Swiss Cheese

Switzerland

I couldn’t sleep all night.  You know when you HAVE to be up early there is no way what so ever you can miss it.  I am referring to my all so important international flight going to Switzerland. So I decided to stay up all night and then just sleep on the plane. Sure, that sounded like a really good idea.  I ended up sleeping a total of 2 hours.  And did those last two go by really fast. Everything was going clockwork.  No hassles at DIA, no wait times, smooth sailing.  Except that the plane seemed unusually small.  And I am a small person, so if I am complaining you know that it has to be bad. I couldn’t even cross my legs.  I slept for like an hour or two. I was also in the middle. About an hour or so into the flight, I had to go.  I had woken up and didn’t remember where I was, and then I really felt that I needed to go. And of course, the buckle your seatbelt light was on. That lasted a whole four minutes before I shoved my way out into the crackerjack box lavatory.  Luckily there was no line since the seatbelt light was on.   While I was in the light came off and there was a crap load (literally) of people waiting to use the lavatory.  Lucky me.  That flight was only 5 hours and I was asleep for 2 of it. Not bad.

The next stop was Dulles International Airport.  Got there on time. No sweat.  However, the plane was having issues.  I’m not an airplane mechanic and I guess no one there was either as they finally flew in another plane.  2 hours later I am climbing into a ginormous 777. I had an aisle seat and there was enough overhead so I didn’t have to have anything under the front of my seat. Beautiful. The flight wasn’t full, and there were empty seats everywhere. So many people moved around. The little ole lady behind me had 2 empty seats next to her.  Next time I am just buying two seats next to each other.  It still would be cheaper than a first class or business ticket. $18,760 for one first class ticket. $1265 for coach.  Then I could totally lay down in two seats.  It actually was pretty comfy for me.  Tron was playing over and over until around 2 am. I brought my portable DVD player for entertainment.  I won it free at at&t.  It plays for 13 hours on one charge. So I finally got to start watching White Collar.  I have had the DVD’s from Netflix at my house for over a month.  I got through the first disk and I really like it.  If I am not mistaken I think it is still on the air. So I didn’t get as much sleep as I thought I was going to.  Did I mention I was on my way to Frankfurt?  So the plane was full of military people. Military people are always very polite.  So we made it to Frankfurt almost on time, but too late to make the next flight.  Wonderful.  I ended up camping out on 3 chairs and slept for at least a good 2 hours, and I sure did need it. There is a picture of me zonked out. The last plane was a very long puddle jumper.  I couldn’t even get my carry on above in the overhead. The lovely attendant let me just put it in the back in an empty seat. I then conked out another hour as we flew into Basel Switzerland.  Oh, I almost forgot to mention I went through customs in Frankfurt, not Basel.  AND I had to go through security all over again. What a F’in pain in the neck! Literally, my neck was hurting from the airplanes.

I was still just absolutely exhausted after the flight.  Like all I could think of is “Oh my god, when can I close my eyes again?” I couldn’t fall asleep in my Mercedes Benz taxi ride.  I needed to take as many pictures as I could so I will remember everything. I am really into European style architecture, so my goal was to get as many pictures as I could so I could put them all into a digital picture frame to remember the trip.  What a great idea right? Today I took 154 pictures.  I would like to take at least 100-200 pictures per day. I have an 8 meg memory card that takes 39,000 pictures at .3 megapixels.  The pictures I took today are really good quality. I figured it would be a lot easier to upload smaller photos from my iPad since I only have a 50 meg international data plan.  The hotel and the cruise ship both have free wifi, but I won’t be in those hotel or ship most of the time. And since I am mostly taking these to share and remember I probably won’t be printing too many of them. And if I did, I can just edit the resolution in Photoshop.

I later got my wish and I was crashed out in my European decorated hotel room in the Radisson. I woke about 5 or 6 hours later and went and then went out to explore more of the town at night and also to get something to eat. The night time crowd is certainly different, but it is a Friday night.  I have noticed that people are very friendly to me.  But I always smile at strangers.  Because before you were my friend you were a stranger.  I can’t speak any Swiss, and I smile and tell the stranger that I only speak English and then I am an American.   Almost everyone can speak English as a second language.   I realized just HOW uneducated Americans are that we can only speak English.  They teach it in the schools at a very young age.  I of course keep me being me, and I talk and laugh like I am back home.  Just for fun I have been doing much more flirting with the strangers.  I figure I’ll never see them again so what hurt can a friendly little hi or a stray wink do?

The only snafu besides missing a flight is that my iPhone/iPad charger seems to no longer want to function.  I felt raped at the airport kiosk as I forked over my American Express platinum card. Little did I know this was only a preview of what was to come of the foreign exchange rate(s). It is very expensive here.  A normal $20 dinner at Applebees turns into $65 francs/euros.  The cell phone carriers are Swisscom and Orange.  I looked at a lot of the unlocked GSM phones that would accommodate my AT&T sim card very easily.  iPhone of course is the most popular and can be found on either carrier.  Yes, all the carriers have iPhone. The service is much higher and you only get a gig of data. Unlimited text, voice and 1 gig is about $120 Euro.  Everyone is always on their phone and everyone smokes here.  I did consider buying a Cuban cigar and smoking it here, just so I can experience it.  I am just fear that I will want to start smoking again after this trip.  Sometimes , actually lots of times, I get a whiff of a cigarette and it smells so good.  I wonder what the mortality rate is for the Europeans.  And also you only have to be 18 to drink. So there are literally these little kids drinking and smoking all over outside.

Well that’s all for now. Tomorrow is going to be a train trip to Lucerne.  I of course will try to take as many photos as possible.  Here are the one’s so far. https://picasaweb.google.com/101432766406810679887/Europe2011Switzerland?authkey=Gv1sRgCLSDh9rB5cDcnAE