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!)
Sleep? Weekends? What are these strange words?
Saturday, 11 March 2006
So, it's quite exhausting this mission lark. It's (very) hard to believe that this time last week, I was out with a mate watching Pink Panther, it seriously feels as though it was a lifetime ago.

What's been happening?

Essentially, we've attended meetings. That's pretty much all it feels like we've done. Last mission, we were always in high-ranking meetings, where tea and sweets were served. This time, we're in operational type meetings, and we go for five hours without a break. Once again, my bladder sphincter (the one at the BASE for all those anatomists out there) is coming under pressure. However, I can pride myself on overworked pelvic floor muscles I guess...having to hold it in all the time.

I KNOW you're just delighted to have been shared that little tidbit of information, aren't you?

Life in Azerbaijan is relatively easy for expats though. There have obviously been sufficient oil-based plunderings that the local populace don't stare at /care about foreigners in their midsts. We can purchase all the things we need (some things that I can't even get in Prague for heaven's sake, though STILL no Starbucks...!) and people are FAR more friendly here than in Prague.

In Prague, when you go to a (local) restaurant, you have to attempt to make eye contact with someone to be seated. This is difficult when the waiting staff behave as though they're wearing Cannes-esque sunglasses (despite not doing so), avidly avoiding customers eyes/gestures. In Baku, if you stop at the door to tie your shoelace, they hoist you into the restaurant as though by a large shepherd's crook and plonk you immediately at a table. Quite a nifty trick.

There, when they bring food to your table, you're REALLY lucky if it's PLACED in front of you before the waiter continues on his trajectory to 'somewhere else'. Occasionally, if you're particularly unlucky or wearing white, the plate will slide across the table (as a result of too much kinetic energy - having been 'thrown' in the general direction of your place setting) and spill gravy down your top. Here, they visit your table so often to bring everything, that you're telling them about your ex-boyfriend before they can say "do you like?".

There, when you want to pay the bill, you have to mumble 'zaplatime' as someone (hopefully in charge of your area) stalks past you in a fug of Slavic snobbery. Here, if you want to pay, you have to convince the staff that, really, your meal was delightful but your eyes are too big for your belly, and no, thank you, dessert is unnecessary (here it helps to have large thighs to point at in horror) and yes, you really do have your own bed to stay in tonight, there's no need to join their family, and it's okay thanks, you don't really need to take anyone's first born home with you!

That's one advantage of Prague then. The OTHER advantage, is that as you stay there longer, you find yourself mimicking the 'don't care' nature of the staff. For instance, you can be gaily chatting away to a mate, almost doubled up in hysterics at something they say and someone walks by your table. Within split seconds, your face can melt into a would-be-slightly-dissatisfied-if-i-could-bring-myself-to-bother-having-an-opinion scowl so that you can mutter/bark/mumble something about getting another round in (complete with overanimated gestures still, if I'm doing it, which totally denounce my non-citizen status) and once they've flounced off, your face can remould (again, instantly) into it's previously jocular expression. It's crazy. You end up feeling vaguely schizophrenic.

Okay, not entirely true.

You end up with a GREAT outlet for your latent schizophrenia!!

If I keep writing along these lines, people are gonna think I hate Prague. Not so at all (I can't emphasize that enough). I love the place. When I was in the UK, I wanted to slap the staff for being so effusive, friendly and subservient. That's after wanting to hug them for speaking English (er, what was I saying about schizophrenia?).

If anything though, the experience in Prague has assisted greatly here. I may be overcome with a sudden attack of stage fright when partaking in a game of charades with close friends (I know!! What was all that about?) but I'm getting brilliant at acting out 'how to kill a chicken in a humane manner'.

It was a really bad C-grade movie from the 50's...
posted by Nomes @ Saturday, March 11, 2006  
  • At 1:51 am, March 12, 2006, Blogger mx said…

    Dear Nomes

    Azerbaijan sounds great! Its cool to hear so much about it, as I had a singing teacher who studied there, and I had no idea about the country (er, admittedly this was back when I thought Istanbul was part of India, sigh).

    By the way, Saturday's skating was reminiscent of the session you, I and co had with Russell (from Fergs) - the waterfront was cluttered with people (Dragon Boat festival), and one lived in fear of colliding with someone grumpy. I recounted your moment with small boy on trike, but also earned my own rather spectacular splat when I got so excited with my rolling turn that I immediately fell (heavily - is there any other way on concrete??) right onto my tush. Ow.

    By the way, the food over there sounds delicious! And I'm chuffed you've found some comfortable digs (chandeliers!?). But ick, 5 hour meetings without a break?? Given I tend to disengage after about 15 mins, that's tantamount to torture.

    I'm off now to check out you pix, as its been a while (for some reason they weren't coming up for me).

    Take care, thanks for your text, btw, and big hugs.

  • At 7:33 am, March 13, 2006, Blogger Mums said…

    Hi GNomes,
    You with stagefright strikes me as a misnoma, or at least almost impossible. Why else would I have painted a starfish for your birthday last year!!
    I'm getting together all the things for your Easter box, and lo and behold this weekend's newspaper ("The Australian", now the ONLY broadsheet one can purchase in QLD) had an article on Morocco, so I'm going to send that as well. Is there anything you need from here? Let me know soon as I have to send it by Friday if it's to reach you in time before you jet off on your hols.
    Your blog entry amused me, cos I've always been kinda schizoid - how else would I have been able to carry on three separate conversations around the dinner table with you, Rowls and Ron? It worked though, and in the most part I said the right thing to the right person. Goodness knows what it makes me, but I'm still able to disjoint my mind successfully - I know there are those who think it is permanent too, but we shan't give them space to write (tee hee).
    The shed base is almost complete - we still have about 10 pieces of decking to nail down to the joists. So glad your Pa wanted a nail gun for his birthday - we were able to put it to good use yesterday, using 200 nails in the process. If we'd had to hammer them in we would not have got so far, and would have been far sorer (I'm fairly certain that's not a word, but you know what I mean) today.
    Oh, we have a resident lizard. He's so cute, well at almost one foot long he's probably beyond cute, but I like him. I'm presuming he's male, but I have a suspicion they are hermaphroditic. Must look that up. I'm not sure I really want a huge number of them around the place, even though they will decimate the fly population. So far he just sits fairly close to where I'm working, even sits on the doorsill if I'm going to and fro. So far he hasn't tried to gain entry, but it's probably too cold for him indoors (25C). He might grow into a large specimen, like the one you saw in Cairns in 2001. Though he'll be hardpressed to find trees to climb in our garden.
    Well, DD, better get back to filing - I hate that job, but it's so necessary. Apparently MOGBOF has landed in OZ, but has not yet been unpacked. The speed with which things are happening we may be down in Brisbane for my birthday!!
    Love to you,

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