Sunday, May 08, 2005

Sequel

Hi there,

Here I am, back again to describe the sequel to my first article 'Why Yash Chopra....'. Those who have read the 1st part will be knowing about the things that happened last time, for those who haven't read...read them, lazy bums...I do not have the patience to do a recap. BTW, the old disclaimer should hold good for this also...be careful.

Well, to begin with, I was given another assignment in Basel and I was to go there for 1.5 months, I celebrated the news by attending Mark Knopfler's show the same day after giving an excuse in office. Unfortunately, my flight tickets and visa did not arrive on time and I had to postpone my trip by 4 days. I was patient enough and the big day came..again. No irritating passengers sitting next to me this time, thank god! (Part 1, remember), no babes either but :(.

Landed in Zurich without problems, took the train to Basel, had a seat when a girl in front of me who looked Indian invited me over to her seat. Turned out that she was a South African. Just chatted with her for some time and then both of us got bored. Anyway, the journey was only 1 hr, so no big deal.
After checking in to my apartment, refreshed myself and left for office. Had a good start there, 2 projects were signed off after UAT and it was treat time followed by onsite project party..Had the privilege of attending both onsite and offshore project parties! :) Got a chance to taste the "real" Black Forest icecream, Boy, that was good!! what we get here is crap after tasting that.

Highlight of the party: the large pizza ordered by my colleague and his wife which was meant for 2 according to the menu, but was actually meant for 10, according to its size!! 2 people had to carry it over to them. In the meanwhile, I made a foolish remark that I like olives ( I meant those tiny black olive pieces which we get here) and everybody started putting green olives (full fruit, not a piece) in my plate which tasted yuck!!

Well, more good news was to follow when i came to know we had 4.5 days holidays next week for Easter. So 7 of us decided to go to Lugano Friday morning, a beautiful place bordering Italy. As it was holiday season, we could not stay in proper Lugano, but we got a house in a place called Ponte Cremanaga, which was 5 mins from Italian checkpost. A beautiful house, planned superbly, we could never believe that it could hold 7 beds along with hall, kithen and bathroom from outer appearence! BTW, you can check the photo of the house and the places in the yahoo! link http://photos.yahoo.com/vikasyv_2000 and select Swiss Tour 2.

Lugano is a very beautiful place with Lake Lugano and few mountains which we could hike. Sadly, it was raining Saturday for most of the day, so our entire morning was confined to our house, sipping tea, playing games and having fun. Noon, we set out to the lake and took a walk to a place called Caslano along the lake and then we did a bit of hiking on one of the mountains, but could not do much as it was raining and it was slippery.

Sunday morning, we decided to go to Locarno, another beautiful place close to Lugano. From there, we decided to go to a place called Valle Maggia, which looked really good on the brochures. After getting down at the stop, we looked around for info. But as it was Easter Sunday and everything was closed, we had absolutely no clue as to where to go. Just walked around, found a nice river which was filled with stones and ice cold water..took some snaps and left the place by noon after lunch as we had to come back to basel by night. Overall, not much adventure, but a nice relaxing trip.
Some info: Switzerland does not have its own culture and generally will be similar to the neighbouring country to which the town or city is located. In Basel, everything is German, place is clean, dogs are polite etc...However, in lugano, everything is Italian, not so clean, dogs start barking etc...which reminds us of India.
Fart in Swiss Italian means Travel in English. I was really confused wherever I saw a bus stop in Locarno as I saw the message "Fart Locarno". Somehow I felt the atmosphere as not so good around...;)

Monday was a record day for me. I was in 3 different cities on the same day! Let me explain...In basel, there is an annual exhibition known as Baselworld where people all over the world(mostlyIndia and China) come to exhibit their diamond jewellery and watches. During this time, there is no accomodation available for us, so I had booked a hotel in a city called Olten, around 40 km from basel. (Takes 35 mins avg by train, still much better than travelling from my house to E-city by bus). So Monday morning, I had to checkout form my basel (count =1) apartment and travel to Olten(count++) with all my luggage. Checked in there, had lunch, had no clue as to what to do there and so I decided to go to Bern(count++). Bern is a beautiful city, in a U shape and bordered by a canal along the 'U' and a complete covered market. All along the city, there are fountains and monuments. At the end after crossing the canal, there is a small hill with a rose garden from where u can view the entire city...Awesome!
so after a nice journey, came back to Olten (to Basel for dinner, in effect, count = 5) in preparation for a long week ahead...

The next weekend was spent in Basel, roaming over the city, visited some Art museum, compared the last supper of Da Vinci with the paintings there. There is so much difference between them, like a holy "grail" in the middle, 13 men, no lady etc... that my respect for Da Vinci grew by leaps and bounds!!
I was in office as well on both days for sometime..so the weekend passed away without much action.

More to come later...First some feedback on this. till then
Adios!!
Comments:
I just saw that The Da Vinci Code was among your favourites. Perhaps you'd care to read my short story based on the novel and let me know what you think?
 
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