Secola secola

Trip Start Jul 24, 2008
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Trip End Ongoing


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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hullo all,
Well as usual the internet is down and all of Bali is apparently thrust savagely back into the dark ages of communicating via traditional handwritten notes faxed down phone-lines... How charmingly rustic, for about 30 seconds then it is simply distressing - especially when you have just paid the equivalent of a weeks wages for a bloody sandwich before the thing went down, (of course that's a Balinese's wages not mine, but that is clearly besides the point!). Anyway while the diner attempts to bring 'Bali' back online by phoning someone and shouting in a mildly irate tone, I figured I could just write to you offline - Why the hell I haven't twigged this before god alone knows!
 
So I have some school news which sounds dull but was horrifically embarrassing - translation, amusing for you. I ordered a cow's heart for Dissecting and pumping water through from Mr. Aris, V. excited as this is technically banned in the UK and so haven't done it yet. Spent a life age ordering and sorting it out - then waiting for the bloody fridge freezer to turn up... Then it was here! Yay for animal offal! I tripped across to the school canteen who were storing the heart for me, (In the lettuce and carrot fridge section in a pool of blood but lets not mention that to the veggies at school eh? I am sure they rinsed them thoroughly afterwards, Oops!) Had a gander and it was a bit of a funny shape but didn't have time to look properly and was filled with a lovely endorphin rush anyway so floated back to my class and sharpened my scalpel and readied the dissecting board, (pink, plastic, chopping board!).
 
Later that day my year 8 class troop in and gather excitedly at the back of the class - I run through the obligatory what is this and that, the white is blood vessel, the yellow fat, etc... A sense of unease starts to spread over me however as I examine the organ in it's fully unfolded glory. I begin to hack open the bloody tissue transversely to show them a gorgeous ventricle and atrium... Eagerly I peel back the top layer... The tension is palpable, the students lean forward and hold their breath, even the obligatory veggie girls at the back, who are mortified raise onto tip toes to witness the full horror. The tissue is strangely uniform in both texture and colour, no cavities appear and the full knowledge of my situation washes over me - Oh My God! This is a liver! Shit! What the hell do I do now!!! I knew the shape had been familiar but now instead of an intricate heart dissection, I have a very badly minced section of liver! Calmly I look up at the students and begin to manufacture a description of a heart while frantically hacking shapes into the liver while they are not looking!! Jesus, I am going to have to get some lambs hearts for them to hack up now or they will be seriously confused by later lessons!!
 
At a later point that day having stormed down to Mr. Aris and demanded to know what was going on I discover a fascinating additional point about Bahasa Indonesia - The word 'Hati' It means liver and also means heart... How do they tell them apart, I hear you ask? Well We use the word 'Jantung' for a heart... Which begs the buggering question, why use 'Hati'?!? But far be it for me to question another culture, I have learnt my lesson and can inform you of the names of many body parts now, as well as animal names in Bahasa Indonesia. Yay for enforced language learning, really ensures it sticks in the head, you know? (Sakar are testes... have ordered 20!!).
 
I also went on a trip to Denpasar to shop for lab equipment. Oh My God - talk about candy shop!! They had everything, absolutely everything you could possibly want! I mean from hospital level, analytical equipment down to secondary school from the 60's... It was so amazing I lost all control and resembled Charlie from that old, surreal, version of Willy Wonka, running around and insisting on unpacking and sampling every item in the shop. Not sure the obese lady with china/chalk white face and Indonesian coloured neck, (very attractive look over here judging by it's popularity, needless to say she did not float my boat) Understood but she was highly amused by me and kept bringing drinks out for me to keep me hydrated. I would mention a scientific word, she would pause and then say, 'Ah, yes... yes...' jowls wobbling, sage like, reach into yet another hidden nook and draw out exactly the right stuff. She could not speak another word of conversational English but knew; 'autoclave', 'condensor' and 'volumetric' instantly. The shop was due to shut at 4.00pm. by the time I left at 6, (her amusement levels had dwindled a tad by this point) I wasn't sure I would be able to raise the several thousand million Rp I would need but was determined to try.
 
Last bit of school related news - My art class took an unorthodox turn yesterday when the clay came back from the kiln in pieces, well rubble would be more accurate. One look was enough to make me realise that perhaps we had gone a little too authentic with the Ancient Greek pottery theme... The poor kids were crest fallen but have valiantly carried on, painting their bits of ruined tat as it continues to disintegrate under their fingers. Honestly useless buggers! All I asked them to do is make some pots... You'd swear it was genetic isolation of Drosophila, not something recent findings suggest Neanderthal man was capable of! Losers! To make it worse had tagged on some year 7 self portraits... They were even worse - some had completely vanished - powdery residue was all that remained. They have again tried to recover today, I am not convinced their marks will though... so sad.
 
Anyway, most of my equipment should arrive besoc! Yay for Indonesian inconsistency! They make you wait for two hours for a cup of tea, seven weeks for a fridge freezer from the local supermarket, but just forty eight hours for a set of microscopes, some complex glassware, labcoats etc... etc...! Just hope it is Besoc, (tomorrow) and not Besoc-Besoc, (literally tomorrow-tomorrow, but with a more actual translation of 'any time in the next couple of years' This translation is not a joke! Some books are still being waited for from Jakarta... they were ordered in 2006 and were due to arrive Besoc-besoc...).
 
Anyway see you Besoc-besoc,
Love to those of you that I love,
Fake kisses and hugs for those of you I can't stand,
Ixxx
 
 
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