Most people who read this blog are people that have jobs. They arrive at work, turn on their computers, get coffee and say goodmorning to their colleagues. At some point they may check my blog, just to know where I am and what I am doing. And that’s the problem: I am still here and I am not doing anything.
But it is what it is. Anyway, since the doctors cautioned me to rest, I have a lot of time on my hands. After a short spell of less cheerful atmospheric conditions, the weather has improved again, and now I find myself spending much time on the rooftop terrace where my favourite pastimes are reading and, to a lesser degree, writing. I do this sitting in the sun, with my feet up on some cushions, while sipping coffee or some other stimulating drink.
I know, life can be hard.
In the small book exchange of the hostel, I was lucky to find works of two Nobel laureates, and so I am presently reading Daniel Kahnemans Thinking, Fast and Slow and Cien años de Soledad, written by Gabriel García Márquez.
The first book is very interesting and tries to explain common flaws in human judgement and I hope it will help me improve my decision making, which I think is practical in my pursuit of happiness. The Spanish novel is surprisingly slow going, as I have to look up a lot of Spanish words. According to Wikipedia, it is translated into 37 languages, but that is not helping much.
For reasons of economy I cook my own meals and these days, electric induction cooktops are de rigueur in modern hostels. Every hosteI I have been in so far, seemed to have purchased a unique system which means that every time you want to cook a meal in a particular hostel, you somehow first have to decode the controls. That is because, naturally, each model has its own set of touch controls that has to be operated in its own incomprehensible way just to get the ingredients of your food appreciably warmer than they were before. The designers of these appliances obviously had the control room of some alien spaceship in mind.
In the evening I spend most of my time in the common area where more often than not a television is blaring away. Televisions are easier to operate than induction plates and only slightly more entertaining . One thing I’ve found out is that’s easier to read a book if the language spoken on the television is Portuguese. I think it is because my brain just decides it’s random noise. If it’s English I get distracted.
Of the several medications that were prescribed to me, I found Diclofenac the most useful. It seems to work very effectively and, in an attempt to learn more, I discovered an interesting story about this drug. Diclofenac was, as it turned out, the cause of the infamous Indian Vulture Crisis, a crisis widely ignored in the West because people had other things to worry about than Indian vultures.
Diclofenac was introduced in India for verterinarian use in the 1990s. Because Hindus don’t eat beef, they traditionally leave the dead bodies of their cows to be eaten by vultures. The Diclofenac in the carrion proved highly toxic to Indian vultures and about 99% of these birds died, and thus creating an environmental disaster. Their ecological niche was taken by feral dogs which resulted in a marked increase of rabiës on the subcontinent. Another result was the sharp rise of the leopard population in the country, because these big cats prey on dogs. And so, eventually, a lesser known, but undesirable side effect of Diclofenac was an increase in leopard attacks on children.
Even more remarkable was the effect on the Zoroastrian community in India, who traditionally leave their dead to be eaten by vultures. Understandably, they aren’t particularly keen on letting their loved ones being eaten by dogs instead… Apparently, they are now considering breeding vultures in capitivity for funerary applications. Needless to say, special care has to been taken with recently deceased patients who suffered from osteoarthritis or any other condition that is treated with Diclofenac…