Monday, June 20, 2011

The Price Of Living In Switzerland

Switzerland is amazingly expensive. The sort of expense where your vision begins to shimmer in disbelief, that a man has charged you 60 Swiss francs to drive less than 3 miles in his car.

The high prices are because there's a huge tax burden on the individuals, paying for a socialised welfare - hmm. Not so sure about that. In fact, it feels a bit down at heel in many parts. Lots of people wandering around in ugly clothes that look like they were in fashion a decade ago. People shuffling through the airport, not picking up their feet to walk properly, just trudging. I'm not sure if they were locals or not. When I walked through the terminal, the non-locals were engaged in furious arguments in the Toblerone shop or in the Starbucks, perhaps driven apoplectic by the prices. Although the man arguing the toss over the Toblerone was yelling away for a good ten minutes: could it be that bad?

I took a train into Geneva. Away from the transit hub, people still had awful clothes, an awful sense of decrepitude. I walked to the hospital to meet my friends. Outside there were two youngish men in wheelchairs, each with a leg in a cast, the cast inside a rectangular box jutting out from the wheelchair, two matching invalids. Both smoking. A cluster of other patients wandered out to smoke; a woman dressed in a nurse's uniform sat on a low wall, next to some bottles of beer. It felt like I was watching footage from an unidentified Communist country in the 1950s.

My friends have been driven to drink by this. In America they were never on the sauce, but since the only thing that is cheap out here (at least by comparison with the US) is French wine, we murdered two bottles and ate ... What did I eat? I'm sure I had something for dinner, a mushroom, perhaps. I've a vague inkling that we had dessert, but that may just be a suspicion based on a dream, rather than with any basis in reality. At least I didn't then stagger off to watch a film in 3D that was really in 2D - I'm learning to cope with the booze, you see.

Well, not really. Learning not to be so conspicuous, I suppose.

I did go and play frisbee for a time, which is difficult after you've drunk too much wine. Then I crashed out on my friends' couch, rather than pay the ridiculous taxi fee to head to a hotel in the middle of nowhere. Tram straight to the office tomorrow.

As asked, my mother sent me some of her wedding photos to look at. Contemplating photoshopping my and my fiancee's heads into them. That's another good reason for keeping me away from Photoshop, I declare.


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