Basilica Notre-Dame Waaahh. I didn't want to leave Montreál!!
Not with the great food there, and the babes. Omigod (lau nua lau nua) the French Canadian babes. I forgot that a Body Mass Index of 35 is abnormal, after having been in MN for 3 years.
It was a weird feeling coming back to Canada. I graduated in 2001, and my last trip back was to Vancouver in 2003 when I presented a paper on pulmonary hypertension. Seeing all the familiar signs- Tim Horton's, where we spent hours snacking on past-midnight doughnuts and hot chocolate after we were done studying; Zellers; the 'Sortie' exit signs (I swear, if a fire breaks out in a hotel, masses of people would die from the confusion). Also, being Montreal, obviously the French influence is greater. Hence my nosebleeding from looking at the French Canadians.
It's interesting how although this is still part of Canada, the culture and language is so different that it feels like a different country. Firstly, all the signs are in French. More than half the TV channels in the hotel are in French.
I mean, have you ever tried watching Star Trek: The Next Generation in French?
Imagine it like Hokkien: "Oi, Riker, ee-lang Klingon ai-see ar? Kannineh, lai thau wah lang eh pae-ki? Sak si ee-lang"
And so many locals here can't speak conversational English. Weird. This was a big conference. Not exactly sure about the turnout, but I'd estimate it to be close to 5,000 people. In this huge exhibition hall, Palais de Congres de Montreál. Went through the program book hoping to find some visitors from home, as there are hordes of international physicians from India, Japan, Korea etc. Thrilled to see at least 10 research papers from Singaporean authors being presented here. However, I must say that I was disappointed not finding a single Malaysian paper. Not that I'm wanting to compete with anyone or anything like that. Just that this gets you thinking, are we doing something wrong? Is there a lack of emphasis on academic medicine in Malaysia? On research? Probably. We're busy trying to cope with the housemanship issue. Singapore, on the other hand, appears to be more proactive in wanting to expand its knowledge. For example, Singapore sends several doctors to my hospital every year (funded by Singapore) for a 1-2 year fellowship, so that they may bring their new knowledge back to apply it there. The only people I've met who were 'sent' by Malaysia are these 2 Pakistani physicians initially funded by IJN. Who incidentally, are not planning to return (the masses of Malaysian doctors here, got here on our own accord). Anyway, I digress.... Back to the conference.
My presentation went well. Had been a nervous wreck for the last 24 hours. Half expected to be grilled to death by the audience. But no, they were nice.
"Severe Hyperammonemia from a Urea Cycle Disorder Presenting in Late Adulthood"
And no, they didn't make me present in French (they wouldn't want me to use MY french).
Won the award for Best Oral Presentation under the Nonpulmonary Critical Illness category, which was a nice bonus. The manuscript was submitted for publication a few days ago; hopefully that gets through. Pretty good paper too, if I may say so myself. Ahem.
After the presentation, was able to meet up with a friend from KL who's doing medical school in Montreal. In fact, back during those days, she was a student of mine. Very glad that she's doing so well here, applying for a residency in anesthesia. Then again, am not too surprised; she was one of the brighter students, good head on her shoulders. And has grown into a rather attractive young woman too (ahem, if you're ever reading this, it's a compliment). It was great to be able to catch up on things, and to get updates on where everyone went.
Got to sightsee too. Went to Mont Royal, with great view of the city. Basilica Notre Dame, where Celine Dion got married. And Chinatown.... wow. Great food.
Had a great time here. It was nice to be able to return, even for just 4 days.
Merci, Canada. I'll be back someday...