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!)
Vesele Velikonoce: the most hedonistic weekend in the Christian Calendar
Tuesday, 18 April 2006
Once upon a time, the good people in the Czech Republic heard about the idea of a ‘good Friday’ holiday. Being the democracy that they are, they decided (unilaterally) to have a referendum on whether or not people should have a svatek to ‘celebrate’ the crucifixion of Christ. There was much mulling of it. Perhaps it was overmulledova, because they decided against. WTP!??!?!

Consequently, though the office emptied out at about 3pm, save for a few workers who started in on the wine, we had to work on Friday. This, and activities like this, are possibly the reason why Eurostat published results indicating that the people in the Czech Republic work the longest hours in Europe. Great. Still – since some of those hours (including the 9am one – this morning) are taken up by congregating to imbibe wine, who am I to deny a populace their opportunity to ‘work’?

Although the plan was to meet Mark after work on Good Friday – we each suffered a series of misfortunate events which culminated in an excellent night/day out. Hang on a moment…I had to think pictorially to keep things in track…

M bumped from Czech Airlines. Wins €250. Passes Go several times on revolutions around Healthrow.
N meanwhile, used her time wisely to purchase pack from Hudy Sport – where most shopkeepers speak English, but N found the one who had honed his ‘stare at strange person as though she’s a three-headed alien’ to perfection. Having said, ‘I need help’ and ‘do you speak English’ in, what Marketa assured me was, passable Czech, I followed with ‘do you speak Czech?’ allowing some incredulity to enter my tone before ending our ‘exchange’ with a muttered ‘what the prague’ and ‘never f-ing mind’. Grrr. Marketa ALSO assures me that this is more of an attitude barrier than a language barrier. I actually think it has to do with an ‘animation’ barrier frankly. I ALMOST tapped him on the shoulder to see if he resonated like a mannequin – but he blinked, so I refrained. Grr. Still, a few 15min ‘hikes’ around the shop (with pack containing coils of rope…) I decided upon this one which is the only one on the website without a photo. Don’t worry…there’ll BE photos from our trip.
N then bought underwear (we love M&S).
N met Marketa for a mojito (or three) in Bodegitas. Mojitos were drunk. N was drunk.
Eventually, showered and changed and slightly less drunk N went to meet M at his hotel to go onwards to a dance party.
Amusingly, M had been bumped from hotel too.
Finally arrived at dance party – well after midnight, which is when N’s SMS ticket mysteriously expired without her knowledge (you’d think they could program an event into the phone calendar from afar, wouldn’t you!?). Thus, entrance was denied.
Fortunately, M&N had stumbled across Jay and Heinz (who’d ALSO been in Bodegita’s earlier – just well before N got there!) and they went BACK to Bodegita’s for more mojitos (since that had been the most successful part of the evening to date!).
Bodegita’s closed. M&N moved to Bombay – a ‘hip’ (?) tourist/expat venue (with the occasional female Czech accoutrement, of course) where we did both stumble across a kiwi and Australian on the dance floor. Having instantly insinuated themselves into the tourist circle, N forced M to try Becherovka (verdict, ‘dear God’ – the first of the prayers of the weekend) and they danced like stupid people for hours until the sun eventually came up. Nomes was turned upside down outside the club by some strange people, and now wonders how on earth the hot hot hot hot (tall, blonde etc) Danish Jakub (sailed around the world, own business, not too shabby for a 28yrold) is EVER going to know that she liked him quite a lot after they spent limited time together and she didn’t pass on her e-mail address, blog OR phone number (yet the Moroccan diplomat gets it? Where’s the justice?!?!!).

Those of you who know me well (or read this enough) know that my laundry (or lack thereof) is a source of permanent concern to me. Namely, I worried how I was going to get through another four days of social events before hitting London AND have time to get self and clothes to Laundromat. When a double glazed, reframed and perfectly fitted window of opportunity provided itself, I finally decided to get ‘dva kompletni sluzba, prosim’, otherwise I was literally going to arrive at Nis’ house with a pack full of dirty clothes. ARGH! The woman corrected me ‘dvakrat’ (oh, of course, silly me!) but tonight, I return to Laundromat to collect two loads of freshly laundered, half dried and folded clothes. YAY! Expensive, but I’m ‘l’oreal’ing this one.

I’m not sure what the rules are for brunch parameters, but we finally sat down to our English and Tulip (I win!) breakfasts at 4pm. Welcome to Prague.

The vague plan of ‘walking and seeing’ extended as far altitudinally to Petryn Hill, whereupon I put forth the bright idea of going ‘this way’ which led us past some panelak looking things (old soviet-style buildings for cheap accommodation), some student accommodation (never the most scenic at the best of times) and a hospital. Way to go, Nomes. Having doubled back, we wandered through the rose garden, took gratuitous shots of the city (‘now as a backdrop’, ‘now through a different setting’) before grabbing strawberries and heading back to my place where I could ostensibly get ready for dinner. This took me approximately 5mins to decide what I was wearing, and 3 hours of gossip while I ate strawberries, Terry’s chocolate orange (M is now my Chocolate mule…he also brought some crème eggs over) and dithered over shoe options.

Dinner at Slavia was, again, delicious – though apparently, the Tiramisu is not a sensible option if you’re going to be pouring alcohol down your throat. But the waitress there was indisputably lovely as well, and also corrected my Czech (‘kafe s AmaretEM’ – for those playing at home) which I have no objections to. She got a big tip, especially as she didn’t come over and ‘hurry’ us when they turned the lights down (down in a restaurant, up in a club) to indicate the end of the evening.

But not for us. Oh no. Not us ‘intrepid explorers of the underground world of Prague pubs’. Next, we hit Popo. Famed for something or another, it’s a chain around Prague (apparently) which includes a ‘bar’. This bar, on Saturday, played what was undeniably the craziest mix of music I’ve heard in Prague to date. Rolling Stones (Paint it Black) followed by Russian peasant music (no song title I’m afraid!), Black Eyed Peas (Retarded), Pink (Party Started/Sweet Dreams mix), Nirvana, Prodigy…insane. We think we may have crashed a private function…

Having caught up with Australian EDS manager Jo, we headed for Zero - where the DJ’s were playing an EXCELLENT house set. M and another Australian boy both fancied a small Czech hairdresser (from Toni & Guy) so there ended up being a bit of a Tasman competition. Of course, since there were a few more kiwis and aussies in the bar – this meant we could all get quite competitive on the lads’ behalves. I’m not sure anyone else enjoyed it as much as I did…but if I could’ve gotten the TAB here…(I would have bet on her going home to her boyfriend…) which eventually – after leading us all onwards to Le Clan (where people make hoovering noises with their nostrils in the toilets that have horizontally placed mirrors behind the cisterns!) she did. I finally left at about 8:30am…

…had a few hours sleep…

…before allowing the alarm clock to seep through my strong-willed conscious resistance and get me out of bed – for more food (yep, food, booze and parties: I must be in Prague!) this time with Kat and her school mates (she runs a school…) for Easter lunch at Potrafina husa. It was DELICIOUS. And washed down with beers. After which we went to Wings (a dodgy themed bar) for more beer. And then the Crapolis (Acropolis) for, you guessed it, more beer. Finally headed home at about 10, after ranting about behaviour in NZ to Mark (most of you have already heard it – there’s no point in repeating) and explaining a little bit about why it didn’t even occur to me to make an effort being his friend (10 years ago) since he couldn’t just ‘accept’ the fact that Lira and I had ‘suffered’ a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT upbringing, and judged us as being snobby instead.

Qui, jeme?? Non. To je impossible. (That’s Frech, or Czench...)

Thankfully, an early night and a good sleep meant that we were able to make it to our Hilton meeting point the next day: to hire a car and drive to Karlovy Vary. Unfortunately, the accumulated sleep deprivation over the weekend caused me to forget my passport/drivers licence combo, consequently, poor Mark had to do all the driving. His cousin and cousin’s girlfriend (Dave and Anna) showed up too, and so the four of us went West (according to the song) and found ourselves in a spa town where Moser crystal, Becherovka and ‘spa water’ are manufactured. Let’s just say that the Moser is better put to use for Becherovka drinking purposes than for that of the water (apparently cures ‘metabolic disorders’ – including, I believe, the will to live). The water tasted awful. Salty. Sulphury. Fizzy. Warm.

WTKV!? (doesn’t quite work as well does it?)

Still, we had a great meal (venison for me – delish) and went up the funicular (I do love this – am trying to do a funicular tour of Europe…) to overlook a ‘sea of trees’, which Dave reminded me is referred to as a ‘forest’. *sigh* Kiwi literalist.

Took M to the airport (after going through MANY more motorway interchanges than strictly necessary for the trip) and then helped people catch a bus into town. This resulted in us running for, not one, but TWO of the same bus. Thankfully – they come past every 10 mins. Karma owes me (I hope – perhaps it was the other way around). But I took them to eat my favourite tomato soup (just up the road from me) and we also had pizza. Kat came along again – and uplifted some LemSip (how can a country get through winter without it?) from me – having generously delivered me her cold the day before. Thankfully – managed to get to bed by 12 again. Hoorah…on the road to ‘normality’ after a crazy Friday/Saturday.

All in all, I’m not feeling particularly reborn. But for whatever I gave up in Lent – I made up for at Easter.
posted by Nomes @ Tuesday, April 18, 2006  
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