Rants, raves and random observations from an itinerant epidemiologist.
100 in 1000
Spend a week up a mountain learning to ski
Visit Karoline's place in Moravia
Hold a conversation in Czech (only)
Drink 500ml of each of the following beers:
Respond to at least one GOARN request (WHO and MSF are
Travel across the Atlantic
Return to South America
Read a book to, or with, an impressionably aged child
Participate in one NanoWriMo Challenge and come within at least 10,000 words of the goal length
Have my nose pierced
Have my next tattoo drawn
Purchase the perfect jeans (x 2 pairs)
Attend a spin class 3 times a week for 8 consecutive weeks
Bake Viv's cheesecake
Make David's casserole
Make David's Chicken Cashew-nut Stirfry
Invite 4 people who don't know one another too well to dinner
Ride from Vienna to Venice on a motorbike (pillion acceptable, those less desirable)
Attend a book group for at least two books
Go on a choir weekend (learn and perform difficult piece in two/three days)
Visit Madame Tussaud's (in London)
Take an architecture appreciation course
Join an all-girl group and sing a solo
Publish in a scientific journal (top two authors)
Cook a duck or other 'waterfowl'.
Locate the Al-Timimi's from Doha Veterinary Practise
Have a pedicure
Maintain a Brazilian (ouch) for three months.
Find a trustworthy Czech hairdresser
Treat my inner-6-year-old twice a week (at least)
Do the liver-cleansing diet properly (12 weeks)
Don't eat out for one month
Find a flat and flatmate
Purchase one Joseph sweater
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)
Send 5 books to the booksphere and track them.
Read 10 'classic' books (from 1001 Books to Read before you Die)
Everything is illuminated
Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintainance
On the Road
Run (non-stop!) for 5kms outside (preferably in a street race thingy)
Send Christmas Cards on time
Make a collage/mural out of street lights on my wall
Buy a bed, build it, and sleep soundly in it
Go to Africa
Host an 'event' (classified as and when)
Organise a 30th Birthday Party
Wear a costume
Sing on stage
Buy a painting that evokes memories of Prague (cannot involve queues!)
Learn a god-damned card game that stays in my memory (other than fish/snap)
See sunrise. Be sober. Have woken for it. Excludes months Nov-Mar
Take a walk and flip coins at each intersection
Draft a will
Take a roadtrip
Go to Italy already
Sea Kayak around Abel Tasman Park (NZ)
Take a train to another Eastern European Destination (accession countries are acceptable) alone preferably.
Get UK to give me a provisional motorcyclists license and simultaneously get a 'card' license.
Go SCUBA diving again - at least two dives lasting 30mins each.
Go to a dentist. *sigh*
Do a Czech Wine Trail. And live to tell the tale
Make an 'outbreak emergency kit'.
Go to bed prior to 11pm every night (inc weekends) for four consecutive weeks.
Marvel over lack of tiredness
Dine at a Gordon Ramsey restaurant (or Nobu)- preferably for free.
Bet on the nags
Do something for charity (applying and getting a 'red card' will count)
Walk along the Champs Elysee
Do 100 sit ups in a row
Do 50 pressups (arms in tight)
Make branston pickle (or nearest substitute)
Cook something 'new' and 'adventurous' at least once a month
Find a mentor
Be a mentor
Learn what mentoring is all about
Meet an online person in real life
Resist the flirt. Once. Just one night. It's okay if people don't immediately succumb to my natural charm. Really it is.
Spend time at a spa (spa towns in the CR don't count)
Send a care package to someone
Get a Tata Bojs CD
Take a French/German/Dutch course and SPEAK THE DAMNED LANGUAGE WHEN I HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY EVEN THOUGH IT MAKES ME SOUND
LIKE AN IDIOT!
Order new contact lenses.
Make a list of things I take with me when I pack for different occasions
Eat lobster. Prepared by someone else.
Back up the blog
Put everything onto an external hard drive
Find a DDR mat and console and 'dance, I say dance!'�
Go to the beach and lie on the warm sand. For an hour. (with sunscreen on, natch)
Take and complete a course in either: Tango, Salsa or Flamenco
Join the Municipal Library of Prague
Move to another country
Go to a live concert of a band I actually like
Pay off debts (student loan excl.)
Send thank you cards for every gift I receive (other than the gift of happiness, blah blah blah).
Get an agent (literary or theatre)
Go to a sports bar without cringing, by personal choice
Ride a rollercoaster
Hold a snake
Spend a day wandering around a museum (not art gallery!)
Geneva: big city attitude in a small town
Friday, 29 September 2006
What a peculiar place. For a start, no one REALLY lives there. Everyone’s on some form of temporary contract with a UN-type agency. Even the waiting staff are diplomats (in the same way that Los Angeles waiting staff are actors). The only people who speak fewer than three languages are the British (of course) because even the American’s have done their bit by learning Spanish and speaking a bit of French. Of course, American accented French is a bit hard to follow…and painful on the ear even to me…but they’re still putting us Union Jack wavers to shame.
Just as well I can all of a sudden change allegiance and become a Kiwi again then, huh?
The lights in the old town were just insane. I’ve never seen any like them. And even more disappointingly, I never saw a single one that didn’t have a backdrop of tram lines or buildings (mainly because they’re street lights for dwarves…I could have touched them): which meant no clear shot for my wall of lights.
And you KNOW, without any shadow of a doubt, that to stand somewhere inappropriate to take a shot would have had me in jail sooner than you could have said “I was only jaywalking!”. It may be illegal in some places, but this is the first city I’ve ever been in where it FELT illegal. Everyone waits patiently (not in the same “Oh god, we’re waiting again” way as the Czechs, but more a “these are the rules we’ve agreed to abide by, so abide by them we shall” approach) on their side of the road until the little man goes green, even if it’s the middle of the night, on a street closed for roadworks!
But then, since it’s also illegal to flush your toilet after if you live in an apartment…I guess the Genevites (Genevieves?) somewhat accustomed to rules and regulations governing their lives.
It was nice to be in amongst a foreign language that was comprehensible again. I mean, I know my Czech has come a long way (it would be impossible for it not to have), but I can actually listen to French and understand a modicum of it. Occasionally I’ll even store up sufficient bravery to stammer a few words. Which is exactly what I did when I sat down at a small café in a square on top of a hill in the old town part of Geneva. The waiter approached and said Bonjour. I did the same and then followed with a “eeeh…je voudrais chocolat chaud du maison, s’il vous plait.” Where the ‘eeeh’ at the beginning was merely an affectation, and not because I was thinking how to phrase my request. It was all but automatic.
This bodes poorly for a return to the CR, whereupon I shall no doubt start my sentences in French. WHY?!?Because my poor, underdeveloped language cortex has smidgens of two languages, and it can’t quite separate the two just yet. It’ll get there. I’m told.
There are three things the Swiss appear to be famous for: knives (Swiss army – remember?), watches (clocks are EVERYWHERE in Geneva – there’d be no excuse for ever being late!) and chocolate. Which means that should you ever stab someone with the ‘removing a stone from a horse’s hoof’ accessory of your Victorianox for attempting to steal your bonbon (and they’re expensive, the attack AND defence are understandable) then you’d be able to quickly check the time and develop an alibi. This is when the ‘private banking’ system comes into play: you can always say you were with your private banker, discussing confidential matters and he’s obliged to agree. Perfect.
Then you’d be on the bus that heads for “United Nations”. And I swear, if I ever thought my 5th Form Geography class was like the Security Council (one Chinese person, NEVER went along with the rest of us) then these bus journey’s are even worse. In any given fraction of a second, you can see all races of the world represented (there may have been a paucity of Eskimo’s, but I’m sure I saw one!) and nearly all languages spoken (except the supposedly unifying Esperanto, of course).
But when you get to the UN offices, do be careful where you sit your arse. While mine spread due to consumption of the most delicious baguette in the world (hot, ‘baguette avec multicereales’ upon which brie had been liberally sliced, topped off with fresh vine-ripened tomatoes and Serrano ham), I watched the world go by over the top edge of my “The Times” (oh god, I miss newspapers). One incident I saw had me slackjawed. So we all know that I live in dodge central, well, there I was, sunning myself by Lac Leman, when a gentleman approached. Mid-30’s, tanned, self-assured, cords and shirt combination with sensible walking shoes. Could’ve been anyone. Went to sit down and checked the seat before sitting (gay?) – apparently for bird poo (!!?).Reached down (I assumed to ‘brush solid shit off the seat’ and retrieved (betwixt index finger and thumb) an uncapped hypodermic.
By the UN!!!
Colour me horrified.
But by the time I’d gotten over returning to the WHO building (oh so geeky to be so impressed, but I can’t help myself, I never went on school field trips to anywhere like that!) which has a lobby that would rival any shopping mall (bedecked in marble, resplendent with shops, and a small sign that indicates ‘get your visa’s for foreign places here’. The only thing that separates it from being a mall is that the last minute travel agency can organise trips to Darfur/Gaza/Kabul/Beirut instead of the more usual Tunis/Cairo/Athens/Istanbul options! Oh – and everyone dresses superbly too, suits/tights/briefcases – until you get down to the Response group who are in moleskins/jeans, checked shirts/t-shirts and sturdy shoes and who go nowhere without their backpacks), in order to go out and buy more French wine to have with our raclette, I’d almost forgotten the incident with the ‘eepohdearghmeek’.