All entries for Saturday 24 March 2007

March 24, 2007

Kids, culture and lots of pina colada!!!

Talofa lava my lovelies!
Ok, so am the sweatiest beast that I have ever been…even more so than when I first arrived. Gwen and I have just arrived at the internet cafe following a beasting day of shopping. We started at 11am, its now 4.45 pm and we’ve been walking for what seems like forever in 35 degree celcius – GROSS OUT!!!
Ive had a fabulous week and have actually been to hospital every day, except today, which is Friday, and we don’t do Fridays, so thats all good! Having done general med on Monday again, we made it to paediatrics on Tuesday. I sat in on a clinic with a lovely young Samoan Dr called Fiona. Shes been qualified for 4 years and was fabulous with the children. I must have examined about 25 young children and babies – it was a fantastic experience. One 4 year old girl took an instant liking to me and jumped on my lap almost as soon as she’d walked in the room – bless! The mother smiled and commented ‘she must like palangi!’. Classic! However, things took an enormous unexpected turn for the worse when I whipped out my stethoscope and tried to examine her chest – lets just say the screams muffled her breath sounds somewhat!
Having not done paediatrics yet either, I apologised to Fiona half way through, incase she thought I was an imbecile, like the O&G Drs had…thankfully she turned and said ‘I would never have guessed, you’re doing very well!!!’. ‘RESULT’ I thought. Maybe paediatrics is the way to go!
Gwen and I went to the paediatric ward round the next day, having left Dave in bed with an almighty hangover (will fill you in on that later…). Once again, we managed to hold our own against a barage of questions from the Drs. The children were all such sweethearts, all with huge smiles and big brown eyes – adorable! On Thursday, somehow Dave managed to be hungover again, but so did Gwen and I. HOWEVER, we were studious and dragged our sorry asses into the neonatal ward, leaving Dave in bed AGAIN. We figured that the neonates would be safe from our alcoholc breath fumes in their incubators!!! The neonatal ward had 8 incubators and there were 5 babies being cared for. They were SO CUTE! The staff were amazing, and we learnt how to do a neonatal examination. The paediatric consultant was a real inspiraion – she was so passionate about her work and did such a wonderful job despite such a lack of facilities and money.

I can guess that you’re all amazingly impressed at how many hours of medicine I’ve put in this week…but don’t worry, cos Ive managed to have some fun aswell! The weather has been ultimate shite this week with huge downpours at least twice daily. So on Tuesday we decided to do some cultural stuff. First off, we visited Robert Louis Stevenson’s house and museum. RLS lived in Samoa for quite a few years and wrote some of his classics out here. Apparently, having travelled all around the Pacific islands, he landed in Samoa and claimed that he had found his paradise. So he set up shop and lived out his days here and was buried on the mountain behind his house. The house was amazing – a huge, white, colonial structure set in astoundingly beautiful grounds. Inside contained many original features, and we had the most comedy guide showing us around. Unfortunately …(!!!) it started to rain so we couldn’t embark on the 45 minute hike up the moutain to visit his grave, as the ground would be too slippy…I was absolutely gutted, as you can imagine…could think of nothing better than hiking up mountains in blistring heat. Our next stop was the Bahaii temple. Apparently, Bahaii is a legitimate religion that basically encompasses all of the good bits from the 9 major world-wide faiths. There are only 8 temples in the world, and Samoa has 1 – random. The temple itself had 9 sides representing the 9 different faiths. It was a very serene place, with flowers that delicately perfumed the air. Our last stop was the Papapapai-tai falls – awesome name, awesome spectacle. It was a bloody big waterfall that cascaded down the side of a mountain. It had just finished raining so some whispy clouds had formed around the top of the falls creating a magnificent picture.

That night we went out for a cheeky boogy and drinks to say goodbye to the kiwi girls who had been staying at the Outrigger with us. Dave devoted the entire night to Vailima and was a drunken monkey. Gwen and I were sensible and stopped after our third glass of malibu and pineapple juice. When we got back to the Outrigger, having been chucked out of the club at 12 (RUBBISH), Dave thought it would be a great idea to join some of the other guys out on the deck to drink more Vailima. I half-heartedly tried to discourage him, but alas, he ignored the Robbo advice. Thank goodness for ear plugs, is all I can say. The night apparently culminated in a swim and he reappeared in our room at 3.30am – drunken beast! Needless to say, he didn’t make it in the next morning!
The following day after hospital, a few of us took a trip to the Papaseea sliding rocks – and they do exactly what they say on the tin – they are a series of smallish waterfalls that you can slide down…IF YOU HAVE A DEATH WISH!!! I took one look and decided that it would be a very very bad idea for me to attempt them. Basically, if you veered slightly to either side of the ‘suggested’ path down, impalage was inevitable, and I didn’t fancy the walk back up the 200 wet slippy steps to civilisation, with a broken tibia, thankyou very much! Dave called me a wuss. I didn’t care! Gwen and Mimi were of the same opinion as me, so we went and lolled in one of the rock pools and let the other psychopaths to enjoy themselves “sliding”.
That night, it was Katies’ leaving do, so we went out again. Had dinner at the yacht club, which sounds extremely fancy…but wasn’t. The food was fantastic though, and Dave, Gwen and I got champagne! We then went on to ‘Cocktails on the rocks’, a random little place that sold a JUG of pina colada for 20 tala – thats about 4 pounds…oh deary, deary me. Lets just say 60 tala later, Gwen and I were in the mood for a PAR-TAY!!!The music in the bar was random but classic, including palangi hits like ‘bohemian rhapsody’, ‘living on a prayer’ and ‘the macarena’. WE WAS LOVIN IT!!! Got back to the Outrigger and went back to mine Dave and Gwens room to continue the party – very much fun. However, champagne and spirit hangovers near the equator are not. I woke up with a mouth like a dead badgers arse and a head to match.

We plan to go to Lalumanu this weekend (supposedly the best beach on Upolu), and then we head over to Savaii, the neighbouring island, to do some “rural medicine”. We stay till next Thursday so will not be able to blog till then. Hope you’re all well and happy. Thinking about you all lots.
Love you all loads and loads and missing you all tremendouly xxx


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