Spanish hippies, running and the heat!


I don’t understand the weather in this town. I don’t understand how it can be hot and humid, and be windy all at the same time!! The heat during the day has been downright oppressive since about the end of last December. The other day at work I suggested jokingly to one of the senior doctors in my department that myself and some the other doctors were seriously considering coming to work in shorts, T-shirt and slops (my favourite attire), “I’ll let you answer that question for yourself doc!” he said wrily! That really would be much more appropriate work wear for the kind of weather we’ve been having. The humidity is the most surprising bit. It hits you just as you step outside. It is quite something to get hot and sticky from just from standing around!


Asides from the sauna type environment, other goings-on at work include the fact that at the start of the new year we received a fresh new batch of doctors in the department of internal medicine at Dora Nginza hospital and we are now flush in terms of numbers. We now have eight medical officers, having previously functioned with five. Coincidentally two of the three new doctors are from Wits Medical School, my alma mater 🙂 Dale and I are from the same year, while Alexandra is from a year below us. She and the third new doctor are both starting their community service year, having just finished their two years of internship. That was me in the month of May last year.

I didn’t really know either of these other 2 Witsies when we were still studying. I knew Dale by name and face. He must have gone all gym rat after qualifying as he is a lot bulkier than I remember him. Alex is (in her own words :-P) somewhat ‘baked’, in the head that is! She is a hippie, in the old truer sense of the word. She talks at length about having grown her hair to the current almost waist length for the sole purpose of selling some of it off to some transvestites she met at some or other time. She spent some time in South America when she was still at school and is fluent in Spanish. Not infrequently she and one of our Cuban doctors will go off at a tangent in Spanish about some arb thing that seems all the more interesting simply because it is being said in that language.

The most mundane things just sound more interesting, more exotic, in Spanish!

The most mundane things just sound more interesting, more exotic, in Spanish!

Dale and Alex both seem keen and ready to go and are obviously very interested in internal medicine. There is a lot of talk about writing the Part 1 registrar exams. While I do like to (or can’t help but) work at my own pace(ie painfully slowly) I am hoping that having a couple of people around to compare notes with might act as a motivating factor, increasing the frequency at which I plomp my backside down to study from on and off to more often on than off.

One of the advantages of having more of us around is that everyone will be on call less often, with roughly three or four times per month being the average if everyone is around (last year it happened a couple of times that I was on seven times in a month!) and with the 5 interns that we have the ward work will be more favourably shared. There ought to be less days when one finds themselves having to see and manage all the patients in a ward…

Outside of work there is always running, although with weather being as it has been one has to be quite strategic about what time of day you set out onto the road.

Not smart!

Not smart!

Sometime last week I waited until just before 6pm before having a go and believe it or not even at the time it was still hot! I ran up into Milpark suburb, around Grey High school all the way up to 1st avenue, crossed Cape Road into Newton Park then back down through Greenacres where I was running against the wind, which is irritating as it seems to hold you back but also relieving for it’s cooling effects. Back into PE Central, around the soccer stadium, around St Georges Park and up the Hallack road back to my block of flats. 16.3km all at a relaxed pace.


Robyn is one of the dieticians at my hospital. She asked me if I was running the Herald 42km, a marathon here in PE coming up sometime soon. “When is that again?” I asked. “Seventh Feb” She replied. I told her that I would. At the time the race was about one month away. Robyn recently got into running and has very quickly gone from an ocassional runner to somewhat of a freak (in the best sense of the word). She puts in more miles per week than I do as far as I can tell. So she’s pretty excited about it. As far as I’m concerned it’s just another opportunity to put in some quality mileage and become a little better at the long races before I do some pretty big ones that I have signed myself up for later this year.

A day after that conversation with Robyn someone at my running club reminded me that the Bay Ultra, a 50km road race is due to take place just two weeks after the Herald Marathon. Yeah, why not? I thought…




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