Friday, February 17, 2012

Willkommen Bienvenue Welcome

Hallo an alle!

Salut tout le monde!

Hello everybody!

As you can see, I'm actually now completely fluent in English, French, AND German! Geneva can have that effect on you. SPEAKING of Geneva, guess where I was this weekend! Well, hmm . . . that probably wasn't the best way to set that one up. But I was in Geneva this weekend! And I was all by myself (for the most part)! And it was super fun (for the most part)!


Impatient reader: "Molly, it's been like a week. What's the hold up?"

Worrisome reader: "Molly, I'm concerned that I haven't heard from you in several days. Are you dead?"

Aggressive reader: "POST SOMETHING!"

Passive aggressive reader: "I'm fine. It's whatever."

So I apologize for my lack of blogging "punctuality." But the fault is not my own.

Remember when I told you that the internet connection was über screwy in my residence? That they would be cutting it off "in a few days?" Well, that screwiness hasn't really been working in my favor recently. Basically, the internet changed its mind and told us we would have a free connection for the month of February, and then it decided to jump ship a few days ago. (The signs of depression were always there--the moodiness, the empty promises, the bipolar tendencies--but I only realize it now, and it seems I'm too late.)

Fortunately for us all, Neonet came to the rescue! So I'm thinking (fingers crossed) that the connection is "stable" for now.

But I guess I should talk about Geneva for a little bit. Yeah? Yeah.

Well it all started reeeeally early Friday morning. Mary and I raced down to the bus stop at about 5h30, laughing out loud at how much we felt like we were on the Amazing Race. I'm telling you! That little jaunt to the bus stop at the buttcrack of dawn is eerily similar to the tv program, except you don't win money and there aren't any Harlem Globetrotters chasing you.

We parted ways at the airport (Mary to India, and I to Sweetzerland), and I arrived at the terminal about 2 hours early with the passengers of the flight before mine and some anxious-looking Asian tourists. I frequently fall victim to overestimation.

Just as a general thing, I find airports turn even the sanest Europeans into unfeeling Ricky Bobby space drones (oh, sorry, Reeky Bubby space drones). The "if ya ain't first, yer last" mentality is just everywhere. My thinking: (smart science people can prove this) in the event of a plane crash, the back of the plane is statistically safer than the front. It's just a thought.

 Good morning, Swees. How does it feel to be majestic?

The minute we landed it became unbearably clear what would haunt me for the rest of the trip. The cold. Now, I don't know if you guys have ever been cold before, but I suspect you haven't. I hadn't. But I have now. Ohhhh I have.

Basically I felt like I was having a stroke all the time. My face was constantly numb and droopy, my extremities were extra tingly, and I may or may not have suffered some brain damage.

I am the epitome of attraction.

Once in Geneva, I had planned on wandering around until check-in at the hostel. But I couldn't. "Go-Go-Gadget-Cro-Magnon-Instincts!" I had to find warmth. So I walked into the first café I saw, ordered something off the wrong menu, and watched a guy play Wii golf on the indoor putting green (having mini heart attacks every time he thwacked the ball causing the terrier ringwraith next to me to shriek in pain). But it was warm.

But I decided it was pathetic to sit in a café for 4 hours. So I picked up, paid for my lunch-breakfast, trekked out into the elements, and navigated my way to the United Nations building.

It was actually the easiest thing ever.
(Just call me "One-Shot Molly." All I need is one photo and I can't feel my fingers.)

Now, finding the visitors' entrance to the UN building, that took some navigational skills that I simply do not possess. The gate guard told me it was 500 meters to the left. But I have no idea how much is a meter. So I figured:

"Okay. I'm, what, 2 meters tall? So if there were 250 me's lying head to foot on the ground . . . no I've totally walked farther than that."

Turns out I hadn't. And I managed to figure that out just in time to miss the last tour.

But I'm not too torn up about it.


That night, after checking into the hostel and thwarting Jack Frost with a battle axe spirit, I decided to go to a play downtown! (Geneva is very good at advertising little fun things to do when you have no friends.) I was going to go to King Lear, but then I remembered how horribly unfun that would be.

So I bought a ticket for a "comedy" play called Le Plaisir d'Être Honnête (The Pleasure of Being Honest). It's about a woman who is pregnant with the baby of a married man. To dispel this inherent shame, the woman's lover and mother hire a stranger to marry her. Then there's a whole lot of French introspection crap that really doesn't make sense in the context of a comedy. Thus bringing me to my point. This play was horrible.

Now, I can understand the benefits of a simple backdrop and minimal props and accessories, and I can forgive you for having 6 chairs that don't match, and I can even forgive you for overusing the sound people, adding music in unnecessary and frankly confusing moments, but I can't forgive you for casting the uncomfortable Shrek-looking guy with the lady-voice and creepy smile that just wouldn't quit. And I'll just go ahead and add that dressing him in the maroon-heather, gold-lined trench coat with matching pants and too-tight white floral button-up only made my affinity for him jump off the side of a cliff in mass suicide.

But I survived. I mean it was only three hours of periodically staring pensively into the audience which I find to be the theatrical equivalent of looking into the camera, but what do I know? And I think this is rather common practice in the French thee-ah-tah.

The only part of the play that I even liked a little was when a huge chunk of the scenery fell off at the audience but then crumpled at the last minute. (Right where I was sitting in the front row....) Well played, French dramaturgs. Well played.

Oh! I found pictures!

Okay see those giant white squares on the left side against the wall?
That's what fell into the audience.

And, still, I don't find Mr. Bean very funny.

Look how pensive. This is not funny.
So that was the first day.

Day 2 was fraught with adventure and negative temperatures. (To increase the amount of time I could stand to be outside, I had to be innovative. I brought three outfits with me to Geneva and wore two of them everyday. Let's just say I wasn't the cutest girl roaming the streets of Geneva that weekend, but I also wasn't the coldest. So I'll take it.)

First I went to Place Neuve where I happened upon the Parc des Bastions, which was really neat.

Occupy Geneva is a far cry from "on the up and up."

But my favorite part was the trash cans. And it's way less disgusting than it sounds.

And the winner is:
Braces. Definitely braces.

I counted 27 graffitied trash cans in total. And I took a picture of every one. Some were slightly offensive, others blatantly racist. But, I guess, if you're throwing your garbage in them . . . maybe it's metaphorical. Like "racism is garbage." I can live with that.

Also in the park was "Le Mur des Reformateurs" (The Reformation Wall).

This brings something to mind.

Then I found a set of about 5-6 giant chess sets buried under some snow and ice.

Knight to H-3!

(A brief side note: it took me 6 tries to get this picture. By the end I couldn't even bend my fingers. The things we sacrifice . . .)

This dog was chasing ice. And it was lovely.

Then I somehow ended up in the Old Town in front of Saint Pierre's Cathedral.

Then I wandered back down around the city for a bit, eventually hopping on the tram for a grand tour with a heating system.

Horloge Fleurie (Flower Clock)--kind of depressing, isn't it?

The sad little place where the Jet d'Eau would have been.

I also found a "Bob l'Éponge" museum by the lake!

That's right.

I then met up with one of my dad's old work friends who lives in Geneva, Fred Clarke. He's a photojournalist working with groups like the ICRC, People on War, and other international organizations, capturing images of war and humanitarian efforts all around the globe. It's all very fascinating and high-octane.

I had 3 cups of coffee that day. To stay warm. Caffeine does not behave normally in my system.
Day Three

After checking out of the hostel, I met back up with Fred, and we walked down to the Lac Léman (the lake) on the side that I had not seen yet. And for obvious reasons.


Photo cred: Fred (hehe)


It was a veritable winter wonderland. You know when you get so cold that your outside stops shivering and your inside starts? I had me the inside shivers. But it was so worth it.

To end, I've decided Robert Frost lived in a warmer climate. It is generally unwise to traverse the road "less traveled by" in an icy situation.

But maybe, rather, it's the roads medium traveled by that we need to watch out for. The ones that are packed down just enough, unfrozen and refrozen so many times that the "less traveled by" snow has become the "medium traveled by death ice."

Robert Frost was wise beyond his years.

Amitiés :)

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