Douwe Osinga's Blog: Back in Switzerland

Thursday, April 24, 2008

So various people have wondered if I still blog. I do, but more often than not when I don't have access to the Internet and these posts just end up as documents on my computer, waiting for me to post them. I'm going to try to get them out. Some of these posts are somewhat asynchronous, for example this one. We're already back from being back in Switzerland.

And then we’re back in Switzerland. Just for the weekend, but after 5 minutes in our old apartment, it already feels like we never left. Strange how the brain designed to cope with the life of a caveman, is not confused at all about jumping across the planet in airplanes. All the differences between India and Switzerland are nicely summed up when entering the railway station under the airport.

In India there would be hundreds of people battling trying to get to a ticket window and thousands of others just hanging around for no immediately clear reason. We would have no idea which of the 20 windows would be able to sell us the ticket that we wanted, while it would be certain only one would. In order to book a ticket, we’d have to fill in a form, specifying our jobs, our age and the number of the train, which we could find out by first queuing up behind a window marked enquiries. The station would of course be hot, dirty and vaguely smelly.

In the station at Zurich Airport, there were 5 ticket windows, all selling tickets for all destinations in Europe. There was no waiting and no need for forms or train numbers. No crowds at all, the train arrived exactly when it should have, left exactly when it was supposed too. I know it is a cliché to say that Switzerland is clean, efficient and that everything works. But coming back you realize that it is rather true.

After three months in the tropics, I thought I wouldn’t need sunscreen in a meager European spring. One morning of skiing set me straight and left me with a peeling nose and broken lips. And then there is the cheese, the bread, the super fast Internet, the having beer with friends in a normal bar. Life is pretty good, but it lacks the excitement of India with all its colors, odors and above all people everywhere. Yeah, more clichés.