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!)
Just another manic...
Monday, 24 July 2006
Despite feeling like a deflated souffle at the moment due to the incomparable heat and exhausting lack of air circulation, I know how much my darling readers (most especially those who leave comments *mwah*) miss my ramblings: so you’re treated to another Monday special.

Mondays: the days when you’ve forgotten where you live because the liberal application of a weekend’s worth of alcohol and ‘good times’ has cauterised the nerves that fray and frazzle during a week of bureaucratic and administrative exchanges.

There’s a supermarket chain here called Albert. It’s colours are blue and yellow: deceptively alluring. I go to one of the local Alberts (there are two near Flora, approximately 500m apart from each other - no monopoly HERE then) en route to work on Monday, to acquire a weeks worth of tuna and yoghurt (staples in any single girl’s diet, I dare you to contradict). If I’m lucky, I even find cans of tuna with ring pulls, otherwise I’m left gnawing on a tin for lunch. Less nutritious, far more entertaining. For some.

Now, you know my love of queues. Well, Albert is even MORE special than anywhere else in the CR (okay, anywhere else in the small sample size of places I’ve been to). The queues are populated by professionals. There are queuing competitions run in local Alberts. People go along and don’t even BUY anything, they just join in a random queue. Actually, not so random. Albert usually has over 5 checkouts, but only 1 or perhaps 2 will be operating at once.

Albert also pays incredibly poorly. Consequently, the [stage whisper] intellectually challenged employees are not the fastest off the starting block. I think they’ve all overindulged in Botox as well (possibly natural infection – looking into where they’re getting such cheap, powerful drugs from) because they’re stoically expressionless in the face of, well, in the SEVERAL faces of the persons queueing.

Queue strategy (for those of who you know it) is pointless here. One’s aura hasn’t the stamina for the longeivity required to sustain your queue position. There’s a reason why everyone seen exiting an Albert is elderly.

This morning, having FILLED my trolley (all baskets mysteriously absent, despite lack of baskets in use within the supermarket) with 5 bananas, 5 yoghurts, 3 tins of tuna and 2 packets of soup (variety being the spice of life), I saw it. The elusive, holy grail of all pantry crusades: the short queue.

A choir of angels sang while trumpets heralded a sunbeam thread sky.

There was a short old lady with three items in her trolley in front of me. I was a little concerned that she may actually topple INTO the trolley when she reached to the back of it for one item (a rohlik) to the point where I put my hand on her trolley handle to steady things if all went awry. That’s called: “risking incurring the wrath of a short old Czech lady for one’s peace of mind”. In front of her, was an old man buying beer and toffee. That’s called “eww”.

Angels continued to sing. The trumpet fanfare became deafening. I was blinded by the sunbeams.

Then the man requested something of the check out girl. I couldn't hear exactly what he asked because I was listening to my 'keep calm' whale and birdsong music - mixed for the express (ha ha) purpose of maintaining a semblance of calm in Albert queues (seriously, it's on miPod as the 'Albert' playlist. The checkout girl smiled (!!!!!) in response, and then took his toffees for a walk to the back of the counter (I was at what would be considered the 'express lane' in some countries).

Some of the angels were a bit flat on the high note. Some of them made it, but the rest of the choir were decidedly perturbed by the disturbance in the force and there was an unscheduled decrescendo (things went a bit pp). A trumpeteer fainted from use of improper breath control. An impenetrably thick black cloud skudded in the way of the sunbeams.

She thereupon reached under the counter, and pulled up a roll of paper. To this she added a roll of 'ribbon' and went in search of a pair of scissors. Having found those, she began searching for the end of the sellotape...and GIFTWRAPPING the TOFFEES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The angel tenors accused the sopranos of having smoked too much the previous night and therefore selfishly rendered themselves incapable of hitting the high notes: a brawl broke out despite the altos insistence that the sopranos had been with them all evening and we all know the goody goody altos don’t smoke. The first trumpeteer fired the third trumpeteer (the one who fainted) and the remainder of the fanfare staged a walk-out in protest. Thunder struck and lightning flashed across the sky, the sunbeams were a figment of the imagination.

And then the batteries ran out on miPod.

Welcome to Monday mornings in the Czech Republic. Favourite Monday stories in the comments section please darlings. I need sustaining entertainment following the exhaustive process of meditating for serenity in the queue following the sudden cessation of the whale/birdsong mix.

P.S. This evening, it should get even more exciting. On Friday I left my gym key (chip) AT the gym. No one speaks English there. They charge 300Kc for a replacement (10E). This customer service exchange promises to be hiAAAARRRRious. Stay tuned…
posted by Nomes @ Monday, July 24, 2006  
  • At 7:56 pm, July 24, 2006, Anonymous Craig said…

    Beautifully described!

  • At 2:41 pm, July 25, 2006, Blogger mx said…

    Some altos smoke... ;) (though not today - having enough trouble getting air into my infected lungs let along anything else. Afraid to go to sleep in case another eye-popping fit of coughing ensues and wakes the lovely M. Gotta love the expectorant qualities of a good antibiotic...)

  • At 10:36 pm, July 25, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I noticed that reference to ill-behaved Basses were selectively left out of the "hallelujah fracas". Perhaps this indicates that- once again- the bassos were patiently waiting for their higher colleages of the angelic choir (and band) to resolve their shenanegans and get back to work. Yes, we bassos are a dull lot, but you know we will always bring the nice french champagne and cigars. hugs!-Brett

  • At 12:25 pm, July 28, 2006, Blogger Mums said…

    Hi GNomes,

    Note to self - teach Naomi about long life batteries - who knows where the angel choir could have ended?

    Will no doubt write more on next blog entry - have just waited 12 minutes - and yesss I did count them - for broadband to start up. For those of you who don't know England, think Middle Ages as far as technology is concerned. Having been on our curtailed sojourn I am amazed how backward England is. I agree the Antipodes were somewhat behind the times when we emigrated in 1983, but they have caught up and on and left "the Mother Country" way back in the past.

    Diatribe complete, for this particular hour. I have yet to face the traffic, but at least I may be able to today. The car has dried out so I can use it after the breakdown yesterday when it got wet and therefore stopped!! Still it was a very pleasant trip in the breadown lorry, and think of all the petrol we saved - at £1.02 per litre that's no longer chicken feed.

    Off to read next blog entry. C u there, no doubt.

    Love, Mums

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