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!)
Dining – it’s an Italian thing
Monday, 19 February 2007
My hotel is, well, let’s put it this way: if rooms could be rented by the halfhour, I wouldn’t be surprised. The word “Hotel” is inscribed in Helvetica Upper Case going down the side of the building. If only one of the red neon bars were flickering, it’d be straight out of a trailer trash movie.

It’s my first night, and I’ve come to a local restaurant, a few blocks from the hotel. According to the noses, it’s a family run joint, and the sons scurry while myopic dad pregos and grazies, occasionally showing a group to a table. Papa has sat me down at a table with silent 40 year old women. They acknowledge my presence without smiling. I feel as though I should excuse my intrusion saying, “I don’t speak Italian, so go for it, feel free to gossip about your husbands’ lacklustre performance in bed, and debate whether he has a mistress…”

But I don’t.

Papa swishes over to talk to the 5 and 7 year old cute girls at the table across the room. They have been brought out by their grandparents who are sipping a digestif and punctuating their conversation with praise for the artistic merits of their crayola-crazy grandprogeny. Bear in mind that it’s 9:45pm, and you can add Italy to the “list of countries Nomes could be quite happy in”. Not to mention the motorcycles outside…this country is 2-wheel crazy.

People chow down their delicious and inexpensive food with their mouths open (ewww!), and unashamedly stare at people at the neighbouring tables (as would you if the conversation were as interesting as the hand gestures seem to imply!). People in this restaurant are clearly eating and arguing with their own families. I wonder whether anyone who lives in the city has a dining room table, or if that’s reserved for the farmhouse in Tuscany (doesn’t everyone have one?).

Near to me, a family with three sons (18, 24, 28) struggle to order sufficient food for the boys to feel (temporarily) sated. As well as their ages, the lads range in engagement, from sullen to soliloquising. All three are beautiful to look at, but their immediate response to Mammas momentary comment reminds me that they’re attached to the apron strings still. Hand gestures abound, and are easy to interpret. Papa says “What the hell is your problem?” to the youngest, who responds with a sullen and disagreeable (not to mention, downright dishonest) “nothing, I’m fine.” Complete with the teenage sneer.

When the shrimp cocktail arrives, I’m torn from my people watching, absorbed entirely by the decision, “to eat the radicchio lettuce, or to leave it as the garnish it appears to be intended for?”. I clear my plate. I ordered a ravioli del nero chef. I think that means ravioli made by a black chef, which seems a little racist, but all of a sudden am struck by doubt: I hope squid are not involved….

Two couples enter the restaurant and the women immediately take the diagnonally opposing seats at a table of four, to leave space for their husbands (who hang their wives coats) next to them. Everyone touches everyone else as they speak, so it’s quite hard to distinguish lines of ownership.

Two gentlemen are sharing a gigantic plate of meat (complete with a knife sticking straight up out of it) and their side salads are WHEELED to them on a separate, side table. Seeing the dessert trolley, I immediately make the decision (irrespective of hunger levels) to have dessert, merely for the novelty of having something wheeled to MY table too.

Squid, it turns out, were involved. Note to self: if I intend to keep returning to Italy on gastronomic missions, buy a bloody dictionary/phrase/menu book!!

Ahhhh, so the women are ENGLISH. It now makes sense. They have trouble dividing the bill into three, so pay with a 200E note. I’ve never seen one before, so I try not to stare. The waiter asks for 2E more, and then gives them a 50E change. They look at one another as if to say, “well, that was unexpected…” and don’t leave a tip.

My dessert (I pushed all the squid out of the ravioli, I’m gonna have to find somewhere else to eat tomorrow night!) was a chocolate tart with chocolate shavings and chocolate sauce, topped with strawberries and ice cream.

I drooled when I typed that, in remembrance.

People here (the Italian ones) have sminkles on their faces. Sminkles, darling lovely readers, are the wrinkles one gets from smiling frequently. A few of the women have reduced this with toxic injections and face-smooshers (smooshing is what you do with a cat, when you pull it’s ears back and make its face look like htat of an alien. They love it – guaranteed, and you’ll find hours of entertainment in their features!), but alas, their faces have a plastic, not porcelain sheen. It’s horribly unattractive, and reminds me that even though I’m soon 30, it’s GOOD to have lines.

At least then, I’ll also have an expression. And my expression right now is, “oh my god, I’m full!”


posted by Nomes @ Monday, February 19, 2007  
  • At 10:51 pm, February 20, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said… that you are heading to Switzerland during the snows, will you take the opportunity to cross off #1 on your list and go skiing? Might as well. If you find it boring you can end up in a large chalet surrounded by sympathetic Austrian and French lads all clamoring to buy your next hot drink. Most likely you will have a ball, though. Bon voyage, sweetie! -Brett

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