Saturday, November 29, 2008

Harry Potter and the Innoculum of secrets

" Not today..not today", pleaded Harry silently...Too late..he saw a brown owl come swooping in..."Maybe if I can hurry upstairs..""Come here boy",howled Uncle Vernon.."What is this...barely passed your qualifiers?",his face was an unbelievably bright shade of purple...."I am going to have to ground you for this.No visiting..You aren't going anywhere".So saying he boarded up the windows on Harry's room."Cluck", Hedwig expressed her annoyance also...tut-tut not doing well on Qualifiers..what is to become of this lad?
A few hours later...a car screeched to a halt..where else but outside Harry's window."Hurry think we have all night..?",laughed George.Trunk aboard,owl aboard they dragged Harry through the window..not soon enough though, he was granted one last luxury look at Uncle Vernon's purple face.....Ahhhh freedom ...
Back at the Burrow..and a few high pitched words they set to Diagon Alley.Being an old wizarding family...Ron's bunch travelled by 'Flu' powder.If not used properly it guaranteed its user a nasty cold..brrr..Harry stepped into the grate,somewhat shakily he muttered,"Diagonally?"...and he landed with a thud in the middle of the street...ears ringing,throat scratching and nose dripping....
Once the lot had caught up to him ( albeit no nose drips here) , they hurried into Flavi and Bacillli for books."Ahhh...who have we here...Harry Potter! Come to the front boy, lucky you, get a picture with me",beamed Geminiroy Lockhart swishing his aqua robes.Geminiroy,the author of 60 papers and three books,claimed that he was a Nobel consideree( for structure of Bacteriophage no less...although we all know who claims that one....that's for another day!)
The rest of the summer passed quickly enough...and after losing his millionth game of Wizard's chess ( Why do they do that???) they headed on their way to Hogwarts.
During their first class of Herbology and Microbes ,Prof.Fungus Sprout had them changing the media for Mandrakes.This was tricky business , Mandrakes liked their old,moldy media and shrieked when they were uprooted!In Transfiguration , Infectswitch McGonagall had them changing petri dishes to Wine goblets,Ron's wine goblet still had a plastic lid on top.When she saw them giggle, she offered furiously,"I don't know why none of you ( except you Hermione) take their classes seriously.You need to pick your prelim committee very soon, and I'll be surprised if any of you get through"..the bell rang....
One day as Harry was walking back to his common room ( Retroviridae) struggling with one book,three culture flasks and a reagent bottle, he heard a seemed to be coming from within the walls..."What is an example from Nidovirales ? " rasped....Shook up ( partly because he couldn't answer it) Harry raced after the source of the voice...HE charged down the corridor, stopping short of a pool of water and writing on the wall.."The Innoculum of secrets has been opened...enemies of the Virion beware.." But what does that mean..wondered Harry aloud."My flasks..they have been contaminated...There is something moldy floating in it.."shrieked Justin..."But it wasn't me ", stuttered Harry.Glucose Snape swept forward,his hooked nose and oily hair framing his ugly face."This is the work of a clever being...only a virus could pull this off...Surely Potter is not capable of it"...Phew thanks Snape breathed Harry silently!
Over the next few weeks...The voices from the walls grew clearer..."What is the purpose of your proposed study?How will you prove that this mutant is viable?Why not use a Togavirus?".......Harry couldn't explain it...why could no one else hear the voices?
During a particularly hard class of Transfiguration...McGonagall had them trying to switch mutants back to wild type..."Revertase" said Hermione..and with a flick of her wrist the bacterium vanished from the Amp+ plate,"It's not a good sign Harry..even in our world.Hearing voices is something only senile scientests suffer from"...
The attacks from the Innoculum only got worse..People's plates vanished, their medium would turn up cloudy,primers disappeared...the last straw was when a -20 went missing.."That's it ..we have to do something"...thought Harry,Ron and Hermione...
"So you only hear these voices at the end of the day..only you hear them..and they only ask you about your project proposal...."muttered Hermione..."I think Harry, that the voices you keep hearing are your prelim committee..and you're only hearing them because naturally, you aren't prepared.."Despite this grave warning from Hermione they decided to go ahead with finding and destroying the Innoculum.
Having had enough of Lockhart's continous boasting they cornered him into coming with them.They set off in search of the chamber where all the destruction was coming from ......BSL3!"Get us in Harry..", Harry placed him left forefinger on the fingerpad..and the door whirred open..Lockhart had had enough he grabbed Ron's wand and shouted " Obliviate"...sadly for him the wand was pointed the wrong way and the spell backfired...Memory totally erased..he looked around cheerily.."Odd sort of place..who lives here?,What is that pink fluid ?Why is that room dark?"...They nudged him on..and walked deeper into the facility.Who should they run into there but Harry's prelim committee.He had been warned by seniors,"Don't look into the eyes of your committee,They are pure poision...they only flee from all-correct answers!".Mockingly the students of Hogwarts referred to them as 'The Basilisk'...Harry mumbled something about being busy and raced into the room marked 'Infectious Agents'
There inside a hood he saw it...a shining flask of devious culture.He capped and gowned and did a quick plaque assay to ensure this was their target..." of clearance, I knew it"..I have to destroy it...he pointed his wand and yelled " Decontamiarmus"...the flask flew up into the air,spun around...and words issued from it, "Ahh dear boy ,you can't kill me that easily..I mutate to save will see me another form.." And the flask vanished.
Harry returned to his friends and one babbling Nobel consideree..He had defeated the Innoculum ..for now.
His prelim committee had watched the whole thing..from the sidelines.They nodded in agreement...and announced that they considered him passed.."Phew", said Harry, shaking his head..
Now his only other challenge was to return to Poxet Drive and explain to purple Uncle Vernon that he was back for the summer....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Aren't we at war?

I went to sleep last night...
Mind numbed by insane violence..And God knows for how many others?
Familiar streets turned to shooting battles....And God knows for how many others?
My favourite sidewalks condemned to rubble...And God knows for how many others?
Blood bathed the roads I once walked.....And God knows for how many others?

A family on a stretcher...bubbles of blood at the many unsaid words...
One man ebbs away.
A child stands over his dead parents...The world is suddenly so scary..A teddybear at his feet..
Speechless...dumbstruck..furious..all melt into wailing...wailing for the dead.

How can we allow this to happen time and time again? Doesn't it hurt to be such a vulnerable nation? To feel each bullet hit its mark...To know that nothing will be done.
Are the police dying in vain ? To save people, whom the authorities do nothing to protect?
Are we that scared to declare our common enemy? To rally around each other and hold hands?

Why can't the world end its willing blindness? Stand strong against cowards who maim...
If survival is our instinct...and freedom our right....freedom to live..

Then isn't this war? Isn't this a war on Humanity...?

Today I am saddened....And God knows how many others...
Our country is wounded...And God knows how many others...
Safety has no meaning for me today....And God knows for how many others...

I have lost someone I cared for.....And God knows,so have countless others....

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Harry Potter and the Virologist's Core

I was up late last night..So excited about the new developments in the world of Virology..Hogwarts ( of prior Witchcraft and Wizardry fame and prolonged NIH funding) has announced its foray into Virology,offering a Graduate Program in Virology...Here is the website...( click on the image for a larger view)

I think this is how a typical graduate degree at Hogwarts would play out..

Year One : Harry Potter and the Virologist's Core

"Hmmm civil engineering or mechanical ?",thought Harry Potter aloud one Sunday morning.He was going back and forth between the two.He was eleven and it time to decide a course for the future...of course a lot of his friends had lost interest in the future..but not he,he was a survivor!
"Hmm what's this..a letter addressed to me..Hogwarts School of Witchcraft...", he trailed off riping the envelope and greedily snatching up the letter..."Dear Mr.Potter" it began.."We are pleased to announce your admission to Hogwarts School of Microbiology for the Fall term of 2008.We received a large number of qualified applicants this year.However our genetic screening system picked you after a careful review of your parents accomplishments in the field.Drs Potter were posthumously awarded the "Viral Wand" , the highest honour our school confers.
Kindly respond to this letter by Owl no later than April 31st.Our mailing address is:
Hogwarts School Of Microbiology
Rhabdo Drive,

Giddy with excitement ,dulled only by a little shock,"I thought they bulit bridges..and died under a bridge collapse...",Harry dashed off a letter to Hogwarts.Smug with satisfaction..he busied himself with the requirement list.
Wand - 1
Gown/Robe -2
Gloves - 4 boxes
Chemical glasses - 2 pairs
Booties - 2 pairs
Introduction to Microbiology - Part I

July rolled in and Harry boarded the train to Hogwarts....Glasses fogged with excitement he began his long journey to Graduate School.

" Welcome to Hogwarts ", a booming voice greeted Harry and his class at the door..." You will now proceed to be sorted..."Expecting a challenging Microbiology question,Harry was petrified,A fellow classmate however remarked in a loud , bossy voice,"Of course I know all the spells and I spent a whole week on Virus classification!"
His class was sorted into 4 houses..Slytherin ( Salmonella was their common room),Hufflepuff(Blue green alga was theirs),Ravenclaw(Saccharomyces) and Gryffindor ( Retroviridae)....Harry found himself in Gryffindor...along with afore mentioned bossy voiced girl!

Monday morning dawned bright and early..and Harry struggled with his gown,almost tripping at the self sealing door to Microbiology class.

"Welcome to Microbiology 501 and 3/4 ", remarked their rather strange-looking professor.Staggering under the weight of his Gown, he had a large backpack on his back."This course will have several modules and I,Professor Antiviral , will teach , Defence against the Dark Arts.A ripple of excitement went through the class...and a pale faced Slytherin ( Malfoy) remarked ," I have been preparing for this class since I was seven".
"Our first class will be to learn how to track deadly Microbes.All slytherins will be the target Microbes and the other three will try to track them down.(" Not destroy ?" , asked Ron Weasely , another Gryffindor,hopefully.) " Remember tracking Microbes is serious business.Many good Wizards have been lost to them.Why only recently, Amelia Bones was admitted to St.Mungo's with a mysterious Immunity crippling Virus"..having said Professor Antiviral flagged off the class with a final,"Wands at the ready..." comment...

Harry found himself daydreaming during "Herbology and Microbes", a not-particularly interesting class taught by Professor Fungus Sprout..Seated at the next table,playing truant during class too were the infamous Slytherin gang.Malfoy,the gang head was saying rather pompously,"Of course father was the first to be informed.They think the mystery virus is trying to seek out Mudbloods in search of that special Reverse Mud-transcriptase.Then its DNA can integrate into that disgusting species and live on immortal...Father thinks ,and I agree, that I should help with the Virus-quest..and aid it in its Noble mission".Harry was alarmed..."How come I know nothing of this.Cool...a mystery Retrovirus..that's right up my alley!"He glanced around his table..who could he share this with?Ron perhaps..and maybe bushy-haired Know-it-all..After all .she did Know-it - all!!!

A few weeks into the semester after a particularly hard class of Microbial transfiguration.(Professor Infectswitch McGonagall had them learning spells to transfigure deadly bacteria into their own phages."None of that silly hand waving here,none of that woolly occult,this calls for sheer concentration",she remarked sternly), they were in for a surprise...a Guest lecturer! None other than the famous Microbiologist,Nicolas Flammel..."Good morning First years...",sounded his gravelly voice."I am here to tell you a bit more about the Magic of Cloning.Now,this is not like Undergrad , where I will give you all the answers.Grad school is designed to make you think.To think beyond the restraints of your spell books".Having said he looked around the class."Hmmm is that the Potter boy,how like his father he looks..I wonder if he has his prodigious talent too?"Nostalgia clouded his aging brain..and he remarked,"Ahh..back in the day we celebrated the advent of Ligase-free cloning.You youngsters are a spoilt bunch...vector-free cloning!! All you need do is learn the precise wand movement, and Hey presto! clones in your petri!"The wand movement however turned out to be anything but simple.A challenging grasp of the wand with the 4 fingers of the hand( barring the thumb) and the motion of moving the thumb down onto the wand(For older students,this was referred to as the 'pipetting hold') while enunciating clearly,'Expecto clonum'....Severely beaten at the grasp( Hermione was the only student to have achieved it correctly,earning Gryffindor a new PCR machine) ,Harry and Ron trudged out of class.

On the way back to Retroviridae, they noticed their least favourite Professor,Glucose Snape speaking in hushed tones with Professor Antiviral.Snape, took great delight in humiliating Harry in every class of Potions and Media making.Harry ,Ron and Hermione snuck behind a pillar to listen in."I don't know what to do.I am so scared to carry it around...what if it infects me?" quivered professor Antiviral.Snape replied,curling his lip in disdain,"Surely you know the properties of the Virus,Antiviral?..Unless I am to assume you are mixed blood".Antiviral looked more alarmed at that suggestion than at the prospect of his supposed infection.Snape looked around,"It's not the best place to talk about this...let's go into my chambers"...with a flash of his gown...he and Antiviral disappeared from view.

"They are talking about the mystery Virus...I bet they know where it is...",muttered Ron excitedly."Of course you realise that this means Snape is involved in its safe-keeping",said Hermione, a tad pompously."We need to do something,just last week,Parvati was taken away to St.Mungo's ...",said Harry.And off they went in search of the mystery virus.

Being a reputed School of Microbiology, they expected Hogwarts to have every measure of protection in place.They were not disappointed.Password protected doors,Hermione broke through the spells...A giant chess game played with Bacteria as black and Viruses as white,Ron exchanged his Sindbis for another Ebola, and checkmated the opponent's E.coli.The next task to overcome was a Virus Classification Quiz...Hermione aced it ( after a weeks preparation mind!)..and finally the last task...Tracking down deadly bacteria.This was the only subject that Harry excelled at.Keenly observing all the clues, he pronounced the enemy to be 'Streptococcus pyogenes',and prescribed antibiotics for it.As he uttered the last syllable of his cure,the door swung open.....

He was face to face with Professor Antiviral..."You!" they both remarked at the same instant.."Maybe I can use you to get past this darn mirror",said the agitated professor.The Mirror of Erised, would only help those who wished to find the virus to destroy it.Professor Antiviral who was hoping to find a way to infect more Mudbloods had had no luck with the Mirror.He pushed Harry in front of the mirror.Harry saw the cell culture flask containing the Virus inside the Professor's back pack...

"Accio backpack",yelled Harry, at the same moment as Antiviral yelled,"Micro Kedavra".The combined spells hit the backpack that was still in midair.The combination spell somehow mutated the virus...and it now infected Professor Antiviral.."My eyes"..he screamed in he slowly began to fade from view...Harry was left alone in the room.

The headmaster,Albus Microdore boomed,"For sheer bravery and immense courage,I now pronounce Gryffindor the House Flask winner..I think a new -80 'C is in order" saying he clapped his gown-ed hands and a gleaming new RevCo appeared in the hall.Harry thought back at the last few days.After he ,Ron and Hermione had destroyed the flask with the virus..exam week had begun.He had botched his Microbiology practical ( 503 and 1/2) because the staircase leading to the Lab dungeon had chosen that very moment to switch courses.He was nervous about how he had done.Ahh well..The results wouldn't be out for another month..

Hugging his friends goodbye,he thought,"Wouldn't it be fun to set up my own Virology lab in the basement ?"...but the restriction of Underage Magic forbade them from any such thing...Hmm...

That was the first year of Graduate School....Once the results are out..I will chronicle the second year..'Harry Potter and the Innoculum of Secrets'

Note : Thanks to Mosi for help with the technical 'stuff'..I am hopeless with all that!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Our Neverending journey..Part II .....Lolling with the Lions here I am finally blogging about our visit to 'Lion camp'.The camp..McBride's camp is part of Kafue National park..and is out in the boonies.It's set up to be a part of the park..and doesn't stand out for any reason..not the least being that it runs without electricity!Of course my booming voice gave half of Kafue National park's animals a heart attack, and the other half fled in mortal(animal?) fear!Needless to say they were only mildly excited to see me safely back in the car,with promises of "We'll be back soon!"...sleep well oh animals of Zambia..Shilpa is on the bawl!!

So off we set bright and early one Friday October morning.Barry was at the wheel..and I was safely ensconced in the centre at the back.Now it was 6 am..and I had had no entertainment yet....Naturally I burst into song..( can one blame the yearning of my vocal cords to break free ?)I was quickly hushed..and plied with drink!Mosi busied himself with his camera as usual,taking what I grudgingly accept as a 'cool shot'! Ah magnanimous of the praise of other's gifts...

Ah well...back to the journey of course.We drove on...4 long dusty hours later..our first signs of life..other than the one musical humans and 4 annoyed ones in a blue Pajero.Warthog family..with three little ones..piglets? wartlets? wiggles?hmm I wondered aloud..much too loud for the Puku..he snarled slightly to quiet me down!...hmmm these animals I tell you!

We came across a sable..These are rumoured to be very shy,reticent animals.They are tall and majestic with wonderfully curved antlers.He walked away gracefully..taking refuge in the couldn't have been my singing could it?

We arrived on time ( Annika was insistent 12 means 12 !!) at the camp and were warmly welcomed.Well-meaning thumps elicited expected clouds of dust and we stretched out the kinks in our bodies!Barry had been a great driver,not even swerving off- road at my melodic rendition of Hotel Lusaka.
Mosi and I were checked into Anthill hut !!Annika and Shruthi had taken a tour of all the huts..and decided that one was the most romantic !Of course romance has a slightly different connotation out in the Bush surrounded by tall waving grass.Here,jumping with fear at the prospect of being eaten alive and unable to see my own hand in front of my face..Romance was reduced to,"Honey,do you think that sound was a Hippo? "
Anyway..we settled into a wonderful lunch..and a stuffed , sleepy gander out at the river soon after.It was amazing,sitting down comfortably a little distance from the banks of the river..and the animals actually come to you.A group of thirsty elephants came to get a drink..and a crocodile came by to sun himself...From the way he had his mouth open,I figured he either wanted food to drop straight into it or was waiting on his dentist.The former was not reassuring given the food induced stupor we were in.But atleast the croc had people to choose from eh?

That evening Charlotte( of Mcbride fame) took us on a walk..close to the camp.Walking around we saw some amazing birds.She is Chris's wife and together they run the lion camp.She is wonderful with birds..telling apart even the smallest of feathery flutterers by their calls.We saw a Kingfisher and a gorgeous fish Eagle in a majestic soar...

Walking along still further..we startled a herd of Puku..they took off in alarm..Footfalls I reassured myself..nothing to do with me!However some of the annoyed glances in my direction could have been interpreted otherwise..ah well..There was also this kind group of white birds ( herons?) accompanying an Elephant.Charlotte said that the elephant disturbs locusts in the grass as it walks..and the birds happily(lazily?) prey on them...

Back at camp...we proceded to create one of our most effective weapons against wild animals...

One of the guides who works at the camp arrived late that night ( as I was busily munching on cheesy pasta..) with news of a lioness and her cubs being close on the opposite bank..That caused a stir of excitement..and quick plans to go over the next morning.
Off we set that next morning with Chris himself..He has studied lions since the time he was 5..and is obviously passionate about them.Anyway..hours of walking later...we came across a baby Oribi.These are highly territorial animals with an interesting defence strategy.They curl into a tight ball and play dead...great idea if there's tall grass around..but with the ground so bare...not that smart perhaps..We also came across a giant ant hill..Our guide told us that it would all wash away with the first rains....Way too much effort thinks!!!

We came upon a Buffalo head.The lioness' had been active a few days earlier..and hd brought this massive beast down.The hyenas had had their go at it..and all that was left was a giant head.Shudder...with grotesque image of own head lying on the ground..mouth twisted in one last off-key note...

We got into a boat for our ride back to camp...I had to hold on to my hat..and my hair!...there was a stiff breeze..Well..laugh all you want folk..but that was the only wide brimmed hat I could lay my sunburnt hands on!!! 'My fair Lady'...Here I come!!!!

Peacfully sailing down the river..and what do we see? An elephant stepped right off the bank and walked..waded into the river straight for another boat!! Thank god its not us...?Anyway the elephant barely noticed them..and made a beeline for an island mid way!...All the while a Hippo watched us warily.Reminded of 'Madagascar' I remarked how cutely disproportionate they looked.Always watch your words with the Hippos..this one was not walked along the riverbed..right under the boat..sending us rocking !! Not very reassuring,the idea of crocodile infested waters beneath.Luckily we held on...hat and all....

How clannish these animals are...Here was another crew of Hippos chastising me for my mean comment....Well sorry guys !!!

Back at camp...we tucked into an enormous tea...It was evening and the sun had started to set..Off we went into the Wild on an evening Game Drive.We didn't see alot..and everyone who was on that trip with me will remember a 'certain somebody' who hogged the front and refused to tell us what they saw!!! revenge will be sweet...Anyway all we saw were Warthogs..on bended knee making for cute pictures..

A small voice inside my head grumbled..Lion food is here...where are the lions??

The next morning on our return from a walk....finally Lions!!!!A lioness was asleep in the shade not far from the camp.We huddled into the boat..and quietly( me too!) paddled away..A group of nervous Puku came by to drink from the river..but the lioness ignored them all.Then an unknowing family of Warthogs happened by,and in one quick flash,she was up,charged and grabbed a baby Warthog.All over in a minute..sealed with one sharp squeal....Poor Warthog...!The lioness had three hungy 8-month old cubs to feed..and she didn't waste any time hanging around!

Sufficiently excited...we headed back to camp.Sunk our teeth into a tasty lunch..and Me,Mosi and Shruthi sat ourselves down on chairs set out overlooking the river.Who should come by , but our ace hunter Lioness!!...She walked slowly,crouching low not far from us.She sized us up...I bet she was thinking,"Ah that annoying one in the fancy hat...looks well fed.The cubs will be delighted!"Frozen with fear,voice stuck in my throat( who would have thought??)...I got up slowly and walked into the nearby hut...She disappeared into the tall grass...Whew..Look how close she was...

PS...the blurry chairs are where we were sitting...

Look at the muscles on her....Soon after she slunk away...thirsty animals were back..A Kudu came to join the Puku at the river's edge!

Later that afternoon Mommy Lion made another appearance with her three cubs in tow...They walked coolly,across the plains,giving a start to a quiet herd of Puku grazing nearby.So fluid were the graceful each step..We were entranced,falling into a reverent silence..( yes,even me!)

Eyes still clinging to that sight straight out of National Geographic..we huddled into a Safari Van..and headed out on our second Game drive..We had more luck that day..and chanced upon a huddled Genet cat.These are small cats,very similar-looking to a civet.

What a day....brimming with excitement about my near-death experience I proudly gazed around the table.....Ahh brave me!!!...Braver still with the new found knowledge that Lions are scared of human voice.Beware my potent weapon....Drained from the excitement...I sank into a dreamless slumber.Woken only to ponder the munching sounds from nearby Hippos outside the hut.Mosi ( my brave co-inhabitant of said romantic hut) was lost to the world in a sleep so deep that the Hippos couldn't wake him...
We awoke early the next morning to the news that the Lioness and her cubs were now stretched out on the banks of the river right next to the camp.Hurriedly we gathered there in an almost breaking dawn-light and watched excitedly as they woke up.The Lioness couldn't be bothered with us again..and she wandered away.The cubs stood their ground..and they were an adorable sight to watch.Two of them stood guard..and the third was not be denied his snooze...People or not..!

We continued being a part of play time for the feisty cubs...Watching them at play is a delightful sight.They have the same wonder and mischief in their eyes as my dog...only that of course he is never awake at such an ungodly hour!!

The lion cubs finally tired of their adoring fans...and walked away into the bush...
We hopped into the boat for one last peaceful ride...We saw more even kindly spouted a cloud of water..caught on camera expertly by ace photographer Mosi( of growing talent to be captured here)..!!!We saw two leopards drinking quietly down the river.We halted the boat and tried to follow them.Some of us were lucky to see them up close....Annika and Shruthi have pictures of them..and I'm waiting for them to send them over!
We saw the same three cubs of them made a half-hearted attempt to hunt a Puku.The Puku was only barely scared and darted away...the cub returned shame faced to join his siblings.. was soon time to leave...Although perhaps this picture doesn't quite convey that sadness?

Here was the brave group of explorers.....Surviver all we be! and to tell the tale...and how!

Finally it was time to leave..we piled into the dusty blue Pajero..Making our way back...Barry requested me( of rusty voice) to sing a song...perhaps that wasn't the smartest suggestion....We managed to confuse this one Owl...and this elephant trumpeted,"Quiet down!!"....

Keep watching this space..there are still a few pictures that need to go in...
And if you like the photos so far.....there's more where those came from...we are putting them together on picasa...keep an eye peeled for the album link here.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Hotel Lusaka.....( What are you waiting for...come visit!!! ) me and Mosi...just came off a nice,long lazy weekend ( what another one? ) Anyway..two virologists cooped in a room, no viruses to tinker with,no lab to play in, no chemicals to start a fire with...Give us a break..we had to do something 'Creative' !!!!!!! Here goes....

Hotel Lusaka ( sing to the tune of 'Hotel California'...duh!! )

On the Long Great East highway,
Lots of dust in my hair,
Warm smell of Nshima,
Rising up through the air.

Up ahead in the distance,
I saw the usual sight,
Four minibuses caused a traffic jam,
I had to stop for the light.

There he stood on the roadway,
With talk-time to sell,
I was thinking to myself,
Do I need MTN or Celtel?

Then he lit up a candle,
And he began to sway,
Oliver Tukutzi playing in my car,
Thought I heard them say...

Welcome to the Hotel Lusaka,
Such a lovely place,Such a lovely place,
There's hardly any room at the Hotel Lusaka,
Any time of year,
Unless you have money, my dear.

Now she works at Immigration,
She's got a Mercedes Benz,
She's got a lot of pretty,pretty toys
From the Asians she befriends.

Some Work in Luanshya,
Down in the copper mines,
Some work in Lusaka,
For when we want to dine.

So I called the waiter,
"Please bring me my wine",
He said,
"There's a guy waiting for his food,
Since 1969 ".

And hungry voices are calling from far away,
Wake you up in the middle of the night,
Just to hear them say..

Welcome to .. ( chorus)

Cracks in the ceiling,
Rooms overrun by mice,
She said,
We are doing our best here
But the management lies.

And in the boss' chambers,
Gathered for the meet,
The power blew with no warning,
They couldn't see the Excel sheet.

Last thing I remember,
Is fumbling for the door,
I had to find some sanity,
In the place I was before.

"Good night", said Facilites,
We are away on leave,
"You can order any time you like,
But you'll never receive."

And still those voices are calling from far away,
Wake you up in the middle of the night,
Just to hear them say.

Welcome to... ( chorus)

Another edition of TIA folks.....I promise as long as I'm here...the "hits just keep on coming!"

So....instead of doing HIV research..maybe I can get a CD together .Here's one of my favourites...( from Mosi's blog).. and the other one I did...3 to a CD..probably not...But there's plenty of inspiration here!