Jan 29, 2007

The Death of the 'I got beef' Dance

Otherwise known as "Glurgh".

I think I'll be going the route of partial veggie for a while... chicken will seep in soon, I suspect, partially because I have chicken occupying my freezer that I don't want to waste, but I think I'll be giving red meat a pass for a while.

You would think that a veggie lifestyle would be difficult to maintain in such an environment, but I'm finding obtaining meat to actually be *more* of a pain in the butt, with the exception of fish, meaning I'll be getting *very* healthy. And with the sheer numbers of vegetarians and fishavores around here, I'm ending up collecting cooking tips, so that all works well.

My roommate is a tolerant fishavore, which meant as I grilled up my rarish hamburger last night, she didn't complain about the beef smell filling the dorm and I dived in with the enthusiasm of a red meat addict who has had beef once in the last month.

Mis-take! Imagine my surprise when I was awakened in the middle of the night by Carib's revenge among other things. And I didn't even drink any Jager. It was not a nice night, nor a nice morning, nor a nice decision to miss one of my suggested-mandatory histo labs this morning because attending lab would have meant being more than 20 feet away from the bathroom, a proposition my body found unacceptable.

I have a question for all of you out there though, whether you've been struck by Grenadian food poisoning, Jager-fever, or the plain old flu: what IS it that is so appealing about bathroom floors? The dorms are not *that* big; I was 20 feet away from my nice soft bed, yet nothing felt as soothing as lying down on the tile with my cheek against it, while moaning. This is the other reason it's also good to get sick in your own pad. Nothing says "hitting bottom" like putting your face against the floor of a public restroom. Fortunately, this isn't one of those dorms where an entire floor shares a bathroom.

Fortunately, my roommate is awesome, text messaged my lab partner in histo that I would not, in fact, be presenting on the loose connective tissue in the ileum with her, turned on the air conditioning without being asked despite the fact that she gets cold easily, didn't say "I told you red meat was bad for you, idiot", offered to get me water, asked if I needed anything and then left quietly for her class after putting my newly acquired Digicell phone next to my bed in case I needed to call her.

Considering the number of times she's also cooked for me, I'm going to end up leaving this term owing her a kidney.

But I'm all better now! And was better enough to go to my histo and biochem lectures in time to fall in completely platonic love with our new biochem instructor who speaks slowly, punctuates her lectures with nice pictures of the island to give us a mental break and uses analogies to describe enzyme catalyzation. Where have you been my whole life, awesome biochem instructor?

But diving!! I went diving yesterday!!!!!!!

My gear now occupies a section of "Dive Grenada", a really nice shop on Grand Anse Beach near the Flamboyant Hotel. They're storing it for me so long as I dive semi-regularly. Darn, there's a commitment I'll have trouble keeping. I went with them because at orientation they seemed the nicest, and I value nice. The dive shops here don't seem to sell much (though they rent all gear) because they have to pay import fees. I did discover that Phil, at DG, is another taxonomy buff so he lent me his Fish ID book to page through for an hour while I was getting some of my gear together and being chatty.

Okay, so for some of you Caribbean divers, I'm going to be unnecessarily exuberant because this is the *second* time I've ever dived warm water, so I'm not sure how Grenada holds up against the rest of the Caribbean or in other warm water parts of the world. I've dived in the Philippines and California. That's it.

Dive Grenada has a little boat; all the dive sites are close by, though they say Carriacou is worth diving, so they offered to refer me to some dive shops over there. They come back between dives, which is really nice because it means I can do *either* a morning or afternoon dive (or both) without feeling like I have to do both if I have major studying to do. It also means on lab-free days, I can grab a dive before class! How cool is that?!

Dive #1 was Windmill Shallows. I'm afraid I don't have pictures for these dives because I like to orient to a new place before I look at it through a viewfinder. It's a pretty reef featuring some massive irridescent blue sponges and, since I'm not great on my fish id yet, I'll just say a buttload of fish. I recognized that many were varieties of squirrelfish, as well as seeing a bunch of princess parrotfish and juvenile stage spotlight parrotfish. Two spotted morays on the dive, and a big stingray that the divemaster pointed out toward the end. The safety stop was in a field of comb jellies! Whoa! Never seen those outside Monterey Bay Aquarium. There are also huge schools of creole bass.

Dive #2 was the wreck of the Veronica L. She's a fairly shallow wreck of a coastal freighter that has a crane to play with and since the top is open, you can 'penetrate' the wreck in the sense of swimming around inside without being in an overhead environment. I saw a smallish barracuda chilling in the water column above it as well as a bunch of horseeye jacks, which I had previously seen at the fish market, thus brining a bunch of horseeye guilt. Sorry guys; you taste good.

About twenty minutes into the dive, those of us not taking pictures (for a change) grouped up with Mick and headed off into the reef, and were rewarded for the effort with tons more pretty coral/sponges and brightly colored fish, but also the resident 6' green moray! Holy hell! I didn't know you guys had them over here. Well done!

On the way back to study studiously (in the study), I was walking on Grand Anse Beach about a half mile to the bus stop (tough life, that) and ran into Jesse who prooffered a bottled Carib and a ham/faux cheese sandwich with some fellow students. Sidetracked! But I ended the day fighting with my increasingly noncompliant Dell, and studying histo slides until the... hamburger incident.


Saora1 said...

Sorry you got sick. You sure it was the meat though? I wouldn't give up on it just yet however, although I don't blame you for wanting to do that at the moment. Try eating lots of yogurt with active cultures. If you're into that anyway. Will make it hard for any new critters to "set up shop".

Oh, and what's wrong with your computer? My pocket protector gene kicked into expression overdrive at the mention of a problem.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, wait until you see her questions. She might not be your favourite anymore!

Mom said...

I'm going to ship you your dog and let you two fight for the bathroom!!

Carsten said...

Sorry to hear you got sick... I had the same experience about once a term... Something to look forward to :-)

As far as the diving, it's not bad, but definitely not the best in the Caribbean. Other than elderly English people that somehow feel beholden to visit Grenada as it was a former colony, it really doesn't get many visitors coming specifically for the diving. If you can, I would recommend a trip to either Tobago or Dominica. The reefs were just so healthy and colorful in Tobago it was amazing. Just be sure to go during Hammerhead season. :-) And don't let someone else plan the trip - I went with a couple of friends and spent close to $1,000 (US) on a weekend trip. (For some reason, the person that was planning the trip had never stayed in a Hilton, and really wanted to.) It definitely can be done cheaper, and is definitely worth it.

Ishie said...

Ruh roh; hard hard biochem questions? Ah well... I think I may have more trouble with the "easy" ones.

Saora: I'm pretty sure it was the meat because I went lengths to make myself sick. Not only had I defrosted it, but cooked hamburger fairly rare. This combo hadn't caught up with me in the States yet (though was bound to), but did here.

On the computer, it was doing a weird thing where it would stop connecting to the ethernet and refuse to connect unless I did a system restore, and then it would go downhill again. It seems to be solved now by my disabling the wireless connection when I'm not using it. *shrug* I think I pick up really low wireless signals in my room (not enough to connect) and it confuses it.

Carsten: Hoping to go to Tobago, and roomie is from there. But 1000 bucks! No Hilton for me!!! How about Carriacou?

Carsten said...

Didn't actually get to Carriacou, believe it or not. My parents went without me when they were there visiting - they seemed to like it slightly better than Grenada, but it wasn't all that much different. The farthest north I've gotten is Isle de Rhonde which was cool because it was something different. (You'll soon find out that there is one major reef that all the shops dive in the south, and they just change dive site names every 20 feet to make it appear like it is different. If you get a chance, some stuff about halfway up like "The Cove" and "Carpile" (yes it really is an underwater junkyard) are pretty cool.

Ishie said...

Fortunately, I am notoriously easy to impress, but you've dived all sorts of insanely cool places!

I did notice the changing names of the reef, but what's weird is the critter density seems to change based on where we are in the reef.