All entries for March 2007

March 30, 2007

Sea sickness sucks!

Hey my lovelies!!!Long time no blog!
You’ll be glad to know that I’m back at the outrigger following our mini excursion, I am in one piece, the mozzy bites are under control, and I have acquired zero medical knowledge since I’ve been away…unless advising a fellow traveller to use antibacterial mouthwash for a mouth ulcer counts as knowledge???Nah, didn’t think you’d buy that one!
Have just read through all the emails you’ve sent – thankyou so much, they’ve all really made me laugh…Mikey, I’ll sort the photos and send them asap…I have some really fit new friends aswell…I’m sure I could convince them to strike a few poses!!!

So, on Saturday we set off to Lalomanu beach – supposedly the best beach on the whole of Upolu. There were 10 of us going from the Outrigger so it was a pretty cost effective journey. Anyway, we arrived…and they were right…it was GORGEOUS!A strip of gleaming white sand decked with beach fales, and water like Ive never seen before – crystal clear. Dave, Gwen and I had decided that if we were going to do a dive, this was the place to do it, especially as Dave and Leah had promised me a dive as my birthday present. So we presented ourselves to the diving office and were given a registration sheet explaining that scuba diving could cause serious injury/death and should we need a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, we would have to travel to goddam New Zealand…’shit a brick’, I thought, as I literally signed my life away. We made our way to the dive centre in order to be kitted out with wet suits and fins. Johanna, the slim, brown, beautiful, Swedish dive instructor looked me up and down and to my mortification handed me a mens XL wet suit, that when zipped up, bulged attractively around my lower belly. I was looking HOT!!!NOT!!!However, the extra room proved to be quite a blessing in disguise as when I jumped into the water, the air trapped in the expanse of extra room made its way to my shoulder region and acted as a fabulous bouyancy aid – no need to tread water when you have a fat ass wet suit on!RESULT! The plan for the afternoon was to go to 2 dive sites and the experienced divers in our party would dive at both. However, there were 4 of us newbees, and it was decided that two of us would dive at each site. Dave and one of zee German girls who were staying at the Outrigger aswell, decided to go first, so Gwen and I decided to do some snorkelling whilst we waited. It was absolutely amazing. Some of the fish were so beautifully coloured and irredescent – like nothing i’d seen before. However, I did wet my self slightly (or not as the case actually was…more of that later) at the site of the ‘DROP OFF”. I have a slight fear of very deep water so when the reef suddenly disappeared it took me a moment or two to calm myself, give myself a mental slap, and remind myself that I could actually swim, and besides, there was no hope of drownage with all the excess air horded in my wet suit anyway!!! Back to the wetting myself incident…so it turns out I can’t pee in the sea! Very unfortunate when you’ve drunk about a litre of water and are about half a mile from the shore…have never been so delighted when Johanna told us we were goin back to the dive centre to change the oxygen tanks!A toilet had never looked so good! All too soon, we were at the next dive site, the so-called ‘Turtle minefield’. Apparently, we were almost guaranteed to see turtles…up to 6 per dive, according to some of the dive masters!!! Bollocks!!!We didn’t see any. The swell was so immense at this dive site that I started to feel majorly sea sick whilst waiting for the pro divers to surface. I popped a sea sickness tablet but nada…I was having another mental struggle with myself, convincing myself that now would be a very bad time to chuck. Plus, my dive buddy, Brian, happened to be this hunky, South African fitty (not as fit as you my darling Soes), and vomming infront of him would have been slightly embarrasing. He reassured me that being sick under water was a possibility, so not to worry if I still felt sick once we’d submerged…plus, he said, you’re likely to sea more fishes as they’ll all swarm round to eat it…...UGGGHHH – GROSS OUT, I thought. Anyway, I was more concerned about being able to breathe under water, let alone how the hell you’d logistically figure out how to vom and breathe at the same time. Anyway, after a very ungraceful jump into the water and a few panicky minutes of “oh shit, what the hell am I playing at, I belong above water, not under it”, Gwen, Johanna, Brian and I all submerged and the dive began. I must say it was the most exhilarating, alien, terrifying yet amazing experience of my life. We went down to about 10 metres and at one point floated over the top of a deep ravine/under-water mountain – it felt like I was flying!!!The coral and fish were out of this world – but no bloody turtles!!! Neddless to say, I was quite tired when we got back – it felt like I’d sat about three exams, what with all the adrenaline I’d gotten through.
The next day we chilled on the beach and topped up the tan. It was soo very hot, spent the mid-day in the shade so didn’t burn. Dave and Gwen went snorkelling and saw a SHARK…which actually turned out to be a barracuda, scarey all the same. Iv’e never seen Dave move so fast!Quite amusing from my safe spot on the sand! The food was fabulous at Lalomanu, and on Sunday they produced a WHOLE PIG for lunch – literally!
Got a bit carried away on the old diving story and have unfortunately run out of time on the internet…promise to fill you all in on Savaii the next time I blog which will be asap!

Just a few personals

Soes: You are a comedy genius my darling! The tag rugby story had me crying! Love you squillions and missing you so much xxxx

Mikey: Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear big -bruv, happy birthday to you! Hope you had a phat one babes! Sorry I wasn’t there to celebrate with you! Thanks so much for the quality email, once again, dribbling mess in the internet cafe!Big up to the Lawrence sheriff massif! Love ya loads xxx p.s send my love to Sar and wish her luck and tell her I haveny forgotten about the hobbit!

Vena: Hey hun, heard anything yet? Am so excited, sounds like you kicked ass at the interview. Missin you! xxx

Mum, Dad, Lise, Jon, Rosie and Beth: Have fab time on hols guys – you all deserve it. Go staedy on the tannage – wouldn’t want to be out done on the tanning front now, would I!!!Love you all loads xxxx

Elly, Cos and George : Thanks for email lovelies. Hope George isn’t picking his scabs!Big hugs and kisses to you all xxx

Love you all loads and loads and missing you xxxxxxxxxx

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

March 20, 2007

Nuddy in the jungle!

Hey my lovelies!
Thankyou for all the fab emails – they’ve all made me smile big style! Can I start by offering you all my commiserations for the terrible weather you’ve been experiencing lately …my heart goes out to you all and I hope that the cold spell passes as soon as posible…I’ll shut up now before I rack up any more cuffs round the earole from Mikey! You’ll probably be pleased to know that there is some justice in this world, and we experienced an almighty storm on Thursday just gone, which flooded the deck area of our hotel. It really was a spectacle – the most comedy part was when the torrent crashing down the road somehow redirected itself into the Outriggers’ garden so that at one point, we were playing reservoir to the whole of damn Apia! However, the sun came out the next day and dried it up as fast as it came down, but alas, all the moisture in the air saw the return of Wendolene…I swear, I havent seen one decent photo of me since I got here!Damn hair!
As I mentioned last time, Dave, Gwen and I went to Virgin Cove again this weekend and stayed over in one of the beach fales. We got there on the Friday, and it rained a bit, but it was still warm enough to sit on the beach and swim. The resort there is quite small and the shower facilities are a sight to behold – it was basically a cold water shower head attached to a tree trunk, encased within a c-shaped wall of volcanic stone, set against a jungle backdrop. The wall supposedly covered you from the neck down…I was dubious, as had nearly caught a couple in the buff in the shower,on my way to the toilet earlier on in the day. So, the time came for me to brave it – I was way too sanded out to contemplate leaving it till I got back to the outrigger. I left the tankini on and sheepishly began washing, my eyes flitting all around, checking for pesky nosey parkers. I decided it was maybe safe to remove the shorts as the lower regions were definitely out of sight. However, I suddenly got brave and decided that sand removal was winning out vs my modesty! The top came off aswell and it was like one of those herbal essences adverts, minus the moaning, obviously! Needless to say, Ive never showered so quickly in my life!
The evening meal took place in the main bar fale. It was beautiful – steak, potatoes and vegetables ( a rare delicacy in Samoa) in a thick, rich sauce!Yummy! The cocktails were even yummier – Lise, the pina colada was rocking my world, and at only 3 pounds a pop, it would have been rude to not get atleast 3!!! Pudding was fruit pie with fruit (imaginitively). Gwen and I were pleased to discover that the orange fruit that lay inside was infact peach and not papaya – or POOpaya as we’ve renamed it!Trust me, guys, it smells of fart and doesn’t taste much better!
The whole resort was lit by kerosene lanterns at night – very sweet, but quite tricky to navigate your way around. We got to our fale only to find a hermit crab had moved in with us – it was Daves job to remove it! Now, you’d think that with 50%DEET mozzie spray, a mosquitoe net, socks and pyjama bottoms on, I’d have escaped being bitten….oh how wrong you’d be. I was nibbled to within an inch of my life.
The next day (Saturday) was glorious. A few of the guys from the Outrigger that we’ve become friends decided to join us for the day. We had a blast! It was such good fun. They are all medical students aswell; Kate, Katie and Mi-Mi are from the UK and Florian and Max are from Germany. They are all lovely and extremely funny!
We spent yesterday, which was Sunday just lazing round the pool – it’s amazing how tiring doing nothing can be!
Today we went into hospital and joined the general medical ward round again. We saw a 26 year old guy in HDU who wasn’t expected to survive the day…he had poisoned himself by drinking methylated spirit, as had two other patients in the medical ward, who had been more lucky. One guy had already died yesterday. Horrendous!
Anyway my lovelies, hope you are all well and happy. Will look forward to hearing from you soon. Take care and blog you later!!!!
Loads of love xxxxxxxxxxxx

March 16, 2007

Mosquitoes for extermination!!!

Hello my beauties!
So, since my last blog the mozzies have reached new levels of evilness and bitten the only place left to bite…the sole of my foot!How low is that?!So have taken to wearing long pj bottoms tucked into socks, yet they still get me through the goddam material!Unbelievable!

You’ll be pleased/relieved to know that I have actually spent a significant amount of time in hospital this week – a whole 4 mornings and 1 afternoon. We’ve been very studious. Decided to give up on the obs and gynae as a)we didn’t know anything b)there were no immenent labours and c) quite frankly, no one seemed to like us ‘palangies (colloquial for white foreigner)’ very much. So we sloped off to the general medical ward and instantly felt at home!We understood what was going on, could answer questions confidently, and more importantly, answer them correctly (!) and the doctors were lovely. We’ve seen some amazing sites, that I won’t go into in detail, for the sake of Mikeys’ stomach! Suffice it to say that because people not only have to pay for their care, and tend to consult the Fofo (village healer) before they seek medical attention, they present with signs and symptoms that are very advanced and therefore hardly ever seen in the UK. There are unfortunately an unbelievable number of very young Samoans, ie 15-20 year olds who contract a heart infection called rheumatic fever and get lost to follow up or don’t finish their course of treatment and end up with heart failure aged 20. Heart failure is bad news – and the youngest person Ive ever seen with it in the UK was 54. Also, repeat chest infections and, again, loss to follow up and cessation of treatment due to cost, has resulted in lots of young peolpe developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other lung problems. It’s very sad. The patients are lovely – even in the midst of their lowest, illest moments, they still manage to say hello and give us medical students a radiant smile.
The only thing ‘intensive’ about the intensive care unit is the air conditioning. There is one ECG machine (heart monitor) to serve the whole 240 bed hospital and they do not have a CT scanner, therefore, if you have a stoke, basically, you’re buggered. This is not good as a vast majority of Samoans are diabetic, obese and have sky high blood pressures i.e. strokes are on the cards for a fair number of them! Mum, the lowest blood sugar I’ve seen so far is 17! That is deemed as good and stable here! Despite the undercurrent of poverty, the Drs do a great job and I have really enjoyed being attached to their firm this week.

Forgot to mention when I wrote last Sunday, a few of us went to church, as we had been assured that it was a must, if only to hear the singing. So we rocked up for the 9am service and got some seats at the back. Most of the congregation were in white; the girls looked like little brides and there were some fabulous hats on show. Just as the service was about to start a HUUUGGGEE Samoan gentleman of about 55 came and sat next to me. He had the most beautiful bass voice which reverberated the whole pew when he sang. He gave me a hymn sheet for the first hymn. This was all good as it had the music written at the top, although the text was all Samoan. However, he substituted the sheet with a hymn book, which had no music, for the rest of the service and told me to ‘SING UP!”. This proved to be quite difficult when I didn’t know the tune or the language! Ah well, I had a go! The sermon was all in Samoan, but at the end the reverend noted our presence and gave a short synopsis. We were greeted by many of the congregation on the way out, who were delighted to learn that we were English as John Williams’ bones (the first English missionary to introduce Christianity to Samoa) were buried at the entrance to their church.

We ventured into town on Monday afternoon and found the most fabulous fabric for sarongs. I also plan to have a few skirts made – it costs about 5 pounds!Bargain-tastic!
Today is Thursday – officially the end of the working (!) week! Dave, Gwen (our friend from Warwick med school out here on elective aswell) and I are all off to Virgin Cove again tomorrow and we’re staying over in one of the beach fales. Some serious tanning is going down this weekend. We’ve already planned our itinerary – it involves alternating half hour intervals of front, back, swim and suncream reapplication with an hour or so thrown in for food and toilet stops. Lovely jubley!
The rest of the week we’ve just vegged out round the pool and deck, although there have been some amazing thunder stormas and torrential rain – amazing! Worryingly, I have started to drink beer. It is called Vailima and is brewed locally and is extremely scrumptious. Soes – you would love it – Dave’s trying to work out how we could smuggle a case back to the UK – I’ll keep you posted!

Hope you are all well and happy! Some personal messages:

Mum and dad: Hello my lovelies!Am missing you very much! Hope you’re managing to keep yourself busy – sounds like Lise is helping out on that front!I can’t believe you’ve taken Minky with you!She’s too fat to fit into crevices anymore – wherever will she hide?!? Mum, how’s things on the palpitation front? Ive been worried about you but forgot to ask last time we spoke. Dad! Can’t believe you’ve got a Wii – QUALITY. I forbid you to get too good at the bowling/golf before I get back so that there will be a fair contest! Needless to say, Im sure Soes will be round for a visit soon enough!Also, we star gazed the other night and Orions’ on his back!Amazing! Love you both loads xxx

Lise: thanks for email babes. It made me smile! Glad the party went well. Am thinking about you lots and can’t seem to get the Santana ‘Maria, Maria’ song out of my head, which remonds me of you even more!Can’t wait to see you soon. Will reply to email properly asap! Send my love to Jon and the girls! Love you loads xxx

Mike: can I just say that you once again managed to make me gaffaaww out loud in the internet cafe with your email! Very embarassing! The zipper comment is now local legend! I hope you appreciated the vagueness of my descriptions of ‘amazing sites’. I know how much you hate to hear about huge festering boils and gangrenous feet, and the like, so I thought I’d save you the images! Big love to you, Jan, Sarah, James, Jamie and Edward. Love you loads xxx

Loads and loads of love to you all as always xxxxxxx

March 11, 2007

I am now a sunburnt beast!!!

Talofa my lovelies!
Well, since I last wrote, I have the most amazing sunburn…I’ve done the Brits proud! We went kayaking on Friday (took the day off hospital…!) around a little slice of paradise called Virgin Cove. Imagine, if you will, the most idyllic tropical, white sanded, palm fringed beach and then triple it and your’e not even close to how beautiful it was ( for pictures follow the link and go to the ‘beach and nature’ page). We had a guide, a guy called Morton from Denmark. We kayaked right along the cove (a good 3/4 of a mile) and then into the mangroves – a maze of fresh water ways bedecked with trees that dipped their braches on either side. Having never kayaked before, I had slight problems steering around the narrower parts and managed to crash into every available bush/rock/branch that was remotely sticking out from the banks. Special needs! I was mocked considerably! When we got back to the Virgin Cove resort we ate lunch and then crashed out on the beach for a while and had a dip in the sea – seriously, Ive had colder baths at home – it was lush! The weather had started out quite cloudy, but despite my factor 40, I was slightly frazzled on my right hand side – very attractive as you can imagine. I think we all underestimated the strength of the equitorial sun! Today is Sunday and Im still in significant pain…don’t worry mum, its not THAT bad!

Wednesday night was one of the funniest of my life so far. A group of us went to Aggie Grays resort to see the traditional Fia Fia dance that is held every week for tourists. It was breathtaking! There was a 10 strong music section consisting of classical guitars and traditional drums, another 10 or so male dancers and the same number of females. They were all dressed in traditional costume and the ladies had fantastic headresses, grass skirts and actual bras made of coconut shells – comedy value!!! The music was wonderful; they all sang in full harmony to alternate male and female led dances. The female dances were very gentle and soothing with strong hawaian influences, whereas the males performed mostly dances of war – the rhythms were edgy, strong and loud and the dancing was like the haka but better – it was absolutely stunning! Within the row of women, there was very obviously a shim (lady man) who was dressed just as the other women, but not blending terribly well. I was told by one of our friends, which was later backed up by the lonely planet guide, that the shim was infact a fia fia fina (not quite the correct phrase, I’ll change it later). This is basically a guy who is bought up as a girl. It is tradition in Samoa, that if you have 4 sons and your 5th child is also male, that 5th child will be raised as a female so that there is someone to cook, clean and act as a mother figure…RANDOM!!! HOWEVER, the real fun had not yet started. At the end of the main dances, they asked for 3 volunteers to come up on stage and compete in a Samoan dance-off. There weren’t too many willing volunteers so one of the women came down into the audience and dragged up 3 men…Dave being one of them. What followed was pant-wetting comedy genius! There was a lot of hip wiggling and tusch shaking on Daves behalf, but, alas, despite his best efforts he was first out of the competition. However, he was competing against a Tongan and a Kiwi, whose hips had obviously jiggled more regularly in the past! He did come away with the most beautiful garland as a consolation prize, so it was all good…I was so proud! Don’t worry, I have photograpic evidence and intend to use it for blackmail purposes in the future!

Yesterday (Saturday), a group of us hired a taxi to ‘The return to paradise’ beach, which was apparently made famous by some Garry Cooper film…we were less than impressed (SNOBS!). It just wasnt up to standard; the sea was too choppy, the sand wasn’t white enought, there were’nt enough palm trees… I could go on! We realised that we had SOOO been spoiled by Virgin Cove and demanded that the taxi driver take us back to the real paradise immediately! We spent the whole day just Lolling on the beach and in the sea – it was heavenly!

When I write next, I promise that it will include more about hospital…i.e. the reason why I’m supposedly here!
Love you all tons and am missing you. Loads and loads of love xxxxxx

March 08, 2007

Samoa…I am a sweaty beast!!!

We finally arrived on Monday night, which was actually Tuesday, but could have been Wednesday for all I knew. The journey itself was like some sort of outer body experience which involved us experiencing night time way too often. People seemed to get friendlier the further we got from England…the check in guy at Auckland got us bulk head seats and recommended places to visit in the South Island.
I stepped off the plane in Samoa and was convinced I’d die of suffocation at any minute – the heat and humidity were horrendous, and I’m not even joking when I say that my hair instantly transformed into one big fuzzy fluff ball that slightly resembled Wendolene from Wallace and Gromit! Ever since then, I’ve not stopped sweating and am currently showering up to 4 times per day. It was 26 degrees C when we touched down at 11.30 pm, so it must be nearing 35 during the day with a big heap of humidity thrown in, just in case we werent uncomfortable enough already!
Samoa is beautiful. Everywhere is so colourful and tropical and lush. The people are lovely – very friendly and layed back, and wear the most amazing clothes. I’m trying to convinve Dave to invest in a lava lava which is a unisex traditional sarong. All the men wear them, but I’d pay good money to see Dave in one. If I manage it I’ll take plenty of photos and mock him considerably!!!
The outrigger hotel is great – clean and comfortable and housing no less than 7 other medical students, all of them girls, much to Daves delight!
I am feeling decidedly ropey due to the intensity of the heat and the jet lag. I’ve been wandering around slightly detatched from reality like a proper space cadet, and constantly feel giddy. Dave is the same, but we’ve been reassured that this is the wonderful world of jet lag.
We ventured into hospital for the first time this morning (wednesday), following a torrential downpour. The hospital is basic but covers all of the main specialities. Dave and I opted to do obstetrics and gynaecology first (babies and womens nads), bearing in mind that we are yet to do this rotation and thought it may stand us in good stead for when we get back to Warwick. Needless to say, we have a combined knowledge of O&G that would fit happily on the back of a postage stamp. So we pitched up to the ward round this morning and were humiliated within the first 5 minutes. When I didn’t know what a ‘foley catheter induction (!)’ was, I was asked what year I was in…I havent felt so small in a long time, and my pathetic retort of ’ I’m sorry, I’ve never done O&G before’ didn’t really help matters. Ah well, shit happens. Apart from that little encounter, everyone seems very friendly and Ive heard on the grapevine that there is the potential to deliver some babies…very exciting!
The Samoan way of life is extremely relaxed; for example, we get to hospital at about 9 am and we leave at approximately 12pm, so that we’re not late for sunbathing round the pool. It’s a hard life and I fear I may not survive another 5 weeks of this.
On the other hand, I was munched to within an inch of my life by every goddam mosqitoe on the goddam island last night…slight exaggeration – I have 12 bites so far, and Dave has 1…git!
I am missing you all very much and promise to write again soon. Lots and lots of love xxxx

March 2007

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