The Frogmarch

"I've got to pull up my stakes and roll, man." --Jean-Jacques Libris de Kerouac

Friday, November 27, 2009

Good things about Switzerland, #22 and 23

An actual Swiss person told me this joke:

Actual Swiss Person: "Do you know what we call a gathering of boring people in Switzerland?"
Me: " um... I dunno, my German's pretty bad..."
Actual Swiss Person: "Zurich."

Due to the proximity of Lyon to Switzerland, plus the fact that the headquarters of the organization I work for is in Geneva, Switzerland is the European country I have visited most often, after France. And it's a spectacular place... if you like mountains. If, like my wife, you don't see the appeal of mountains ("they're too snowy, plus you can fall off of them") then you are at the mercy of the famously clean-and-orderly-but-dull Swiss cities.

I had to take a business trip to Geneva for a conference, and although due to a busy schedule I didn't have much time to poke around and see things in the manner to which I've become accustomed (though I've already seen the usual tourist sights in Geneva), I can offer these data points in defense of Switzerland:

#22 [photo]: In Switzerland, you can buy Dr Pepper by the can. Also, "Cool American" Doritos, which I had to pick up, because, you know, Cool American... that's just how I roll.

#23: Even the junkies are orderly [photo: sharps receptacle in public restroom, Lausanne]

Also, I ran across a guy at the brewpub on Place Cornavin (where you can buy fresh-brewed beer by the 5-liter column) wearing a Carolina Hurricanes t-shirt. My first thought was that he might have been a fan of the Canes' Swiss former backup netminder Martin Gerber... then, after further reflection, I realized that he might have actually been Martin Gerber.

Oh, and in Lausanne there's this big wooden tower that looks like the Seattle Space Needle if it had been built by Ewoks. So it's got that going for it. [photo]

Friday, November 20, 2009

The French Can, In Fact, Take A Joke

Poster for the Terry Gilliam retrospective going on this month at the Institut Lumiere here in Lyon. Yes, I've seen Sacre Graal! approximately fifty-'leven million times, but I might go just to see how they subtitled that scene.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The (Richard) Petty Bourgoisie*

More French car-show goodness. If you needed any more evidence that the cultural-exchange relationship between France and America is complicated... just click on these photos to enlarge. I keep finding things in these pictures that I didn't notice before. Those NASCAR hats are going for 25 euros (about $38), and there's no price tag on the Dale Earnhardt action figure (if you have to ask...).

*"The Richard Petty Bourgoisie" is an absolutely spectacular name for an alt-country band. So spectacular that when I get back to Chapel Hill I'm going to buy a Telecaster and a bolo tie, learn some Charlie Rich-style countrypolitan tunes, and start a band just so I can call it that. Don't steal my idea; I know it's tempting.