Swiss Impressions

Dear Switzerland,

Now that I’ve lived a total of 64 days with you (“in you” sounded a skosh dirty) I think I’m uniquely qualified to pass judgement on all things Swiss – I’m pretty sure that’s how it works. You have a lot of really nice things – beautiful landscapes, friendly lovely people, great public transport, historic cities, multipurpose utility implements, and I have enjoyed all these immensely.

I love your political system – it’s so democratic that everything is put to a vote. I love how you don’t have a president but 7 people who take turns to be the ceremonial head of state! This is how that choice goes in my imagination: the US State Department sends an email informing you that Obama is going to pay a visit, you all sit down and play an elaborate game of rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock to decide who goes to pick him up at the airport – and BAM, that person is president for a while – until the next president from some other country comes to visit and its back to the rock, paper, scissors! I think more countries should elect leaders that way – the buck stops here…and here…..and there….and here too!

Also, what can I say about the chocolate and the cheese – mind officially blown! However, just today I was offered chocolates by a Nice Swiss Professor and I was very surprised to hear this – “Please enjoy these delicious chocolates from my home in Luxembourg – they are much much better than the absolute sh*& that passes as chocolate in Switzerland“! Imagine that – your chocolate has some haters!

But now, for the tough love.

I love how well dressed Europeans are – so stylish with the scarves and the skinny pants -and the uniform winter color palette of black and grey!  But let’s watch how skinny those pants get. If doctors can perform a prostrate exam without having to ask you to remove your trousers – then guys, your pants may be too tight.

You also have a disconcerting habit of taking many many oxygen breaks! In China they are selling fresh air in plastic baggies for gobs of money and here a majority of you light up cigarettes everywhere! I think you’re taking your fresh air a tad for granted. I’m now so used to boarding a bus or a train and smelling the most wonderful colognes and perfumes with an overlaying stench of cigarette smoke – it’s like a sexy animal died… in Studio 54… in 1979!

Can we also do something about the prices….on everything!? I bought a chicken sandwich with a soda the other day and had to take a second mortgage out! That’s not a meal- that’s a sandwich-shaped extortion scheme! And if you’re going to charge that much to eat something, the least you could do is make your public restrooms free! Because otherwise I’m screwed by what I eat on the way in and on the way out – which is not a pleasant feeling!

You know I say all this because I love so this is not meant as criticism. And yes, there are things that we Americans need to change too, things we take as a god given right that probably we shouldn’t. Is it so bad that restaurants don’t give free refills on sodas or that the bread baskets are not complimentary – actually, no it’s not! Shouldn’t all citizens working full time jobs be assured of a living wage – abso-f&%$ing-lutely!! Shouldn’t health care be a right and not a luxury – hell yeah! If gas prices in America were the same as they were EVERYWHERE ELSE in the world – $8-$9 per gallon – there would probably be more incentive to have more fuel efficient cars and better public transport – one hopes!

So there are many things we can learn from each other – for a start, we could learn to tighten our belts and you could loosen yours! Oh, and yes, I would love the recipe for your rösti!




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