Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Solomon Time Flies...

Another week down, time is starting to fly (at least the weekdays are, weekends tend to go a bit slowly as there isn't a great deal to do.) It just seems to be weekend after weekend now, and we've got less than 3 weeks to go. There still isn't any fuel at the airport but apparently there are 20 barrels on a ship which has just arrived (3 or 4 weeks late) so hopefully we'll be able to get home!

Despite there being a huge lack of things to do we've not been too bored really. I think I've read more books in the last few weeks than I've read in years! I'm averaging one every 2 days at the moment. I've even managed some oxford handbook of clinical medicine revision! Although weekends tend to drag, the weekend just gone was really good. Saturday we watched Lata United lose at football to some other local team, the locals seem quite obsessed with football and pigs are frequently slaughtered for a feast if a result goes the right way. After that we went down to a bit of beach we've not visited before. It was beautiful, such white sand and clear Pacific water. We wandered around for a while and hunted for shells. Missbliss had made clear her desire for a huge shell although they're rather rare. Just as I was getting towards the end of the bay I noticed a shell to fit the bill ( >30cm in length) in the water, I picked it up and noticed something in it so threw it towards the beach – the shell's occupant turned out to be dead and with a bit of shaking out flopped a gooey, smelly mess. By now we'd amassed quite a crowd of locals, many of whom offered advice on how to clean it and stop it smelling. Walking back along the shore we bumped into a man who was most unimpressed that we'd stumbled across the shell – he had an identical one in his canoe but explained that he'd been diving off the reef all day to find it (and it wasn't as big or pretty either). He also offered us advice on the shell: specifically how to turn it into a horn to call people to important gatherings if we so desired. Missbliss was very pleased with the find (it's a "cone shell" or "Boo shell"). Hopefully it might make it back to England with us. If not, we have photos of us in various triumphant poses with it. Saturday was exceptionally hot, humid and sunny and we both got a bit burnt walking to and fro. On our way back we stopped at the house of another "whitefella" who is here doing things with solar panels. We had a lovely tropical fruit salad lunch (starfruit, bush lime, banana, pawpaw) before heading home for an afternoon nap.

Sunday was just as relaxed, most of the day was spent doing very little except reading and playing cards. We went for a beer (sadly we had to make do with a warm can of SB (SolBrew)) down by the sea to watch the arrival of the ship which seems to be something to celebrate as it happens so rarely and irregularly. How everyone knows when its going to turn up I have no idea, but most of the town had turned up for its arrival. We walked back up to the house only to find ourselves locked out. Having a ball with us, missbliss and I decided to play volleyball. After starting our very unsuccessful 1 on 1 game a crowd of local children soon assembled, as they always seem to when whitefellas are about. With a bit of encouragement most of them joined in and so we ended up with about 10 vs 10, most of them not much older than 10 years old and some even younger. We played for over an hour with no rules whatsoever, it was great fun. It was slowly getting dark so we said "5 more minutes", about 20 minutes later it was almost pitch black and I couldn't even see the ball, only then did we decide to call it a day.

The doctor has been away on a tour again for the last couple of days so I've been left to my own devices. When he is here I've been doing plenty of assisting in theatre. So much so that I could probably do my own open tubal ligation by now. Other activities include ward rounds, abscess bursting, seeing acute patients and attempting to use the x-ray machine whilst dodging the resident wasp. When I'm on my own I float about doing whatever I want, this mainly includes ward rounds and seeing acute patients although I've also prepared a wonderful (and basic) presentation on diabetes to give next Friday morning to the other staff.

I'm not really home-sick but I'm really starting to miss the modern life. Last Sunday I was dying for a Sunday Times. I've not heard any news all the time we've been here, anything could have happened. I started to compile a short list of things I really want:

1. Sunday Times

2. Access to BBC news website. (The internet is barely up to sending emails)

3. Banoffee pie

4. Beef – of any description (except tinned)

5. A warm shower (I don't mind cold showers but 4 weeks of cold bucket washes starts to get annoying)

6. Real pillows (rather than little triangular bits of foam stuffed into a pillowcase)

Once we get back to modern life its going to take for-ever to catch up with everything. Goodness knows how many emails there will be to sift through, news/sport to catch up on, comments to read (if there are any). Better avoid current affairs quizzes for a while. It doesn't help that I'll be coming back right into MTAS (for all I know it might not even be called MTAS this year). Anyway, few more weeks to kill before we have to worry about all that.


Cal said...

You are so lucky to be out there experiencing all of that! Enjoy it while you can - I'm sure the Banoffee pies can jolly well wait a while! (Though no beef might suck a bit...)

The shell escapades and the fruit salad that you had sound amazing!!

I'm jealous of you - weather here's cold and chilly, raining occasionally... in other words, nothing has changed!

Keep updating us on your adventures!

Ms-Ellisa said...

This all isso great. I wish I could have an elective in a place half as exotic... :-)

PhD scientist said...

Fascinating things those cone shells.

For an interesting "Darwinian" experiment with cone snails see:

I can confirm, BTW, that the weather in the NW of E is cold and wet. Just in time for the start of the Univ yr...