Saturday, February 10, 2007

you suck (does anyone remember that song??)

So I am not too happy because I got completely screwed over at work this week and am now working on finishing a huge project essentially on my own. I'm not sure yet if people over here understand the concept of personal responsibility?


1) people ski into the lift line at speeds of 50km per hour

2) people ALWAYS try to get on the bus before you have a chance to get out

3) people let their dogs sh*t all over the sidewalk (seemingly especially on Rue Liotard)

4) people are content to let me work saturday and sunday by myself while they go skiing and tell me that I shouldn't work the weekend.

Anyway, I am having some wine, which I am at least happy about, not just because it is a delicious red but also because I am now getting discounts from the corner store on my bottles of wine. I don't even go there that often but I have found that the drink is the singsong "bonjour" or "bonne soir" PLUS a nice smile. Works every time.

I can at least talk about my ski weekend last weekend, which was "absolutely brilliant."

Right. There are a lot of Brits here so I am picking up a lot of those expressions.

I went to les Contamines in the French Alps with my friend Bhav and another girl Annie who works at Deloitte. It is about 1.20 from Geneva. We took the ski bus at 8am from Gare Routiere in downtown Geneva. For 70 Sfr you get a bus pass and a lift ticket which is a pretty great deal. Also the lift ticket is a magnetic card and you get to skip the lines to buy the paper ones which is also nice.

We arrived a little after 10 and got to the mountain by about 1030 after they had to rent some gear. Two gondola rides later, we were up on the slushy sunny slopes.

I am used to going skiing and...well, skiing. a lot. Not always so much in Vail when I go with Justin's family (which is good because I think my legs would fall off) but when I have gone with other friends in the states. I guess in Europe since people can ski all the time, it is a little more relaxed...

First thing we do, naturally is...have a coffee. An espresso to be exact and this delicious little panini called a pizzawich which is exactly what it sounds like. Then we went out for our first run. We were all snowboarding which was GREAT. Not that I don't like skiiers because I do, but honestly yall are so muchh faster and I always go skiing with someone like Ashley or Justin or Janine all of who are way better than me! So we took one run down the mountain which was fun, and then, we had a drink. After that, we took 2 more runs (this was when we had to take the chair lift, more on that later) and had lunch. Including some nice soup, a brownie, a blueberry tart, and wine. Yes we were really hungry after all that exercise.

The runs are called "pistes" and a lot of them are more narrow than in the U.S. This is not a problem except for the thing I mentioned about personal awareness before. People will ski down a catwalk and go so slow in front of you edging from one side to the other. Glad you are enjoying your leisurely ski, but catwalks for snowboarders SUCK and we just try to get down them as fast as possible. Now I am good enough that I usually don't have a problem unless a famliy of 5 decides to all ski abreast on one of these things. (to be fair this happens in the U.S. too and I probably deserve this for being a stupid snowboarder).

The chairlifts seem to whip around much faster than U.S. ones and usually drop you off about 10 feet in the air when you get off. Amazingly I didn't totally wipe out coming off the chair. Also the lift lines...ok. People ski into the line as fast as they can. Then, there are about 30 lines formed to go into a chair for 3 people. Everyone steps on your skis/board and cuts you off. This is SO irritating!!! I think it was especially bad because it is ski holiday for a lot of people and we were on the french side. Apparently in Switzerland it is more orderly (naturally).

Back to the skiing. After lunch Annie decided to take it easy so Bhav and I actually went to do some real snowboarding. We took 3 lifts and made it up to the top of the mountain. The snow was really weird - on one side there was lots, and on the other side you could see grass almost everywhere. it was also really sunny that day so I felt like I was skiing in the middle of May.

The view from the top of the mountain was amazing!! All you could see was the tops of the Alps as far as the eye could see. There were some clouds down below us too. I wish I had my was really stunning. I think maybe the best view I have ever had skiing!! We took a couple nice runs down and in about an hour met back up with Annie. By this time it was 4pm and time to take the gondola down. We returned our gear and had a lovely vin chaud (hot spiced wine, and yes good vin chaud is actually really good) and jumped back on the bus. We sat between the 2 most irritating groups of teenagers I have ever encountered. I cannot even write about it because I am seriously trying to block it from my memory. Let's just say that I would rather float endlessly in space than have to relive that.

So now that I have been snowboarding I am dying to go again. Justin is coming this week (YAY) and it is undecided if we will be going yet or not.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Closing time

One of the most irritating things about Switzerland has got to be the hours people work. I'm talking about the people in your neighborhood - your grocer, your cleaners, etc. I have been leaving for work at 7:15 or so and getting there at 7:30 (yes, it is SO wonderful to not ride the el. I do love Swiss transport!!). But stores do not open until 8 so I can't get any breakfast or coffees on the way to work. Not that I always picked up breakfast before but sometimes after a DT happy hour at Cactus which ended up at Trader Todds, it was nice to get a Cosi bagel and a diet coke on the way into the office. Uh uh. The closest thing I can get here to an egg and bagel sandwich is a croissant. Not a bad alternative but not the same.

Also I have been taking french class or typically working until 8. Stores close at 7. So I cannot buy groceries before or after work. So you are thinking, well, during the week I starve but on the weekends I can stock up? Generally yes. The grocery stores are open on Saturdays until about 6pm. But they are closed on Sunday. So this means two things. One, if you go out of town for the weekend, you are totally screwed if you need to buy anything for another week. Two, EVERYONE and I do mean that goes to the stores on Saturday. Not only that but they fill their carts with about 100 yogurts, walk extremely slow and manage to completely block every aisle or stare at a cleaning product for 5 minutes therey blocking me from getting my dish detergent AND generally have at least two bratty children or a dog in tow (the dog is ok with me). The store is not that big either.

So last weekend I was out of town and ran out of food last week. Literally. On Friday night I took stock of my fridge and cabinets. Here it is:

Cabinet - 1/2 bar of chocolate, 1 bottle white wine, 1 bottle champagne, italian seasoning. Yes that is it. But at least you know I have my priorities straight. Oh and paprika chips (a handful, and by the way they taste the same as barbeque. Completely fooled me into thinking they had something exotic over here).

Fridge - Lettuce (expired), carrot (expired), cucumber (expired), ONE egg (expired), milk (expired), broccoli soup (about a month old and I just opened it, covered in fur and white), butter, goat cheese (2 kinds), tiltser cheese (expired), parmasean cheese.

So I was totally covered in the way of condiments and desserts, but no actual food. Thankfully I did make it on Saturday and should be good for another week...unless I go snowboarding.

Which I will, because I went this weekend and it was amazing. More to come on that. The moral of this post is that you should be incredibly thankful for Jewel, Osco, 7-11 and etc!!