Sunday, February 18, 2007

Some very overdue photos!

Here are some very overdue photos - these are photos from my brother and cousin's joint wedding receptions. I wasn't sure if I was going to put them up...but then I thought, "why the hell not!"

Here they are:
My brother, Mum, Dad & Me. In the past little while, there haven't been many opportunities that the 4 of us get together. When we do, it's picture-taking galore!

H & J! Cho chweet, vat a good looking couple.

This is Vinay and Bhavisha, my two cousins that are in Calgary. Vinay is in grade 9 and is constantly being faced with questions about what he is going to be doing with his life (apart from basketball that is). Bhavisha is finishing up Grade 12 and is hoping to become more sane than she usually is. She is hoping to become a doctor as well (what's with these smart people in the family?!). Can't wait to see you two at the end of the year!

These are Vinay and Bhavisha's parents. Vijaykaka (kaka meaning paternal uncle in Gujarati) stumbled across my blog and was wondering why there are no photos of him on it. Being someone that tries to cater most of the world, I thought that I'd put his photo up. :) Ashakaki (kaki meaning paternal uncle's wife) is like a 2nd mother to me. Always filled with encouraging and kind words, never letting you think that something is impossible, not to mention, her cooking is KICK ASS!

This is Kunjan and her husband Stewart. They both live in the UK as most of my cousins on my dad's side.

This is Minesh and Jigna. They are the kids of my dad's only sister. Minesh is working his way up (very quickly might I add) in real estate. Jigna is a resident surgeon and yes, she is single - but guys beware she wears the trousers in any relationship. She needs more of a 'wife' than a 'husband', someone to come home to, who will have dinner ready and clean and get the kids ready for things.

Here are Dipal and Kajal. Dipal is finishing up uni in Leicester and Kajal is a pharmacist at a major suburban hospital in Birmingham. Dipal, Kajal, Minesh, Jigna, and I spent the last few days in Sweden together. It was such a blast to hang out with my cousins. There is nothing like being a part of a big family. I am so greatful for having these wondeful people in my life. SHOUT TO Y'ALL!

This my dad's younger brother (Bharatkaka) and his wife. He used to live in Calgary but then moved to the UK after he got married. Chirag (the bloke on the left) is about to finish Sixth Form and Viraj is still in school.

This is Brij, his wife (Preetibhabhi) and Ron. These are my cousins that are also in the UK. Brij and Preetibhabhi got married in 2004 in India (I went to go to their wedding when I was living in Kenya). My heart is with these three for the time being. It was their dad (my dad's younger brother) that passed away at the end of the last year. I'm thinking of you all (hugs).

Now, for those cousins that haven't been included here, please don't think that I care for you less. I just didn't have good photos of you (and I'm all about making you all look good). :)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Photos, photos and more photos!

Okay, as promised here are some photos from the past few months. There were many more that I wanted to put up but I didn't want to drown you in them.

When I went to Calgary, my brother and one of my cousins (who is now living in Toronto) was visiting. It's always nice to see siblings again, always. The other two my left are Bhavisha and Vinay. I still can't believe that Bhavisha will be staring uni in September! Also, before leaving Calgary, I was able to see Vinay at his basketball game. I was amazed! He definitely has talent - then again, he is a Thankey afterall. :)

Here are some photos from South East Asia - starting with Laos:

This was our first day in Vientiane and we were sitting beside the Mighty Mekong drinking, what is probably the best beer I've had, Beerlao. For one bottle (the large one) was about $0.80 USD, not bad for when you need some beer.

This is the most treasured national monument in Laos - it contains a relic of Buddha (a portion of his clavicle)

This is me in Luang Prabang - the old capital of Laos. I'm on the highest point of the city, which also has a beautiful park devoted to Buddha's life and teachings. The river on the left is the Mighty Mekong and the smaller river on the right is the Nam Kang.

This was definitely one of the coolest Buddha statues that I saw. It was tucked away behind one of the temple and monestary complexes near the guesthouse that we were staying at.

This was the temple that belonged to the Royal Family whilst Luang Prabang was the capital of Laos. The entire city of LP is considered a World Heritage City, which means that there are massive efforts to preserve the existing structures and to prevent any development that would be out of sync with the rest of the city's ambiance.


Yes, this is a statue of Lenin in Hanoi. How the Vietnamese loved him. :)

This is the 2nd man that is most likely loved even more than Lenin - Ho Chi Minh. This was his 'final' place of rest. Even though, HCM wanted to be cremated. Alas, we were unable to see him because he was in Russia at the time. Every September - November, HCM goes to Moscow to get fixed up, as the embalming experts are there. HAHAHA.

Still in Hanoi, here's a photo of Claire with Bia Ha Noi. :) Not as good as Beerlao but still on the up and up.

This was a photo taken at the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology (yes, that's the word). It's one of the houses of the ethic tribes within Vietnam.

This photo was taken on a restaurant boat in Hue en route to Hoi An. Once again, Claire testing the local beer. This time it's Bia BIVINA.

This is a photo of Claire, Diem, Annabelle, and Nabila in Hoi An. Diem is a very good friend of Lou's (and now ours!). She owns a cloth shop (amongst many others). Her family treated us like family - we enjoyed many meals, coffees, beers and conversations. Diem also made some clothes for us, which turned out to be absolutely fantastic!

Here's a photo of all of us. This was on our last night before we were heading south to Sai Gon by way of Nha Trang. She really did leave us with an indelible impression of Vietnam. If any of you are going, then get in touch with me. I can give you her contact details - she would love to meet you! (she's don't get any ideas)

Here's me in the famous "SAME SAME...BUT DIFFERENT" shirt. This was taken along waterfront in Hoi An. Typhoon LingLing (an offshoot of Typhoon Durian) was hitting the coast of Vietnam. At night, the blocks off the waterfront were completely flooded!


This is one of the main monuments at one of the Killing Fields just outside of Phnom Penh. It was such a somber experience. This temple houses over 8,000 skulls that were found in the immediate area. The majority of the surrounding area has yet to be excavated - you can only imagine how many more skeletal remains are present.

In Phnom Penh, we managed to meet up with Dave and Suz. We headed down to the Foreign Correspondence Club and enjoy very well made (and cheap) cocktails and drinks. We also were able to afford some nice Cubans!

This was taken outside the National Museum in PP. For those of you that can tell, it's Ganesh. Cambodia was ruled under a Hindu King from the 10th to 15th Century. Many of the folklore and mythology are borrowed from the Hindu pantheon. Even today, marriages, funerals, and births are done according to hindu customs.

Here's Annabelle and I sharing a moment at Elsewhere. This place had to have been the best bar/lounge I've been to in a very long time (including those in Australia). Such a chilled and relax environment, not to mention great drinks and fantastic company!

One cannot visit Cambodia and not see Angkor Wat. This photo was taken at sunset - but it just doesn't do it any justice. I've taken hundreds of photos of the different temples and ruins but I won't bore you with them all.

For those of you that are interested in real sets, then you will recognise this one. This is the tree that was filmed in Lara Craft: Tomb Raider. It was the scene where Angelina picks a jasmine flower, puts in her hair and then jumps into the hole.

T'was such a magical place...

This is considered to be the jewel of the crown for the Angkor complex. It was quite far away from the rest of the temple structures. Researchers and archeologists believe that this temple was carved by women, because of the intense level of detail and intricate work. This is also the only temple in the complex that is devoted to Shiva.

Here's a photo of me, Suz, Claire, Nabila, Annabelle, and Dave. It really was an awesome trip and I was so glad to have shared it with these people - some of my favourite people in the world. (Yeah, even you...)

Nabila, Claire and I thought that we would have a night on the town (Siem Reap) and we sure did! Here we are drinking out of a Mekong Bucket. What's in this thing? Half a bottle of Mekong Whisky, Vodka, Coke and Red Bull. Yeah...


This is a photo of the beach bungalow we stayed at whilst on the Thai island of Koh Chang.

Here am I, relaxing in the sun with a Cuba Libre whilst overlooking the was a fantastic day, not to mention, a fantastic trip. :)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Welcome to Brunei

I found out yesterday that I got accepted to my Surgery rotation in Brunei! The University of Queensland has a clinical school out in Brunei, whereby a small number of selected students can do complete core rotations there. The rotations that can be carried out are: General Practice, Surgery, Medicine, Paediatrics, and Obstetrics & Gynaecology (the latter two can be done in 4th year).

This year my Surgery rotation will be from October 1st - November 23rd. Because of Ramadan, I will be going to Brunei two weeks after the onset of the rotation. The selected students that are going were told that during Ramadan there would be very limited exposure and things for us to do. So, the School of Medicine and the RIPAS (one of the two major hospitals in Brunei) have agreed for us to do the first two weeks in Brisbane and the last 6 in Brunei.

In years prior, students didn't always know the others that went. However, this year, some of my closest friends are going to Brunei with me! Pat, Lou, and Anna (three superstar girls from my study group last year) and two blokes - Matt and Cohen will be going as well! There are a few others that are going that I don't know but this will be an awesome time to get to know them.

There are plans in place to do some travelling after the rotation is finished. Knowing full well that I doubt that I would be in the region again, I would love to see the rest of Borneo, and maybe perhaps take a trip to Myanmar. I know that some people (you know who you are) are also interested. I reckon that for the time being it is too early to tell what the plans will be; here's to hoping for some interesting ones.

Apart from Brunei, things in Brisbane have been going well. The Mental Health rotation has been pretty cruisy in terms of the number of hours we are present on the wards (as compared to the hectic hours of those on Surgery and Medicine rotations). However, the stories and voices that I've heard from the patients have been bizarre and incredible. In fact, I've even had a little cry after a couple of patients - to hear such sorrow and abuse was mind blowing.

I can't believe that almost the 3rd week (out of 8) has almost passed. Only 5 more weeks till our exams. I can recall from last year that 5 weeks prior to the exam, I was already into the books like a fat kid on kit kat.