more than a year.
    Liked the pics btw. You look all grown up, which seems odd to me, as I'm sure you've felt relatively grown up for years. Travelling on your own does something for a person, though we won't go into details as to what.... Glad the lips have been sorted, now if you could just find something for me to apply to stop the bugs here devouring me.... I wear insect repellant daily, even stopping to reapply after swimming, but they still love me. I wish there were more people around with AB blood - I didn't suffer anywhere near as much in Qatar.
    Must love and leave you. There is a package wingin its way to you, but whether you receive it before Christmas is in the lap of the Gods, or more prosaically the Australia and Czech postal systems. Let me know if you haven't received it by March 2006!
    Love, Mums

     
  • At 12:23 am, December 08, 2005, Blogger Mums said…

    Hi GNomes,
    Sounds like you're turning into your Father with all this "Tourists are a bane" stuff. Unfortunately, we both have to agree, though they can produce hilarity, as in tuatara seeing, or not when we were in Auckland in the year dot.
    But it is lovely to see that you are acclimatising to Prague. I'm sure the language lessons are helping in that regard. Your Czech seems to be progressing, though at firt it is only in arithmetic progression, but it will turn to geometric - such are the vagaries of learning a new language.
    I'm not at all surprised about your love "affaire" with Africa. I have no doubt you remember some of my stories of Cameroons, especially the elephant swimming in the sea - hence my collection of 400 elephants, which are too many to display in a house we're not going to inhabit for much more than a year.
    Liked the pics btw. You look all grown up, which seems odd to me, as I'm sure you've felt relatively grown up for years. Travelling on your own does something for a person, though we won't go into details as to what.... Glad the lips have been sorted, now if you could just find something for me to apply to stop the bugs here devouring me.... I wear insect repellant daily, even stopping to reapply after swimming, but they still love me. I wish there were more people around with AB blood - I didn't suffer anywhere near as much in Qatar.
    Must love and leave you. There is a package wingin its way to you, but whether you receive it before Christmas is in the lap of the Gods, or more prosaically the Australia and Czech postal systems. Let me know if you haven't received it by March 2006!
    Love, Mums

     
  • At 3:17 pm, December 09, 2005, Blogger Nomes said…

    Oooooh....gooodies!!

    As for looking all grown up, thanks a bunch for reminding me of my nose wrinkles. Pah! :)

    Nomes

     
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