I have some updates on recent postings -- all of which came to light after I posted.
Let me get the boring one out of the way first. In the past 48 hours, the Discovery channels have started running product commercials -- Pantene and Olay, to be exact. While they are severely lacking the pizzaz and sophistication of their US counterparts-- there isn't even a "shiny hair toss" shot in the Pantene ones!, it is a welcome sight. If anyone from DeVries is reading this, see if you can talk to our ad counterparts at P&G to sprice things up over here. And CCA people, please ask Coke to start advertising -- I'd even be down for an old-school "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke" one or something.
I had my first snake encounter! I don't know if I conjured it up or was just more aware, but it happened on a bathroom break with Victor right outside our apartment. Victor was in the grass just sniffing around while I was standing on the sidewalk; a thin, long grate covering the rain duct that's built into the sidewalk separated us. Normally I like to give Victor some privacy so I look in the opposite direction or read emails on my Blackberry. This day I happened to be looking over at him (and we're only 3 feet apart) when, like a periscope, a snake starts rising up out of the grate between us. For added creepiness, he was hissing his forked tongue. After my initial shock at actually seeing a real snake outside of a zoo, I realized I couldn't get to Victor unless I jumped over the snake (which wasn't going to happen). So instead I started running away from the scene and screaming Victor's name for him to chase me. It was a sizable risk, but I've used this strategy in the past (when Victor's attempted to chase horses!) and it's worked. We got out of there and an hour later when I coaxed a friend into going back to the spot, the snake was gone.
Also, some other friends have confirmed the 6-ft python crashing into the helper's room story, but say that the eating of a husky sounds a bit far-fetched. I choose to believe that the big pythons are really a rarity. I also found out that most snakes are scared of people so that as long as you make noise they won't bother you. Now, poor Victor has to deal with me stomping around and yelling random crap out while he tries to do his business.
Finally -- and if you're eating, come back later!, I got on the ferry last week about to snag the second row of seats (my fave spot) when I spotted what I've feared most -- a pile of nail clippings on the floor. Yes, as some of you astutely predicted these nasty, no-manners people not only clip their nails in public, but they don't even bother to throw away the remnants. I'm vomiting in my mouth a little as I type.