One advantage of living in a tropical country is the year round sun and warm seas for swimming. Especially in a tropical area that isn’t badly hit by monsoons or major tropical storms on a regular basis. Because of this there are no major tourist seasons like there is in many countries. What does happen is fluctuations in the financial status of the tourists. During certain periods there’s a lot of tourists from the less developed neighbouring countries, because they can’t afford to go much further afield, and the other periods have higher numbers of the richer tourists from the US and Europe seeking sunnier climes. The majority of the longer stay middle to higher income earners from the northern hemisphere is during the northern late autumn and early winter.
The other tourist division is the southern hemisphere early summer. Lower and middle income earners from nearby countries tend to visit during the southern hemisphere summer school holidays if they’ve children, while those without children usually visit in the months just before or after this, because they’re outside their school holiday periods and are cheaper. The northern hemisphere visitors with children tend to visit during their summer while the richer folk from both hemispheres visit whenever it suits their other interests for them to take time off.
The results of this are the tourists to Berant visiting in December and January tend to fall into three groups. Southern hemisphere school holiday makers with children for periods of two to eight weeks, most are for two or three weeks. Northern hemisphere school holiday makers with children for one to two weeks, usually the week after Christmas. And rich people without kids for any length of time. This results in a very interesting mix of tourists and interactions throughout this period, more so than any other time of the year. This is also the time of year with the most visiting children, due to the school holidays. Most of the tourists spend a lot of time in Carmel at the beach and shops, with trips to Highcliff and Berana.
Carmel was designed as a tourist resort from scratch, so it’s well suited for their activities. Those with less money often stay at hotels in View Port instead of Carmel, because it’s much cheaper. The Carmel beach is always crowded with young and / or rich tourists.
The Carmel Clinic
The Carmel Clinic for Re-constructive Surgery is recognised as the best in the world in its field, and treatment by them is in high demand. As with most major specialist medical services the clients come to their facility for treatment. The facility is expanding. It has a good training program to train doctors and technicians to work at the clinic as well as work elsewhere in the world to take the services closer to the people who need them, and to treat more people.
Trainees come in two groups and three types. Paying students and scholarship students are the two groups, while the types are doctors, theatre nurses, and prosthetic technicians.
Paying students pay large fees to participate in their training course, they then leave and go into their own practice where they wish; doctors undertake a two year course while the theatre nurses have a one year course. There aren’t many doctors in this group, because very few young doctors can pay the full fees while few established doctors can afford the time off for the training over so long a period, thus most of the doctors in this group are young doctors whose training is being paid for by their various military services. Scholarship students are paid to attend the clinic and be taught, then the doctors work at the clinic, or other Berant hospitals, for five years, while the theatre nurses work for only two years. A special provision exists in the foreign citizenship employment laws to allow this, because it’s part of an educational package. The technician course is the same time periods as for the doctors.
Each year the clinic has five positions for paying students and two scholarship students in each training category. All of the students have to be approved and vetted by Clinic staff before they’re allowed to enrol, because the Clinic management are particular about the type of people they’ll train. The courses align with the calendar year and the local educational year. Final interviews by Clinic staff are done in Berant during the month of January while the potential students visit on a holiday; own cost if paying students, and free room and board if scholarship students. The students have all been well vetted in their own countries, and this is the final interview process. Very few paying students are rejected if they get this far, but the scholarship students know they’ve only a fifty-fifty chance of getting a scholarship, because two candidates are interviewed for each open scholarship.
The upside for the scholarship students is they get a free holiday if they don’t get a scholarship offered to them. Although it’s a working holiday, because the evaluation involves some work at the clinic.
Mid-morning on the 4th of January, 2010 Doctor Theresa Angelson is talking to the students applying as scholarship students. She explains the evaluation for them is much harder than for the paying students, because they have to be very sure the graduates will fit in with Berant society for the full period of their training and work contract. After her lecture she introduces them to seventeen year old Gerry Mannheim for him to show them their accommodation, and take them around the towns of Carmel and View Port for that part of their orientation. This is because they’ll be living here for the next three weeks if not chosen, and the next few years if approved. While Gerry leads the doctors, nurses, and technicians out the paying students are entering by another door for their welcome lecture and talk. Most of the students are in their mid to late twenties, because they’ve already graduated from university and done a year or two general practice in various medical facilities. They think Gerry is a high-school student working a summer to learn more about medicine. They’re only half right, because he goes to high-school, but they don’t realise he’s more than that.
Leaving the clinic he chats with them all while they head toward the staff accommodation block the clinic shares with the hospital next door. The students’ luggage has already been taken to their assigned rooms by other staff. While he shows them to their rooms he asks them to change into something comfortable for a lot of walking out in the heat, and he’ll meet them downstairs in twenty minutes. They all appear within a few minutes of each other, and a few minutes early. He leads the twelve students out into Carmel, and shows them the main points of the town. While he does so he explains to them Berant law doesn’t allow them to perform medical services in the country except in an emergency, and they’re automatically relegated to the position of assistants to any Berant medical staff they may work with in any situation. Once they’ve been trained in certain aspects of the Berant medical system their status will be changed to acknowledge all prior specialist training.
During their walk around town the students ask questions about the town and the country, which Gerry answers. They stop for lunch at 1:00 p.m. After lunch they take a short bus ride into View Port so he can show them around the town, and they walk back via the Marina. During this most of the students notice almost everyone in both towns knows Gerry well, and they always have time for a quick word with him. They all decide he’s a good fellow to know, and make a point of remembering the contact information he gives them, in case they want some help from him. They also note his casual way of pointing out places in both towns includes all the information they’d need to get to any likely place for a medical emergency call (the hospitals, schools, main shops, beaches, marina, police stations, public transport, etc.) without making a major production of doing it. They all realise he’s a very intelligent and knowledgeable young man.
They arrive back at their accommodation in time to be shown into the cafeteria for the start of serving the evening meal. He shows them how their room cards can be used to charge the meals against their accounts; he demonstrates this by leading them along the food serving area and orders his meal, so do they, and then he pays for his using a credit card while they use their room cards. He explains the cost of whatever they select is charged to their room account, and their room account has a monthly allowance. If they exceed it the clinic office will send them an account for the excess. They may use their room cards to buy meals for any guests they have, or pay for them with credit cards, because no cash is used at all. The cafeteria has a range of food stuffs they can buy in the same manner and take back to their rooms, there are also many drink and food machines around the hospital, clinic, and accommodation areas that accept the room cards in the same way. He impresses on them the need to keep the card secure, because they’ll be held responsible for all charges against it.
After dinner he shows them the accommodation recreation facilities, and tells them they’ll be expected at the clinic by 8:30 a.m. the next day for the start of their evaluations, and they’ll be given their schedules at that time. He and others will be available, at various times, to help them with getting to know the town. Giving them all a big smile he leaves them in the general television lounge to settle in.
Over the next few days they often see Gerry in the clinic talking with a whole range of staff; doctors, nurses, and technicians. On the fourth day the scholarship students have the rare opportunity to sit down to lunch as a group for once, because their schedules match. They discuss how Gerry is heavily involved in the clinic. One points out he has the same family name as one of the clinic’s lead doctors and founders, a name that isn’t all that common in Berant; it’s obvious he’s related to the head doctor and would be a very frequent visitor. They all nod at this explanation. The conversation moves to how exhaustingly thorough the evaluations are while all of their technical knowledge and personal attributes are tested. They note the evaluations of the full fee paying students aren’t as exhaustive, and the average age of the scholarship students is a few years younger than that of the fee paying students. They move onto what they’ll do when they graduate, and what they’ll do if they don’t get the scholarship.
On their ninth day they again meet for lunch, because the schedules are in five day blocks. During the last four days the doctors and nurses have been observing and assisting in operations while the technicians have been involved in learning how to make sure the materials are ready and presented properly for the medical staff. One mentions how often he’s seen Gerry talking to the senior technician about difficult builds, and the medical staff mention how often he’s seen in the theatre observing operations. So far, none have been involved in any difficult operations or prosthetic builds All they observe are basic jobs while they learn how using the Berant materials and techniques is different to the old ways, and why it is so different. One doctor even remarks how they can’t seem to turn around during the day without finding Gerry nearby. They all laugh about how he seems to haunt the clinic. One jokes he must have shares in it.
They also mention how he’s always very helpful, and always knows what they’ll need and where to find it. The general consensus is he’s an OK person and very useful to know. One jokes he doesn’t know if the clinic can operate without Gerry.
After twelve days hard work the scholarship students are having a well-earned rest day down on the Carmel Beach near the end closest to the View Port Marina when a yacht leaving the marina under power has an explosion, and a sheet of flame engulfs the back of the boat. It turns toward the beach, hoping to run aground so the people on-board can get to safety quickly. The students all sit up and take notice when the loud explosion occurs. They’re just starting to stand up when Gerry races past them. He’s speaking into a hands free microphone / earpiece while he clips it to his ear, and they hear him saying, “ ... yacht on fire beaching at Carmel near the marina, need fire, medical, and rescue services stat, over.” And he’s gone, they glance at each other, then race after him to provide any help they can.
The yacht had tried to ground on the open beach, but ended up hitting a short diving pier at that end of the beach before sliding along it and onto the beach. There are injured people from the boat, the pier, and the beach, because some people were silly enough to stand still on the beach while the yacht ran into them. A lot of people are moving about the area trying to help the injured, so are some of the hotel staff and police in the area, with more heading toward the scene at a run.
The students reach the scene just behind Gerry, and hear him saying, “Red Dogs, jump the gutters and come all the way down, we’ll lift out with choppers later, if we must, but we need all that equipment down here, now!” Turning to the police and security people he says, “Get all the uninjured guests away, and keep them well back.”
The students are surprised when one of the policemen snaps him a salute, and says, “Yes, Sir,” before he starts carrying out the orders.
Noticing the students Gerry says, “Nurses, start setting up for triage here.” He points at the two male doctors, “Take the technicians and supervise the movement of the injured to here for triage, send the worst injured first.” They give quick nods, and take off with the technicians without thinking, because they’re responding to the command in his voice. To the two female doctors he says, “Get ready to assist with emergency surgery here.” They nod while they wonder what they’ll use.
Just then two people run up with two large carry bags each, and one says to Gerry, “The Red Dogs are coming as best as they can. We were already on the way with your emergency kits. Where do you want what, Sir?”
Pointing at the nurses Gerry says, “They’re trained nurses setting up for triage, supervise them in that task.” The man nods, and opens one case, pulling out a field triage set up pack he tosses parts to the nurses when they call for them. To the other person he says, “Set up two field operating positions here with the instruments and testers in between. Doctor Riley will assist you while Doctor Sands assists me.” Doctor Jenny Riley starts to speak up, but Gerry pulls a wallet out of his pocket, and flips it to her while adding, “There’s my International Medical Association Membership Card, I’m senior to both of you and Sergeant Hanes there is a very senior med tech. You’ll both be assisting, because you’re not yet authorised for anything else. Jenny, feel free to mention to Jack anything where you think he may be going wrong, OK.” She looks at the card, gulps, and tosses it back to him. The three of them kneel down to help Hanes with opening the bags and getting out the instruments and other gear needed.