Another Writer Visiting Switzerland (December 10, 2005)
I just found a great list by Terry Fong titled Surprising
Things about Switzerland. Almost everything is dead on with my
experience, as far as I know. I'll try out his trick of shopping at
Ah, well, there are a few differences. Specifically:
- None of my friends seem to think the US has a low cost of living.
I and the other American in my lab frequently mention that things
are 50%-100% higher here and no one differs.
- I have never seen anyone buy a bus ticket from the driver, and that
includes Lausanne, Geneva, and Berne. Instead, every bus
stop has an automated coin machine... and I've seen these machines
decline to give change back.
- My apartment does not seem to have permanent assigned laundry;
instead, you have to ask again each week.
- He's right about cashiers at most places that handle serious
money. Not only are they behind thick glasses, but you exchange
things with them by putting them on this rotating dais that
they control. An exception, I'm happy to say, is the
BCV bank. They actually have that local-bank feeling, just
like in TV commercials, and part of that is that you do not
have a wall of plexiglass between you.
- The mosquitoes are not dumb -- they are dead. It's
- EPFL students perfectly well want to get rich, at least comparing
EPFL grad students versus Georgia Tech grad students. Surely,
though, this depends on what kind of people you hang out with.
- I've stayed at two hotels in Lausanne and never been asked to
leave my passport. The closest thing to this is that for buying
a cell phone plan, even a passport is not enough, but you have
to present a Swiss ID card!
As for "here here!"'s :
- Yeah, not only do restaurants serve in glasses marked in sizes, but
they are always marked in deciliters or centiliters. Swiss children
must get really good intuition about volume sizes!
- I didn't know about the bomb shelter restriction. I was wondering
why it is so ubiquitous to have storage in a bomb-shelter-like
basement. Terry says they are actually bomb shelters!
- Yeah, it was really weird going to a Mexican restaurant and getting
really shi shi food! On the other hand, the Dynasty in Lausanne
has cheap (by Swiss standards) Asian food.
- Recycling is not big among the people I hang out with. It seems
no bigger here than in the States.