Hitchhiking in Switzerland

16 Swiss People, Hurling Babies, and "Business" = Sex with Whores

I visited Switzerland in spring last year. Since none of the cheap European airlines fly Brussels <-> Zurich (my main destination), I had to fly into Geneva. My roundtrip ticket only cost 80 Euros (EasyJet), but a train from Geneva>Zurich was around 150 euros round trip.

= EFF that so I decided to hitchhike.

hitchhiking signs

First car = POLICE VAN. I tried to hitch near an on-ramp to the motorway (the only road going to zurich near the geneva airport is a massive motorway). I waited for an hour, nothing. So i entered the motorway and walked along, hoping to find a better spot. Little did I know that there was nothing for the next 15 kms. But, thankfully I only had to walk a bit before a police van picked me up because it is illegal to hitchhike and even walk on the motorway (I was walking on the side, on the grass, but anyways). Instead of giving me a ticket though, they were nice. They drove me to the next town and dropped me off in a good spot where I caught a ride in 1 minute.

Hans, a semi-truck driver who was the first to pick me up (other than the police).

He spoke only Swiss-German (natively) and French. Through our broken French conversation for 3 hours or so, I learned he has been a driver in Europe for 20 years. He drives for around 10 hours a day, 6 days a week, despite having three kids (whom I get the feeling he hardly sees).

When I asked him if he often picks up hitchhikers, he answered no because of dangers that have spilled over into the country from conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. He said he once picked up a Yugoslavian who got in the truck and punched him in the face.

This was the most luxurious ride I had. I don't know shit about cars so I can't say what kind it was, but it shone in the sun and didn't stink of cabbage. This man drove me from Bern to Zurich. He told me about the country's castles and taxation system and recounted tales of getting speeding tickets in younger years as a motorcyclist.

He explained that working 35 hours like the French is not enough working time to allow Swiss companies to be competitive. He works 50 hours or so a week. When I asked him if Switzerland has any major social problems and he said there is a high suicide rate among businesspeople.

This reminded me of Japan and perhaps one major drawback of the well-oiled commercial machine: a person's life can become purely a unsatisfying means devoted to an end beyond itself. I guess that's alienation.

Jail for piss

Switzerland is EXPENSIVE. 1 Swiss Franc is basically being equal to 1 Canadian dollar, but shiz was nowhere near the same price. BK whopper (at the airport) = 14 francs! The horseshit of food, a freaking KEBAB, was 11 francs!

To combat the high prices, I was told that the Swiss salaries are generally fairly high. Still, it's murdar for tourists.

Switzerland is beautiful, efficient, safe, clean and luxurious, however. As far as commercial societies go, honestly, Switzerland is probably the best the human race can do.

Luxemburgerli tree

The United Nations Headquarters

this guy was easily the oldest dude at the hiphop club by 30 years. He went up to me and mumbled some shit in swizz-german. All I heard was "USED CONDOM!!!!".

Swollen Members were touring in Switzerland when I was there.

We gave strawberries to little kid on the right and he "accidentally" threw one right into my friend's face.

My friend on the left, Gabz, and his wife. I stayed with in Winterthur (outside of Zurich).

I met Gabz in 2000 in Koh Samui, Thailand. Like many Swiss I met, he has traveled extensively and has a good range of hobbies. He is a now public employee. With more holidays, a 42-hour work week, and weekly tai-chi classes, he should be able to avoid suicide with no problem. Great guy with a good laugh. Style still the same. His wife moved to Switzerland around four years ago from Honduras.

I had to leave on Sunday so I missed a big Zurich festival and holiday on Monday where they burn a massive booger.

I asked him about health insurance in Switz, and he said that he pays something like 200-300 Francs per month for public health care. This made me feel like a whiner for complaining about the 46$ I had to pay monthly when in B.C.

I asked my friend's wife about the businessmen who come to stay at the luxury hotel she works at. She said they almost always have 'someone' come and spend the night with them. I wonder if they get escorts, or if their night visitors are product of their business-skills in the singles game. The former, I imagine.

In Geneva, I saw some insane prada-blvrgari-douche&gabana-dipped women walking with (older 40/50-something) businessmen. The girls were so hot that they probably wouldn't look at me if I set myself on fire.

Thai family who drove me from Winterthur>Bienne. The driver listens to Tracy Chapman, which was good. She married a Swiss 4 years ago and immigrated. She has since divorced and now runs her own Thai massage parlor (likely related to this album's theme: "Business" in Switzerland). She dreams of going to Australia in a few years to study English.

She told me if I had to go to the bathroom she would open a window for me to piss out of.

This kid, Chris, HURLED all over himself 5 minutes after we took off. White clam-chowder-looking chunks full of macdonalds french fries (maybe not a good diet for a 1.5 year old kid?). It wasn't barfing, or puking. It was archetypical hurling. He just opened his mouth and white chunks billowed out. We had to pull over and wash him off. Minutes after getting back in the car, he hurled again. Now there was no more clothes to wear so he rode naked for the rest of the ride.

The girl was hot, but I couldn't tell if she was 12, 18, or 22. She was dressed sluttily and I assume she worked at the massage parlor.

I had said that one of the things I didn't like about Bangkok was the badgering of street vendors. She told me that in Thailand they do that because their life depends on it. They either make money or die. She impressed me with this comment.
She said the big benefit for them in Switz is the luxury of social assistance.

 
 
This secretary drove me from Grenchen to Bienne. It was a short drive and she didn't say much.
 
 
My friend Julien whom I met skating in Tokyo. He's a museum curator and he's doing his PhD in the ethnography of images in skateboarding culture.

Life in Bienne seemed relaxing. His apartment was amazing — lakefront with a big garden. Big parks and beaches nearby.

I was amazed by how my friends were living legitimate lives — they had nice apartments, wives/girlfriends, jobs. Their places even had art, bookshelves, etc. The contrast was striking to the rotting shithole in which I rested my head in Leuven.

I asked Julien what Switz's biggest social problem, and he said there really isn't one. He could only mention that there is a controversial law that allows "dancers" (aka escorts, strippers) to easily come to Switz and work for 3 years. As a centre for business and politics and the great minds that come with it, i gather there are many interests involved in the support of the 'dancer visa'.

 
Even in Switzerland, for some, life is pain.
 
 
George drove me from Bienne to Lachatel. In the 1980s, him and his wife bought a campervan and traveled in the Americas north to south for THREE whole years. Wild. Swiss money goes a long way.
 
 
Sebastian gave me a ride from Lachatel to Nyon. He is a specialist in nanotechnology who works as a parts-researcher for a watchmaking company. Fast driver who works 42 hours a week. His wife stays home and looks after their 4 month old kid.
 
 
Gilles drove me 20 minutes or so further towards Zurich. He has recently become unemployed because his accountant job being outsourced to India. He probably had the least luxurious car I saw in Switzerland, which would still be an average-looking car in Canada. Nice guy and very friendly.
 
 
Asis and Isabelle delivered me to Zurich. I think they are married although the match seems abnormal.

What is love?

 
 
So, my flight was at 6:40am on Tuesday (the first one was canceled due to volcanic ash). Since I figured it would have been impossible to get to the airport for check in time (5am), I slept at the airport. I thought it would be a party, but there were only a few people.

Next day I realized I could have gotten a free room from Easyjet, had I just gone to the airport when the counter was open. shiiet. Got a room for Tuesday night.

This giant chair is near the UN Headquarters. "Broken Chair". It symbolizes the people worldwide who have been handicapped by landmines.

 
hot swiss burlesque dancer / stripper
 
This girl has some good fashion ideas. Later for that.

So I go out on my last night in Zurich. I saw some dude skating, so I asked a guy near him if it was legal to drink beer on the streets after 9pm (since I was drinking a tall can). (I ask because minimarkets can't sell alcohol after 9 in Geneva). They guy said yes it's fine. But he was some kinda drug-dealer, and not a skater. The following conversation ensues (in French)

-"You want ecstacy?coke?Heroine? " (non, non, je veux rien)
-"You american???" (no)
– "You a racist? Huh? Racist??" (non, pas de tout)
– "You rich, eh?? Give me 3 francs!!" (non, je suis une etudiante. j'ai pas d'argent pour toi")
– "Give me 500 francs! Give me a million or i'll kill you!!"

Nice. so i just walked away and he did too. I remember in '98 in Marseille I had a similar experience with some Morroccan guy. I don't know if this dude was from the same place, but there seems to be a good supply of these sketchy dudes that are full of hate in French-speaking cities.

So on the previous night I had met some black banker from the Bahamas named Robert at an Irish pub. Then, on the last night I run into him walking the streets, so I joined him. He said he wanted to go to the street with 'a lot of beautiful girls' on it. (a.k.a. hookers). So i accompanied him. We find the area. These girls are pretty gnarly — not the ones rich businessmen are ordering from some VIP catalogue. He said he was just looking but after awhile he found an African one from Martinique. He says "Wow, she is really beautiful". I don't know if it was beauty. Maybe the fact that she was wearing the miniskirt from BBD's POISON video — anyway I let him talk with her in his broken French privately and then he agrees to go off to her hotel for 100 francs.

He says goodbye and does his "business" and I go to this bar that a normal Swiss guy recommended because it was cool and open unti 5am. I go there and it was rad. Burlesque show, magicians, ring-flipper girl, and puppeteers (I only uploaded the raddest photo above). The magician gave me some balloon-animal that I later left in the urinal.

I went home and caught a few hours of sleep before going to the airport at 5am the next morning only to wait 7 more hours until i finally get the eff outta dodge after missing 2 days of school in the natural-beautiful-expensive business haven of switzerland because of a freak VOLCANIC ASH INCIDENT FROM ICELAND.


MY EASTER – THE END
 

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