Sunday, November 07, 2004

Why Yash Chopra makes his movies in Switzerland

After seeing the title, if u are thinking about Yashji'smovies and trying to recreate them through this pile of b******twritten below, there won't be a bigger dumb-ass than you. Just for thesake of the title, I have given a few good points about the beauty ofSwitzerland ( I guess!!).

To begin with, if u are too bored to read the entire story, I candescribe Switzerland in one word: Pure (am being ideal here :)). If ur patient enough, read on...

Was pretty excited about my first Onsite trip, though it was only for2 weeks. That too, if the client location is in Switerland, u havemore reasons to be excited. Well, I did not have the best of journeyswhile going. On the way to the airport, we had a small accident nearBangalore football Stadium with an auto for no fault of ours (auto,obviously!!), at a time when that place was swarming with autos.Somehow the driver made a settlement and dropped us at the airport ontime. Went inside to find that my flight was delayed by an hour. Iguess my mom was starting to get the creeps!! Met a group of softwareEngineers who were going to Zurich in the same flight as mine,befriended them and was with them till we boarded the flight inMumbai. My troubles continued in the flight when Kalpesh, the guysitting next to me in the flight, started talking to me. He was goingto Antwerp to a diamond industry. He asked me if I am going toBrussels. I told him, I am going to Basel, not Brussels. He started talking about Basel, told me he's heard a lot about it, and then askedme…Are u going to Brussels? Somehow explained him again. He kindareminded me of Dori, the fish with short-term memory loss in FindingNemo. He was a strict Jain and started complaining about the food,whatever they got him. Finally, they settled for 2 apples. I feelsorry for the airhostesses! All along, he was explaining some diamond manufacturing, which I never listened to. Morning, before alighting,he asked me, Brussels? My mind was half inclined to kill him, but I just said Basel and came out of the plane. Not the very best of starts for a journey to a place like Switzerland. And to think of that gorgeous Bangalore babe who was in the same flight to Mumbai andZurich and was sitting right in front of me! Anyways, Zurich airport is wonderful, u can never get lost, even if you want to! One thing I observed as soon as I came out was the no. of pet dogs. Every otherperson has a dog, and every third person in the airport gets his/her dog along! And I am really scared of dogs!! So lets forget this.
From Zurich to Basel, the train journey was just awesome! I saw theSwiss countryside for the first time and was really impressed, I had 2 other Indians for company and they were OK. Switzerland on a Sunday looks dead. Nobody comes out of their houses! Basel is a nice littletown, but can get boring after a period of time except summers where nice chicks walk around the Rhine river in bikinis or minis at themost ;-). Sadly, I could not witness that as it is nearing winter there. I wont describe my Office work here as it was hectic. Somehow,I managed to pass off the 5 working days.

My first day of sightseeing. Had 2 colleagues with me for company. We decided to go to Montreaux and then to Lausanne. Montreaux is a honeymooners paradise, they say. The train route is called Golden Pass route and the journey through the countryside was absolutely breathtaking!! You can see them in the first few photos I have taken from the train. We reached a place called Spiez where we had to change trains. This is one beautiful place! Check out the photo of the hill and the lake with boats and the chapel. The place is much better than what is shown in the photograph. Well, we had a train to catch and we took the train to Montreaux from there. The journey to Montreaux is also very beautiful, particularly as we near the place and get a glimpse of lake Geneva from the top. Montreaux is a nice little town,famous for shopping and the lake. It also has a chateau, where u get proper Swiss cheese. We couldn't go there though. The lake is supposedly 100 km wide and boats start from here to France and also from Lausanne and Geneva. After spending a few hours here, we took the train to Lausanne. This city is much better than Basel and is known for its numerous chapels and old style buildings. It also has an Olympic park. Check out the photos of the churches and the buildings there. By the time, we left Lausanne, it was almost 7.00 PM and the journey back was 4 hrs. Reached Basel and went straight to sleep, in anticipation of the next day's plan. Overall, had a great day.

The plan was to visit the Alps. All of my colleagues were busy and had to go to office, so I went alone. I first went to Interlaken, which is like a main junction to reach the different places in the Alps. I had3 options with me, there is a beautiful place called Lucern and from there, you can go to Mt.Titlis, highly recommended. The 2nd option is to a place called Meringein via Interlaken, a place famous for its deep gorges. The last option and the one I selected was to Jungfraujoch (spelt: Yöngfro), the top of Europe via Interlaken. It is around 3454m above sea level. The reason I selected this was because of the snow. A really beautiful place, u can see it for yourselves in the photos of the snow. The best part of Jungfraujoch was the ice palace. This place is completely made of Ice, the floor, the walls,and the sculptures inside. I went inside the palace wearing a casual shirt, jeans and a jacket. Boy! Did I freeze! The temp. was around1ºC. & my hands were totally numb! After the ice palace, I went out to the snow. It was a wonderful sight, snow everywhere around you.Sadly, there were no sledge rides then. (These are driven by a specific breed of dogs, just like the Eskimos). After a walk in the snow, I went in an elevator whose speed was around 150 kmph (not sure but I heard itsomewhere) that takes you to the topmost point of Europe. Saw almost a 100 Indians there, most of them Northis, but there were a few Kannadigas too! Dunno whether they were a part of a film troupe or something, but there were a few babes in that group. This place has a restaurant called Bollywood, where u get Indian food. Thanks to Yash Chopra for making this place popular.
After roaming around the place, finally, I took a train back to Basel via Berne, the capital of Switzerland. Had an unpleasant journey up to Berne where I was surrounded by ladies on all sides (aunties to be precise, except for two, one okay okay babe and other was a granny). Except for the granny, who slept all along, the others were just staring at me! I thought I am in some ladies compartment or something,but there were other guys also in there. Then I thought something's wrong with my face, nothing was wrong, I found out later. Something wrong with the ladies, I guess their adrenaline started flowing ;-). Another great day came to an end.

I didn't have much to see other than these two places except on Friday nights when I went to the movies with my colleagues. Guess what the names of the theaters are…Rex, Plaza, Kino, Symphony!! There is another theater, Capitol whose balcony is underground!
Gyan: Kino means theater in German.

In Switzerland, the shopkeepers also behave like Office goers and close shops at 5 PM everyday, except on Thursdays (closes at 8 PM),which is shopping day for us. They don't open on Sundays. So, went shopping on Thursday along with friends. There was also a carnival opposite to our office that was quite good. Bought so much chocolates that my bag tore in Mumbai and it had nothing but chocolates! Friday night, we saw the movie 'The Terminal' and we were generally teasing our friend about him getting stuck in Terminal A-67 like Tom Hanks in the movie. Well, the next day, when I was flying back, at the check-in, I found out my terminal to be A-67!! And at the terminal,they had given seat nos. to all except me!! Fortunately, one more Indian came along who gave me company there, as in even he did not have a seat no. still. Finally got in the end, it was a window seat and u can get one of the best views of the Alps from the plane amidst the clouds! I'd pay to see that again.

There are some "interesting" places also in Switzerland. One was opposite to our office, one near my apartment (This I completely missed out, all along till I final day, I was thinking it was a nice little home, saw the signboard on the last day. Damn!). Anyways, TV is boring there with mostly German channels except for CNN and BBC. After 12, it is verygood. ;-). If u have nothing to do, go to the heart of town to a place called Barfüserplatz and enjoy the crowd there with a hot cup of coffee or a cold beer.

Well, by and large, I have explained almost everything I did there.I'd love to go there again, but on a holiday and not from work. Lets hope. Anyways, wake up guys, story over! Get back to work!! but before that, Comments appreciated, either good or bad. Have spent 3 hrs writing this, atleast for the sake of it.

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