August 01, 2004
Geneva vs. Elsewhere
A few of my observations about what's different about Geneva, Switzerland compared with the places in the U.S. I've lived:
- There are stinging nettles instead of poison ivy.
- More people walk and bike more places.
- There are horse water troughs scattered around.
- Lots of buttercups, stone walls with moss, beech trees, laundry hanging on the line.
- You can walk across the border from Switzerland into France.
- There are Middle-Eastern looking people on the public transportation vehicles speaking a mixture of American English and Genevan French, both with perfect accents appropriate to each language.
- Interesting and delicious yogurt flavors such as hazelnut, plum, pear, or muesli.
- Many old stone buildings, fountains, benches, walls.
- Of course they have the Lac Leman, the Jet d'Eau (huge water fountain emerging from the lake), and the flower clock.
- Cloth rolls of towels in public bathrooms, toilet flushes in different places (such as a big, round, black foot pedal on the floor, or a very high plastic toggle on a tank up at standing eye-level), fun light switches (squares that push straight in or ones that roll up and down).
- They have thicker, stronger toilet paper (sometimes pink). The public bathrooms are all completely private: the doors go floor to ceiling and wall to wall, with no gaps that people can see through. Imagine. Makes sense to me.
- Bathtubs are deep and narrow tub (often no shower but a nice low sprayer)
- It is common for people to be fluent in several languages.
- Traffic lights go red, then red AND orange, then green: possibly so all the stick shift cars have a chance to get into gear?
- Speeders are caught not by a chase but by police camera boxes sprinkled around the town.
- In grocery stores, the customer inserts a refundable coin to get a shopping cart, cashiers sit instead of standing, & it is the customer's responsibility to bag the groceries (and pay for any needed bags).
- More leisure, vacation, a slower pace, enjoying life.
- No window screens, windows open wide horizontally - you can lean out easily.
- Real keys at hotels, made out of metal, they actually turn in the lock, and so big you have to give them i at the hotel desk when going out.
- Hot chocolate is made the way it's supposed to be: with hot frothy milk, and high quality chocolate powder which you can add yourself so it's just the right amount, not too dark or light.
August 1, 2004 | Permalink
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Geneva vs. Elsewhere:
Yeah, well, the Swiss have public toilets with glass walls, so poo poo!
Posted by: Jon | Aug 1, 2004 11:46:02 PM
That's in German-speaking Switzerland. Borrowed from the British, no less. A completely different topic ;-)
I'd not seen that - funny, thanks, Jon. David says he saw print-outs of it posted at work!
Posted by: Katherine | Aug 2, 2004 6:21:05 AM
We have Austrian guests this summer for two whole months. A young couple, he's in med school, she's studying to be an English teacher. We have exchanged many differences from each others' eyes about culture. Mainly they walk and bike tons more than we ever had. And their culture is more formal and polite about almost everything. Needless to say they are fluent in Austrian German, Spanish and English. We've barely managed to learn basic greetings in German...
Posted by: emily | Aug 2, 2004 8:33:12 PM
Wow, Emily, two months of houseguests...that's quite a commitment! But I have personal experience with your lovely facilities and can imagine which part of the house they will be in. Should work out fine...Should also be very enriching for your kids! I wonder how much German they will know by the end of the visit :-) Thanks for your comment - it's so nice to know you are out there reading.
Posted by: Katherine | Aug 2, 2004 8:47:18 PM
This was interesting. I like hearing about the differences between countries. Thanks for sharing.
Posted by: Helen | Aug 4, 2004 4:41:47 AM
You forgot good stuff like
- When you want to buy something, the stores are always closed.
- No dunkin donuts
Posted by: David | Aug 4, 2004 5:35:58 PM
Ah, you had me pining for a trip back to Europe. Then I read David's comment - and burst out laughing! Sometimes it's the little things you miss. :-)
Posted by: Kristen | Aug 4, 2004 6:12:34 PM
Kristen, in case you were confused by all the Davids in my family, that was my brother David commenting...and I, too, totally burst out laughing and clapping my hands when I read his addtion! Hi, David!
I may yet live to see the day when my actual husband David posts a comment. On the other hand, I may not. But he does give me comments in person ;-)
Posted by: Katherine | Aug 4, 2004 6:28:56 PM
Ah, thank you for clarifying...I had assumed that it was your husband who had commented on sweets here...
Posted by: Julie | Aug 4, 2004 10:54:20 PM
Good point, Julie - I hadn't thought about it that time. My brother David is definitely the oreo, peanut butter cup, doughnut guy. My husband David is more the fresh nectarines, lemon or grand marnier souffle, apricot pie guy. I like all those except for grand marnier and doughnuts (well, maybe once a year).
Posted by: Katherine | Aug 5, 2004 3:33:03 AM
The orange public buses go almost anywhere you want to be
The mountains are climbed at your own risk! right David and Jessica? :)
The xroissant are light, fluffy, and actually taste like something
Posted by: Paul | Aug 10, 2004 12:40:09 AM