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!)
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 10pm 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.

In Geneva.

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’.

Yeah – bilingual, I am

posted by Nomes @ Friday, September 29, 2006  
  • At 3:13 pm, September 29, 2006, Blogger Ann-Charlotte said…

    You write the bests post Ever! :) I can live vacriously and experience CR and the rest of Europe without having to go anywhere at all. ;)

  • At 8:16 pm, September 29, 2006, Anonymous Marisa said…

    I agree with Ann-Charlotte...I've never been to Geneva, but now I feel as if I have.

    I loved the 'non jay-walking' description. I can totally picture it!!

    Keep up the posts Nomes - you're my first stop every day in internet-land :)

    love, marisa

  • At 4:27 pm, September 30, 2006, Blogger Ann-Charlotte said…

    God it annoys me when I don't discover my own typos before I hit Send. I meant live VICARIOUSLY of course :)

    Awful about the syringe, eww! :-/

  • At 9:40 am, October 01, 2006, Blogger Mums said…

    Hi GNomes,

    Actually I liked Ann-Charlotte's vacariously - it conjured up thoughts of vacuous along with the vicarious, which, given the way you probably looked - gob-smacked coming to mind - possibly hit the button or is that nail on the head.

    I've been rerouting wires at the back of the computer - something I've been promising to do since we got this new computer - last November I believe, so I'm amazed everything still works. The keyboard is now on the shelf pull out thingy, so it's actually in my eyesight range again. However, the screen is now out of range!! And I notice I can still do typos. Ah well.

    Glad to hear you enjoyed sunny by Lac Leman. I remember swimming and boating in and on it. Le Chateau de Chillon is one of my fave places - I even did a model of it - all those many years ago.

    Well, back to work - I'm supposed to be updating an automatic payment. Best to keep up with the rent eh?

    Love to you from us both, Mamma

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