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!)
Er? Who stole the weekend?
Monday, 16 January 2006
Not only has Mx stumbled across my PhD (did you stub your mouse?) while searching for my blog but a) she managed to find the blog and b) she read the acknowledgements of the PhD (which is all anyone who isn’t in the field ever does anyway…). Of COURSE the altos are there, my dear! You and the others were pillars of salt for me during the Sorcerer and more especially when my life felt as though it was falling down around my ears in Les Miserables. If I look long and hard at what happened last year, I know I wouldn’t have been able to remain quite as amused by it all had it not been for all the people involved (which, surprisingly, includes David – whom I miss dearly). You guys, Lira and my parents ARE my family…so how could I publish something which took so much out of me without mentioning you. *hugs all round*

And Mum, that book is so correct. I'm already starting to worry about where I go to from's too amazing (in all of it's facets) to want to leave. I have the suspicion that nowhere else will measure up to this.

This weekend I bought a water filter kit, but naivety stopped me from checking all the bits were there. They weren’t. Namely, the filter bit. Consequently, I have an expensive jug with an electronic timing device in the lid. Lucky ol’ me.

Seems that I’m not the only one who finds the Czech dating scene a little, co znamena, flaky. I ended up on a ‘predate’ on Friday night. This is the name given when someone with whom you have already organised a Saturday afternoon coffee (that’s coffee coffee!) says, “I’m suddenly free tonight – do you fancy catching up for a drink anyway?” and you have no alternative arrangements made! Turns out though, that I wasn’t a back-up date (yes, I had to check) and that it was literally, a plan to play squash that didn’t turn out. Back-up date? Yes…people here apparently arrange to do things with four different people on the same night, then ditch three at the last moment. Leaving the ditched with an dropped stitch in their social fabric. Consequently, those accustomed to being ditched arrange backup date(s). This, as you can see, creates quite a cascade of sms’ at around about 9pm. It’s a wonder the networks don’t fail and buckle. I, on the other hand, have insufficient interested parties to arrange ‘backup’. Thankfully, I have a few novels…

Though 45 minute late, pushing the limit on the social bit of the phrase ‘socially late’, T (Canadian/Czech) and his mate F (Peruvian – yes, really!) were still there when I arrived. (Un)fortunately, T had remembered my drink, and so had a vodka, lime and soda waiting for me on the table. In the CR, they don’t really mix long drinks at the bar, consequently, I literally had: a small glass with ice in it, a tall glass with vodka in it, upon the rim of which was perched a wedge of lime and a bottle of Mattoni perliva (with bubbles). There was no pot-plant into which I could discretely chuck the vodka, so I’m afraid my cleansed liver was, once more, dirtied up a little bit. Still (I assured myself), it’s only the vodka that’s bad for me, right? The lime & soda are fine!

Most bars in the CR are underground. No, not the music nor the clientele. Literally, the bar. Lost cellphone reception as descended into another bar close to old town square. Bumped into Merv again (“the only Maori in Prague”) and a charming Sydneysider he was with (charming as he’d lived outside of Sydney for the last 6 years, therefore had lost the nasal whine from his accent and picked up some manners along the way!), and chatted (probably slurred, but I thought I was sparkling) until 6am.



I’m not sure why, but I seem to have RIDICULOUSLY late nights here on the weekend. It’s not like I’m even DOING anything, as at some point, I’d switched to the very ‘hard’ straight Mattoni. So I wasn’t dancing, wasn’t on drugs, wasn’t singing, wasn’t flirting (any more than I’m always accused of) so why!? Why 6am! Since we were closer to T’s we finished the morning there (dirty minds out of gutters please – I’m practically nun-like). He lives in a small (1 bedroom) apartment in a residential part of town. I’m insanely jealous – as the flat comes with a television AND a separate kitchen which has benches. Which is why I was able to persuade him and F to make French toast with bacon, bananas and maple syrup in the morning/afternoon for breakfast/lunch. They’d never heard of the combination – but were susceptible - and being the kitchen of a Canadian; I was treated with real maple syrup (from the can!)

While the boys went and played squash (what IS it with that game?) I headed home and to the gym. Did the whole ‘rocky’ thing on the way home (running, wearing a hoodie, up a few steps) since I planned to shower at home. Word to the wise: DO NOT RUN WHILE IT’S SNOWING!!!!!!!!!!!! Not because it’s slippery. Not even because it’s cold. But because you choke when you inhale frozen water…and THEN…the shock of the cold air in your lungs makes your body ache from the inside out. Got home, had a 30min conversation with Umit (with my back against the heater to thaw out my lungs), showered, and made it to dinner…this time…only 1.5hours later!

I know…I know! Appalling. Dinner with T (this was the ‘proper’ date) and his mate R (German) then off to The Bombay for a few more drinks.

See, the BEST thing about these ‘dates’ or ‘pre-dates’ or even ‘nights out with mate-dates’ is that I’m learning all of the best places to go. Kočka Kocour, for instance (which translates to Kitten Cat because I’ve abbreviated it’s name to the street ‘name’ – now that I’m so ‘in’), has a waitress who, not only serves you what you want without slamming it down on your place, but she also *gasp* shows her teeth. In a smile – not a grimace or snarl! This, my dears, is phenomenal, which is why I’m literally writing home about it.

The CR is somewhat famous for it’s appalling service. Take, for example, our little group a few hours later, at The Bombay. This gin joint has waitresses that come to the table, ask you what you want to drink then they go get it made up. You pay them upon receipt of your drinks. Anyway, R got wine with cork in his glass. He asked for another. She sighed, and flounced off. The wine that returned STILL had cork floating in it (T warned him that she would have just picked out the cork with her fingers…). So he asked again for a clean glass, with new wine, that didn’t have ANYthing floating in it. Reasonable request you might think. This chick had a small (and mostly self-contained) fit, rolled her eyes (a lot), stood on one hip with a very Nomes-as-a-teenager insolent expression, and therefore: received absolutely NO tip from any of us. But that’s a more normal example of service here.

Not long after, I had my first Becherovka. This is famous for curing ‘what ails ya’. The reason I had it was because I mistakenly said ‘hello’ with a ‘very English accent’ to an Englishman at the bar as I walked past, and he insisted that I have a shot with him. My rules are that anyone staying here a short while, must drink horrible things that are on offer. So: Slivovice, Becherovka or Absinthe. Now, according to the website this used to be imbibed via ‘stomach drops’…a small or very diluted amount was to be consumed. Far less than the 75ml shot that I faced. Still…I didn’t have that knowledge at the time…so down it went. BLARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The stuff ‘cures’ you by reminding you how fine you are and how unnecessary it is to pour it past your tastebuds. Ick ick ick ick. It’s not even the concentration of alcohol that’s an issue (Slivovice has more and tastes far nicer) it’s the ‘medicinal’ taste of it that’s hideous. Apparently, dried flowers, leaves, bark and ground root are part of the recipe. And yes, it tastes like they are too. Leave me with my potato mash thanks…*rapidly becoming a vodka-only girl*

So yeah. Late night there too…after meeting a 51 year old pilot who used to be a drug smuggler operating around Hawaii and his 19 year old San Franciscan girlfriend. All very ‘Blow’ (not sure they understood why I was sniggering throughout – fobbed them off with my tale of Becherovka), especially as she could remember his daughters names, but he couldn’t!

Summary: Liver: 0, Vodka distilleries: at least 6. Learnt: Becherovka is awful. Almost died once (running in snow). Visited Jim. Had a ‘kiwi’ brunch (cooked by a Canuk/Czech and a Peruvian…!). Met one drug smuggler. All in all…typical weekend in Prague!
posted by Nomes @ Monday, January 16, 2006  
  • At 6:20 pm, January 16, 2006, Anonymous Mark said…

    I found that massive lateness thing happening in Wellington while I was back. 5:30am on a Thursday! (And we only stopped because everything including Santa Fe was shut ... yep, a bit out of hand)

    Maybe it's when we know we've got to make the most of somewhere? Or when the bars are more conducive to "mad" drinking: Praha in general, Wgtn compared to 11pm-closing UK pubs.

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