Thursday, July 14, 2005

Sequel to the sequel

So many days have gone past since I wrote the 1st part of my 2nd trip experience to Switzerland. Frankly speaking, I myself have forgotten what happened in the rest of the trip. But I am completing this for the sake of completeness, and also for the very small percentage of people who seemed interested. I have tried my best. This one is a real test for my memory.

so where did we end last time?
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hmmm...ok
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So after having visiting the art museum and all, the next week was spent with me most of the time in office, many time going out for dinner and then coming back to work till 1 AM types, though we went bowling one night and it was awesome! The bowling alleys are dark but the pins, the ball glow in the dark and it is quite a different experience from the amoebas and the megabowls here.(Latest News Update: Infy Mysore also has a similar bowling alley now!)

The next weekend, we went to Luzern for a boat ride in lake Luzern. This is one awesome place, the lake and the boat ride. During the ride, there are many mountains like Mt.Pilatus, Titlis etc... and the scenery is breathtakingly beautiful. By this time, I had bought a digicam but took my normal camera that day which had only 10 shots left, thinking it just a lake and some scenery, more than enough. One of the biggest mistakes of my life. Anyways, our boat dropped us at a place called Vitznau if I remember right. From there it continues till Brunnen, another beautiful place with a small village along the lake and a Fjord formation. We thought of roaming around in Vitznau for an hour, maybe sit in a pub or cafe till the boat comes back and then catch it to head back home.

In Vitznau, we saw this small cogwheel train and we were interested. When we enquired, they said it is a mountain train and goes to another mountain, Mt.Rigi. We decided to take that train and take the next ship after 1.5 hours as we still had lot of time and it was around 4 PM still. Now, how can I forget this place. If heaven was on earth, it would be there, atleast for some time!
As the train goes up, since it is ascending a mountain at an angle, everything looks inclined outside, the mountains, lake, everything! and what a beautiful view of the lake and mountains! Terrific!We spent some time in Rigi and decided to come back by cable car which was operating that time. and that is another wonderful experience, as it comes down, you feel you are falling down! Anyway, we came down and took the boat, and this boat was unique. It was working on the piston-shaft principle which made the turbines to rotate and take the boat forward. and these were not small, they were huge. Not as huge as those shown in Titanic, but relatively huge. The boat itself was pretty big and we could call that a mini ship, with 2 decks, cafetaria etc....Then we took the train back to Basel after getting down the boat in Luzern, bringing an end to a wonderful weekend.

Again, the week was filled with loads of work, and I had to interact daily with someone from the client side, who acted like a joker, and a guy from a rival company also providing part of services to the same client. This client guy was really strange, and dumb. He works only from Monday to Wednesday and is off on the other days. And on these 3 days, he wears the same set of clothes, a red Corduroy shirt and a cream Corduroy pant and sneakers. And he was wearing the same dress for 3 continuous weeks, and also for the next 3 weeks, my friend there told me. I think he spends the long weekend washing them. On the other hand, the rival company guy was speaking in a tone more monotonous than a robot, and was very irritating. We used to hate him big time.

During this week, one of my colleagues was looking for a house and had the following conversation over the phone with someone he thought was a house owner, the no. he got from the net somehow.
C - colleague, O- other person on the phone (he was speaking in broken english, with european accent of course, but I am mentioned more or less what we heard)
C - Hi, I am looking for an apartment
O - ok, you need an apartment!
C - yes. I work in Hammerstrasse and I am looking for something close by..
and the conversation went on for some 5-8 mins and we could not understand anything.
..after some time...
C - ok, I want to come and see the apartment today
O- Yes. you can come today!
C - Thank you. What is the rent for the apartment? the cost?
O - Ok, the cost is 35 CHF (swiss francs)
C - 35 CHF!!! (thinking - either this is a steal in broad daylight or something's gone terribly wrong)
C - ok. Is this a house for rent?
O - No, this is a hairdressing saloon.
by this time, we were all ROTFL while he was looking like a fool!
C - I am sorry. I do not want the apartment.
O - Oh. I am sorry you had to cancel the appointment.
Moral of the story: Listen carefully, learn local language, don't trust the internet for everything.

Another instance.
This happened to me when I went to a shop having a sale on bags and suitcases. I just wanted to know how long the sale will be held.
M - Me, S - shopkeeper
M - Guten Mitaak (good afternoon)
S - Guten Mitaak
M - English?
S - Nein. (No)
M - Ok. Ich (I) need large bag. (I am not good in German. I just know some basic words)somehow she understood bag and started showing me some bags
M- No sale, no sale. how many tagen rabat? (how many days discount)
dumbass she is, she did not understand that.
S - Rabat? Yes, rabat..this one, this one (in german)
M- Noooo! no sale. HOW MANY TAGEN RABAT?
S - Rabat? Yes, rabat on this one (and she started showing me those bags again)
after a few more tries in asking her and failing, I was fed up, my friend was laughing at my plight, the shopkeeper was very confused and I decided to chuck that and come after a few days and buy it off if the sale was still being held.
A little gyan: Wie viele (pronounced Vee feealay) is the german equivalent for how many. I learnt later.

Well, back to my "adventures". I had one more weekend left in Switzerland and I knew I won't get another chance, atleast for the time being as I was planning to resign on coming back. So we decided to visit some place that weekend. We had planned on Meiringen, a very beautiful place with deep gorges and the Riehenback falls, where Sherlock Holmes dies according to the book. But as the weathermen predicted rain in that area, we decided to go to another place called Appenzall or Appenzellerland. Now, I remembered seeing this name somewhere but could not remember where. I got the answer recently when i was checking some old mails and this place was part of a mail whose subject line was something like "Some places you need to see in your life", along with some other beautiful places in the world.

Now, this place is a very traditional place. You get to see the traditional swiss culture only in this place. The houses, the streets, the restaurants, all are quite different from ones in Basel, Zurich etc..There is greenery everywhere. A really beautiful place and a must see for all those who have planned a trip to Switzerland for a few days. This place has got some good restaurants but they are different from the other conventional ones, though we did find a Pizzeria onthe way back. The menu was in German and from the words, it lokked like only ham, pork, veal etc.. available there. Luckily, one restaurant had a small veg menu also and some of us veggies ordered spring rolls (one of the best I have eaten so far), while one of them ordered thai rice (same thing), veg curry and banana chutney which was available!!
Highlight of the day: I was posing for a snap in my digicam (this time I was not so stupid) in front of a huge field and I knelt down and caught hold of a wire for support. It turned out to be a live wire fence! Luckily, it was Sunday and it was switched off!! (wonder why?). Anyways, I would have been dead meat that day and this story would never have been written...

The last week in office was to be my last onsite assignment week from Infy and there were some celebrations, some treats from my side (Those guys demand treat for everything. I almost ended up treating breakfast, lunch and dinner for 3 continuus days!). Work was hectic though. My last day was pretty tough as I took some time off in the evening to buy the chocolates and the suitcase and so I had to work late to finish it. Worked till 10.30 PM, then left to a pub where my friends were waiting, sat there till 12 AM,went towards home but my colleague who stayes in the same building in another floor invited us for some tea, sat there talking and sipping tea till 1.30 AM till my colleague got bored and threw us out as she wanted to sleep, then me and my friend contemplated on going to those "interesting" places but we decided otherwise as I had to catch the 6 AM train to Zurich and I still had not packed. Was done with packing by 3.30 AM, slept till 5.00 and left home by 5.30 to the railway station to head back home.Had a lot of problems coming back like excess baggage, army knife in cabin baggage etc...but finally I reached home safely (not before having a small accident on good ol' Mysore road), thus bringing an end to an amazing trip.

Whew! I have remembered most of it! Thanks for being patient!! :)

Vikas
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