Friday, July 4, 2008

Monday-Friday in Switzerland


After dinner, we had a meeting with Dr. Koop, we discussed one of the lectures today and some of the questions I did over the books for the class. Anyway...the view was spectacular. We sat out on the roof, because the weather is nice, and I could see the mountains. I took a little video. So pretty. Geneva is definitely cleaner than France and the people more polite (but it's a smaller town than Paris too.)

Not much else, unless you want to hear about the history or schools in Switzerland, I don't think it will be very exciting.


I really feel privileged with the speakers the have for us. Diverse topics, but everyone has been an expert in their field, people who write books or do important studies. We expected this morning to be on political or diplomatic agencies in Geneva, but this guy was more of an environmental scientist...talked about C02 and global warming...very interesting.

I had chicken, potatoes and an eclair for lunch. Yum! This afternoon, we tour the cathedral, then go to the country and taste swiss wine. Fun...except Mr. Bean is our guide for the cathedral...boring!

I've struggled with my french the last two day...I feel kinda inept. Most everyone (students) is really good.


I don't know if it's homesickness or loneliness...but I'm blue.

Our class was on Swiss French and very interesting, and lunch was good, I had salad...but it was a much nicer salad bar than you'd expect, salmon and asparagus, plus raspberry tart. After lunch I saw a flea market across the street and walked around. That was cool. Mostly books and clothes, beads, coins, odds and ends.


I ran 4 miles at an 8:58 pace, the fastest yet and I just barely beat the rain. That should cool things down a bit. Excellent.

Today we have just one class, then lunch at the museum of the Red Cross (a huge deal in started here) and then a tour of the museum. Then we have a free afternoon from 4pm. I think I'll go see the UN Palace of Nations and then to this huge department store place and walk around. Stores are open later on Thursday, so it should be fun to walk around. I may go with Kathryn or just by myself, I don't know.

We eat all the time here, and lunch and dinner are much bigger meals than I'm used to...full plates, but I tried on my size small pants and they felt fine....but seriously, we don't go hungry here. With the exception of the salad bar, we don't really get to serve ourselves...and it just seems unnatural to leave food on my plate, but I'm making the effort because I really don't need all that food.

Also...I was rather proud of myself, I did a small amount of laundry, in the sink last night, and it was dry by morning.

It was raining as we went to class, which was a nice change of pace. Class was about Switzerland in its relationship to Europe, which we already know a ton about. I listened, took notes, but don't think I really learned anything amazing. Then we went as a group at noon to the museum (well, first we had to wait around for the bus, then walk from there to the museum, stopping forever to take pictures outside the United Nations building). So, when we get to the museum, we know that we're eating there, so we wait around, hungry, then the guy comes and tells us that we have to wait until 1:30 for the director who's going to eat with us. I start to feel not so good. Then we eat. It's some local lake fish, rice, overcooked veg. None of which are great, and I only eat half of fish, as much bread as I can get hold of, two coffees and a cookie. Afterwards, we start the tour, and I feel not so great, worse. So, the Red Cross was founded by a Swiss guy that realized that no one really cared for the injured in battle or prisoners of war...people were left to die on the battlefield. So, the Red Cross. The museum was mostly these big fabric screens of photographs of people in depressing circumstances, and then on the wall, every year and all the wars, disasters and plagues that happened, videos of battles, old bandages, postcards, prisoner of war records. I found our name, Meyer, quite often in the German area. Oh, and an area talking about land mines and pictures of legless children and old prosthetics. we were all on the brink of suicide by the end...but I was feeling better, physically, emotionally.

Kathryn wanted in go into the UN and get some brochures for her students. That was interesting. HIGH security. Like to go the bookshop you had to, of course, go through airport like security, then present id, explain your purpose, and get a photo badge. The thing was the guards that were at once very serious and stern were also really joking around with us, asking if we were really teachers and to prove it (I recited some poetry) and then one kept asking everyone if they knew anyone from Texas and talking about Walker, Texas Ranger. Weird. Anyway, we got in and it wasn't very pretty...but got some brochures and it was raining hard by the time we left.

We went into town and walked around this big store that I wanted to go to. I bought myself a souvenir t-shirt and some chocolate bars. Yum! Then we went to a book store, and I asked about a comic book that I want to use for my project that I'll have to do for this class. It wasn't exactly what I wanted, and they didn't have it in stock, but I think it will work. I want to use comic books to compare the different stereotypes Francophone countries have of each other. I like comic books, and teenagers like stereotypes.

Then we walked around this neighborhood our guy suggested yesterday. He pointed it out as the "hot" district with lots of nice cheap restaurants. He did mention that there are prostitutes there. Let's just say there were a lot more hookers and restaurants. Middle aged, foreign, just standing there, bored, low-cut tops. We did find a place, a little farther away, had a beer and steak and fries. Pretty good.


Just got back from running. Did four miles. Fast 8:46 pace. That's 27 miles this week.

The lecture this morning was on Swiss banks, and my conclusion, is that the gangster-James Bond mystique is seriously diminished, especially for Americans, in the interest of avoiding terrorism (No comment!).

Then we had an "aperatif" little party...snacks, wine. Not used to drinking...and not before lunch! Went straight to head...quite weird. But for lunch we had crepes, and then yet another guided tour of the town, this time with highlighting interesting women figures...which is really considering that women didn't universally have the vote in Sw. until 1990!

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