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!)
I just saw the most amazing thing...
Wednesday, 1 March 2006
So, pet shops here are pretty diverse in their stock. Iguanas, monkeys, parrots of all sorts of descriptions. I'm just not sure where everyone gets their dogs from (must be breeders directly) because there are never any puppies in the shops. I would be less than impressed with the selling of such a wide range of animals were it not for the exemplary care shown them by the shop employees. They obviously care aobut the animals and their environments, without allowing themselves to become too attached. And from what I've seen, the Czechs' ALSO take very good care of their animals (on the whole, obviously). I've not yet heard of immolated kittens (which can ONLY be a good thing) here.

Anyway, as a result of all this animal diversity, whenever I'm in a shopping mall, I'll take a quick gander at the tanks/aquaria/vivaria at the back of the shop. I popped down to Eden (pronounced: ed-en, not eedin) at lunchtime and had a quick nosy.

Colourful fish: check.
Cute little terrapins flapping their fins/flippers underwater: check.
Turtles swimming with bubbles of air in their noses: check.
Squawking upside down green parrot: check.
Intelligent looking, head tilting competition entering (with me, natch) grey parrot: check.
Alarmingly eyed (they're so weird!) different coloured chameleons: check.
Cute gecko (about 10 times the size of any seen in Qatar) complete with front leg in the air "you can't see me if i'm really still" expression: check.
Coral snake making very groovy geometric patterns with it's body: check.
Boa constrictor wrapped round a stick: check
Python poised: check.

Why was the python poised? Well, in the cage below his tank (no idea on gender, had a male face!!) were snowy white bundles of wheelspinning energy. Mice. Dinner (to a python at least). And there was a worker hovering nearby.

So...I managed to witness, up close (my nose was fairly pressed against the glass), the addition of one snowy white squeaky bundle to the pythons vivarium. I imagine the thoughts went along the lines of:

Python: comessssss my dinner now...look into my eyessssss worker...get me a mousssssse...a mousssssse...
Mouse: hello pretty lady. You dont' have to hold me up by the tail you know...I have legs.
Python: that'ssssss right...closssser....
Mouse: really? a new cage? with glass this time? how cool. But what's this floor stuff? dirt? I liked my old straw...eek!
Python: oooh....there you are....GULP!

Yep. Within milliseconds, the python struck the mouse, stretching his jaws wide enough to take the mouse around the shoulders/chest area. He threw a coil (which previously had been his 'neck') around the mouse and held it steady. The mouse's tail twitched a while, and then fell still and droopy. After another 30s or so, Mr P unlooped the neck coil, and wiggled the mouse around a little - just with his mouth.


The grande finale.

Mr P, by now, had the mouse held over the face (if you'll imagine: from left to right, looking at the scene from head on, it was mouse ear: snake snout: mouse ear). The mouse's tail was dragging on the ground, but other than that, Mr P had it lifted into the air (with just his MOUTH!!). Then he started the laborious process of inching his mouth over the mouse.

You know how a person performs (or gets tangled up while performing) a leopard crawl? That's the one on your belly under a camoflaged net (for those of you who haven't 'benefitted' from a partner in the Army). You move one elbow forward with the opposite knee, then the other - and so on.

Well, the snakes mouth movement reminded me of this. I wondered whether he had little teeth on the underside of his upper palate because he held the mouse mostly in place, then the left side of his lip kind of extended and wriggled over the mouse a bit, pause, then the right.

I'm sure most of you have seen this on telly, but let me tell you, it's completely different seeing it close up. Amusingly (for me, less so for the mouse, I presume), Mr P couldn't do all of this facing down...and in the end, had to tilt his (now large) neck upwards to get the last millimetre of tail in. And the bit of his body that had the mouse stuck in it wasn't NEARLY as flexible as the rest.

And then it just looked like the rest of his body was 'catching up', the scales would ripple towards the head, then the head would extend further. Eventually, about three peristaltic movements after the tail had disappeared, Mr P opened his mouth wide (burping? yawning?) and then went back to posing.

I love snakes.
posted by Nomes @ Wednesday, March 01, 2006  
  • At 2:22 am, March 02, 2006, Blogger Mums said…

    Hi Gnomes,
    After silence a flurry of blogs and no I'm not complaining.
    Snakes are cool. So are frogs - and we get heaps of them here. Even the cane toads, which are a menace, but they were brought in to control some other menace, and as usual no one thought the whole things through. So they in turn have become a pest, and the only way to get rid of them is to hit them with a golf club. Personally they don't bother me - and the chances of me hitting them being remote - I just leave them to their own devices. Apparently the "humane" way is to freeze them. Some humanity??
    But I'm enjoying the croaking, though it's not the dawn chorus. We have rain - which is what brings out the warbler in the toads. And we've needed rain as it's been very hot, the hottest summer since records began - as usual. But now the temp is down to a balmy 27C, which would be lovely if we were ducks.
    We get large lizards here, though I have yet to see one - they move very fast, which is possibly a reflex to stop them being eaten by kangaroos, who probably only eat grass hence their dwindling numbers, but no one has told the lizards.
    Mmm, definitely a convoluted sentence day - having talked to Mother for two hours this morning. She btw is well, and has just about recovered from her trip to Goa. Two things came out of that. She is now NOT having her 80th birthday in Goa, but in Mumbai instead, well actually Bandra, and she's not having it in Jan 2007, but in October 2006, on her actual birthday. That way she'll be in India for Bonfils 60th which is on 19th November. So your Pa and I will be there too, so we shall not be able to contact Rowls on his 25th very easily. I'm assuming though that there will be emails etc, and we'll have our mobs (how does one survive without these "necessary" tools for communication?).
    Going back to Mr P, I'm sure I've seen people do the whole shrug thing, and it certainly is fascinating. I too love snakes, else why would I have a snakeskin writing case which I've carried around the world with me. I also have a small snakeskin handbag, but I far prefer to see the skins kept on the snakes, though to be fair these had been shrugged off. Give a whole new meaning to shrugging off this mortal coil.
    Enough gibberish from me. Did you know that the Biophere somewhere in Devon, UK, is called Eden? Welcome to my world of useless information with strange pathways for accessing same.
    Love to you, Mums

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