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When you’re away from back home for a long time, you usually feel homesickness. I’m not going to get medical and tell you about all the sicknesses you can catch on a journey. All I can say is that I am usually very good at getting a one. Very good. In fact I’ve had a chance to visit the medical service several times. In Sydney I stumbled and hurt my arm. In Athens I got the worst flu ever, as I did in Beijing. My London trip got a special twitch with the food poisoning I got and weird enough, the only time I didn’t get sick was in Sochi. And that you can call odd as that would be the best place to catch a resilient ancient Abkhazian bug, So I can tell you that the officials in the organization I work for really knows I’m a hazard. Yet still they keep on hiring me. Cool!

This time I got an eye infection. Nothing serious really and easily treatable. Waking up every morning with a discharging eye is purely an inconvenience. The problem here is that there is no time to visit a doctor. Besides I’m not sure I would like to go just to any doctor. I’m not very convinced about, well – no offence, but going to a doctor abroad is not what you want to do unless you have to. I had received a diagnosis, made by my doctor at work, based on a photo I sent him by e-mail. The local pharmacy refused to give me the medication, a relatively good sign, don’t you think so! Gives some belief in the humanity. Maybe there are rules here, after all. So I just thought I would visit the medical office at the media center.

Using the buses here is not a very nice option, but luckily I was offered a driver and a car for the visit. My colleagues had informed me that the runners and drivers were quite good rally drivers, so I took my own destiny in my hands, sat in the backseat of the car and announced that I want to get to the destination alive. So no rally here in Rio. I got a very mild and composed look from a pair of beautiful brown eyes, a slight nod – and off we go. Cool!

I’m happy to say that the drive was safe, and no wonder as Rafael, the driver turned out to work with health & safety, which makes me always delighted as it is one of my favorite subjects. The slight animosity between us, or let’s say my posh attitude was soon gone. We started talking about the issues in health & safety, comparing our countries and I can assure you, that from what I’ve seen and heard, we are in a pretty good shape with that - it’s a huge blessing to live in Finland.

But back to the reality. I went in to the medical centre and got surrounded immediately by three ladies in white jackets. It was almost like “they are coming to take me away”-feeling. The first lady handed me a chair, the second one started to take my blood pressure and the third lady began an interrogation. I only pointed to my eye, which probably looked as if I was telling them I’m crazy. The interrogation ended though in a mutual understanding, partly because I showed the third lady the e-mail, in Finnish, that I got from my doctor in Helsinki. Note that every time you are in a difficult situation somewhere abroad, start talking Finnish. It helps. Cool!

I got the prescription and went to the pharmacy next door. Well, they didn’t have the medication as prescribed. Had to find another drugstore in a decent neighborhood because it was getting dark and I had to go back to the evening session. The sunset here is like a curtain pulled down. It just crashes, usually at six o’clock. Had to stay away from all dark alleys, since I didn’t want to end my life in a Brazilian morgue. That would be an irony considering the original cause. Eye infection.

Rafael, with the dark brown eyes, knew another pharmacy close by. Am I lucky. Not actually, since they couldn’t help me either. As I didn't want to end up in a graveyard, we had to return back, empty handed, without the medication I needed. But we human’s are so vain. I got some consolation way back, driving the Rio lane in the worst rush hour in Rio. What a joy it is to pass the endless queues of normal cariocas in the traffic. Cool!

The next day I got the medication from our own crew member, who happened to be a doctor here at the compound. Challenge #nine - Some things in life are too simple.

The rest of the day gave me even more chills, but that’s another story and can be released only later.