Saturday, September 24, 2005

Discovered a patch of eucalypts whilst walking to a waterfall last week. Climbing the muddy hill with the noise of the falls in the background, I felt strangely at home. It was only when my French companions pointed out the smell in the air that I realised why. Gum trees!!! I spent a little while trying to identify the species (a rather futile task given my limited knowledge, as anyone who has read the majestic Eucalyptus will know) and settled on something like a scribbly gums, without the traditional scribbles. However, some humans must have known what was missing... Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Jiggety jig

Home again!

And it appears that I can type!

And my desk is covered in piles of referrals, bills (not mine personally) and pharmaceuticals (not mine personally either)!

Took the plane back carrying more than a livable Aussie yearly salary worth of tricky thermometers and malaria drugs. Put them in my carry-on for fear of the bag mysteriously disappearing during the 50 minute trip. Did the guys who scanned the bag even bat an eyelid to see a foreigner carting around random drugs? Would I be asking this question if they did?

If you want to catch up on what I was doing before that, see July 17. They appear to not have malaria there (well, I diagnosed the first case in 2 months, an honour to be sure). Hence the mulish behaviour.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Well, the answer to the previous post is that I went to one of the most internet connected places in the world, where everybody in the train is checking their email on their phones: Japan. And, forgive me, I did not blog.

I spent 4 days in Ciba and one in Tokyo and managed to see the inside of a grand total of 6 buildings (train stations excluded). Outside... well, if 1.2 km of city streets count. I went for training that I was supposed to do in Sydney before leaving, and perhaps would have been a little more relaxed had it been run by Aussies than Japanese people (ie more than 20 minutes for lunch). But our hosts were wonderful and we ate a LOT of sashimi and drank an only slightly smaller amount of sake, so I guess overall it was a reasonably authentic Japanese experience.

We had been considering extending our stay for a couple of days, but a little thing called Typhoon Nadi suggested we return to Bangkok.

To go from a bamboo clinic to Tokyo was a little surreal, but to go back to a refugee camp is more so. Am now visiting another project where several thousand people are camped at the side of the road, and the clinic is a school room partitioned with cardboard boxes. Yesterday buffeting winds took some of the plastic sheeting they use to roof the huts, and sent many of the (also plastic sheeting) latrines flying. I held onto the frame when I was using one, which may have just resulted in more of a surprise for everyone else if it had been carried off with me dangling underneath! Not sure when I'll be heading "home" yet, but in the mean time can add "hello" in a further 3 languages to my repertoire.