No, seriously. Switzerland is great.

9 11 2010

Ok, so I insulted a few of my Swiss friends with my last post. And the truth is, there are a lot of things I actually really do like about Switzerland, even if I tend to complain all the time. So, here is my list of the good stuff:

1) The nature – unbelievably stunning in every way. Mountains, glaciers, lakes, you name it. Switzerland has it all. And it’s all very clean, breathtakingly pretty and easily accessible.

"MOO." Even the cows are photogenic here.

2) The geographic location – If you do feel overwhelmed by the picture-postcard beauty of every panorama and have an urgent need to get a dose of a gritty big city, complete with dog poop on the sidewalks and the smell of urine on every street corner, it’s fast and easy to get there from here. Since Switzerland is located at the geographic center of (Western) Europe, you can fly to everywhere else, pretty much, in an hour or two.

3) The trains run on time – Yes, you can actually set your cuckoo clocks by them. On average, 97.43 percent of all Swiss trains arrive and depart within 3 minutes of their scheduled time. Unless there is a massive electricity outage. Since a majority of the population commutes by public transportation, one severed or shorted electrical circuit can bring chaos to the entire country. On a hot summer day a few years ago, trains across the country stood still for four whole hours during afternoon rush hour, stranding more than 100,000 passengers. So just FYI: any hostile power that wants to take over Switzerland doesn’t need an army… a couple of wire-cutters and/or a hungry, suicidal hamster would probably do.

4) High salaries and (relatively) low taxes – Who doesn’t want to keep more of their paycheck at the end of every month? Let’s just ignore the fact that the cost of living here is higher than anywhere else in the world, and the amount of money you spend on a bag of groceries would be more than enough to buy food to sustain an extended family in a developing country for at least six months. You will end up shelling out unbelievable sums to other people for goods and services, to the state, your local community and your canton, but then again an equally unbelievable amount of cash will remain in your pocket.

5) The fact that Switzerland is a tiny, inconspicuous, safe, neutral, friendly, peaceful country in the middle of Europe where the President can get up on a Saturday morning, stick on a pair of dark sunglasses to hide her hangover, and go shopping in the supermarket alongside all the rest of us – without a security detail.


Hangover? What hangover?

Swiss people really have no idea how great it is not to be the target of any terrorist organization. (The Jurassian separatists don’t count.) One day recently R., who is Swiss, and I, who is not, had this conversation:

Me: “What if there was some terrorist attack here? Or if there was an assassination attempt on your President? How would you Swiss people react?”

Him (looking very confused): “Why would anyone want to kill our President?”

Me: “Well, because she is PRESIDENT!”

Him: “Yes but… what would be the purpose?”

Me: “To destabilize the country. Demoralize the population. Exercise gratuitous violence. Bring the reign of terror right into your own neighborhood. There are a million reasons… just go ask Al Qaeda.”

Him: “Um… Sweetie, nobody cares about Switzerland. Nothing like that ever happens here. There would be no reason for it. And besides, our banks manage Al Qaeda’s finances, so they would not be doing themselves a real favor if they started killing Swiss people.”



4 responses

9 11 2010

I don’t care what you say! Fondue is one of them, especially if prepared by your husband!!

10 11 2010
Evelynn Starr

Thank you! He will be happy to hear that he has at least a couple of fondue-fans!!!!

9 11 2010
Ironic Mom

This cracked me up. Not unlike Canada in some ways, except for the $ and the connection to our southern neigbho(u)rs…

10 11 2010
Evelynn Starr

Canadians are way nicer, though….

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