Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Substrate in the D.R.

I wonder what the fascination with self -destruction is?

Why am I tempted to write self - incriminating things on this site? Why do I want strangers to know my feelings towards people that I meet and interact with?

Tomorrow we teach about the abdomen and gluteal region, then an HIV night out in a club and the Rabbi's birthday on Friday night all should be nice.

Apparently only one of the two heads of lateral ptyergoid opens the jaw (and is therefore the only true muscle of mastication that is a jaw opener)

I resist the temptation to self destruct

Saturday, November 26, 2005

5 months of sarcasm

I arrived back on July 1st 2005 to a wonderful family reception.
I have been living at home since that time which is very nice to be able to spend such time with the family (especially Georgie who is now at Nottingham university).

The job situation was pretty dire and I applied for about 75 - 100 jobs.
Of note I very nearly got a wicked A&E job at Cambridge starting in August but didn't and then went to 3 other interviews, all for fairly shit jobs really. One in Cheltenham I thought I did pretty well at the interivew and they told me in the feedback that actually I didn't interview that well.

But there was a grand plan and that was one which suited me very well from this perspective. I was in the right place at the right time and am now working as an anatomy demonstrator at Newcastle university teaching medics, dentists and speech therapists.

More about the job another time.
After that job I move to the big smoke to do some more A&E for 6 months in the old ghetto (Brick Lane) and then I hope to get onto a longer term rotation in either orthopaedics or something else.

Tonight I went out after Shabbos had gone out and in the night club pulsing too loud music that my ear plugs weren't blocking out I watched unattractive people dance badly.

I finished the case for israel which is terrific and hope mum and dad will read it.

Jo Fish is in Singapore, Ed is now working in London, Leon and Laura are about to make Aliyah, Ben is slowly on his way back to London.

Monday, June 27, 2005

...and it`s Goodbye from me

Nara is an hour away on the very efficient bullet train from Kyoto. It is a beautiful town with some great temples and shrines which one can easily do in a day. The city is full of wild deer which are magnificent creatures. The best bits were being treated a little like minor celebrities by the hoards of Japanese school chidren armed with cameras and delighting in taking photos of us, sometimes with them sometimes on our own.

We walked around many of the temples in Kyoto, some of the Zen gardens are really great, however one can quite easily get temple fatigue.

Saturday night was a night out in Osaka with a friend from camp America who is teaching English here. There is a big community here of English speakers getting paid very well per hour to teach English but with no real prospects to progress.

Japan is so clean and safe, crime is almost unheard of and nobody steals anything. We chatted to a human rights lawyer though who said that people don:t have many rights though and trials here are not fair at all.

Back in Tokyo we went to Niko yestreday which is a 2 hour train journey and is another temple/shrine city. this one is on a mountain side and was lovely and cool. The temples are good and worth visiting.
On the train back we got chatting to 2 15 year old boiys who were practising their English. The lady next to us offered to buy us dinner which Ed gladly accepted.

I am not sure of her intentions; she seemed like a nice, driven lady:
Philippino originally and dressed like a power woman. She had 4 children, aged between 21-27 and wasn:t sure what they were really doing, but she did work very hard and then in her spare time play golf, do rotary club things, and was an English teacher. When she retires she and her husband are building a house in the Philippines with a golf course surrounding it.
English speakers can get taken out for lunch and paid 50 pounds or more for conversation over an hour.

Today Ed has gone to meet his friend Pete at the airport.
He is adoring Japan.
Good Luck Georgie with your final A-levels
I am scheduled to arrive home on Thursday evening and look forward to seeing many people.
and it`s good bye from him

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Toilet humour and nuclear fission

As my sun burn peels to make me look like a mega celebrity paedophile with vitiligo, or Michael Jackson I remembered that I didn:t tell you about the best toilet I have found:

In Asia they don:t often have toilet rolls and sometimes don:t have a western toilet - it;s just a pit. In the Sony centre in Tokyo (like real life tomorrow;s world) they had the toilet for the future.

It had remote controls which altered the power of the jet and type of jet, and then blew air to dry off. Really superb.

In the youth hostel at the moment the baths is a Japanese bath which is like the type I tried to get out of at school. 10 showers around a huge bath. A sign telling you to respect their culture and not wear swimming trunks! One of the men on reception is a Japanese Frank Spencer; only time will tell if Ed is unlucky enough to find him in the bath when he arrives - umm betty!

Today we had a very busy day going to Hiroshima where there is an impressive display about the atomic bomb, unbiased and calling for world peace. It was very nice to see such pride without nationalism. After that we went to Himeji (again on the ultra efficient bullet train) to see the best example of a Japanese castle. Luckily it was some special day and many of the locals were dressed in traditional outfits whcih allowed for some good pictures. We are also becoming more aware of the phenomenon of JLCs:
Japanese loving Caucasians.

Tomorrow we go to Nara to see more great temples and shrines.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

snorkelling with the Japs

The bus journey from the Bangkok youth hostel was fun as the driver was a lunatic and drove part of the way on the wrong side of the road so as not to wait in traffic; in Bangkok the bigger vehicle has right of way to the extent that mopeds on the road have to almost stop when big cars justpull out!

We have now arrived in Japan. When snorkelling one is privvy to another world - the fish may know you are there but they don;t really interact. Occasionally one does or if you move your hand into their shoal then they swim around you. The same goes in Japan!

In Thailand we were always being offered something and never left alone, here it is the opposite. People trying to get you to go into their restaurant only talk to other Japanese. Yesterday on the tube we watched 2 middle aged men bow 4 times to each other as they parted. Tokyo is full of immaculately dressed business men. There are gaming arcades with loads of business men in too.

Apparently there are 3 types of bow depening on your position in society and whether or not you have made a mistake!
There is English in loads of places and so it;s fairly easy to get around, althogh painfully expensive post Thailand. One night in the cheapest acoomdation here is more than a week in an en-suite, air conditioned room in Bangkok.
Tokyo I think is the cleanest place I have ever been, far cleaner than Singapore (clean for Asia) and cleaner than Australia as well (no litter but this place sparkles!)

Today we arrived on the ruthlessly efficient bullet train in Kyoto in the south and have seen a lovely Zen garden in a temple.

Ed is in his element loving all things Japanese.
Tomorrow we go on day trip to Hiroshima and a couple of other places.

Hi! - Not sure what it means but it props up everywhere in conversation.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Bangkok what what what

I forgot to say that we saw the kick boxing in Ko Samui which was overpriced.(8 quid)
Incredibly lean people kicking and fighting, sometimes knocking each other out which is when the referee gets involved with some backward techniques like head shaking to really wake them up/ disrupt the neuronal links. The referees look like janitors and there is live music which is very addictived and puts one in a trance - perhaps the tempo the musicians set, sets the speed of the fighters?

We have been accosted by many wonderful scam artists (please read Ed's post) with such unbelievable stories, sometimes we weren't sure what the scam was or how it was even scamming us. We found the best way was to either have a laugh (see Ed's blog) or lie so when they said there was a festival for the Buddhist birthday we would say we knew as we were invited etc..

When people ask us if we want to see a ping pong show we say we're going to do one later ourselves etc.

The temples were ok, the Thai people don't have to pay which we all agreed with, there were really very few funny incidents.

Today was shopping in a market place that was just incredible - so much you just couldn't look at it all in a day and the prices ranging from ridiculously cheap to almost sensible(4-5 pounds for a t -shirt, 7 pounds for second hand designer clothes).

Tonight we ate dinner in the Chabad house restaurant - delicious meat dinner for 1 pound 30, served by lovely Thai people whose second language is now Hebrew.
Off to Japan tomorrow which will mean the end of cheapsville

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A week's worth

The Cameron highlands were delightfully cool and we stayed in what looked like Anderson shelters. Had a tour around tea plantations and also saw loads of the plantlife with an enthusiastic tour guide called Kumar. Perhaps some of what he said didn't stand up to the scrutiny of western science however it was entertaining and we saw pitcher plants and other wonders.

After the Cameron highlands we left to go to Penang - an Island which takes 5 hours to drive around and is west of the northern most point of Malaysia. On Penang the largest city is called Georgetown which lonely planet describes as wonderfully colonial - we thought delapidated and definitely worth missing.

The beaches though were a real surprise and were great. Myself, Ed and Chris went jet skiing which was awesome fun. Chris and Andrew had a large one while myself and Ed read one night and Andrew also stocked up on fakes before flying home. It was a real treat to be able to spend a week with Andrew (first time in about 7 years).

The 3 of us left at 0430 in the morning after having no sleep on a South East Asian bus journey. In fairness it was certainly nowhere near as bad as some of Jo's stories however it was unpleasant as we spent 10 - 12 hours on 3 different buses with suspension varying from none to rally settings and then an idyllic boat journey to Ko Samui.

The islands here are beautiful and put the Whitsundays to shame.
On Ko Samui now we all feel we could stay longer and it is easy to see how people spend months in Thailand. Ed is loving his green curry for breakfast, red for lunch, whole snapper for first dinner and sea bass for second dinner.

Both of us are thoroughly enjoying a book drawing on the work of the late Rebbe - searching for a meaningful life (certainly tricky to find here!)

Of note we met a guy in Malaysia who has been living in Thailand for the past 5 years, he had some amazing stories to tell:

His father was Singalese boxing champion for 7 years
His brother has 3 degrees and is currently studying for his MA, one degree from Leeds, Oxford and somewhere else.
His brother is also chief bouncer at Majestic
His brother was Mr Natural but then thought he was too big and so trains in martial arts and goes climbing - one of his feets was to jump from one mountain to another across 12 ft with only 2 ice picks.

He has been spending 6 months every 2 years learning a form of Kung Fu in China for the past 6 years, he imports car parts back to the UK from Japan. He is currently going out with someone who has won awards for interior design.

We believe he is also training in the form of Chinus Reckonis!
Still a character like that is good for the blog.

Loads of Israelis here and we met up with a very nice one we met in Cairns called Arik.
We leave tomorrow to fly to Bangkok where because of the smog there are no flies.

The sea water here is like a warm bath and despite prices sky rocketing over the past 5-10 years with exponential increases in tourism it remains very cheap and an hour Thai massage which are offered everywhere is 3 pounds, we still haven't indulged.

I have tried a reflexology massage (feet mainly) in Georgetown from a very experienced guy who had callouses on the extensor aspect of his first knuckle on his ring finger. Apart from being disgusted by the callouses I was in a world of pain; fascinating how rubbing certain parts of the feet can be so painful - I felt no physical good came from this massage.