Switzerland day 3, or, pegleghippie kisses a Swiss bartender
May 21, 2008

She was hot guys.  Like, punk rock hot.  One arm entirely tattooed, long red streaks in the hair, at least 3 crazy belt buckles, totally amazing.  And at the end there, I was getting free drinks.

But you’re not here for that, you’re here for the hardhitting political commentary.  Ahem, here it goes:

My government professor on this trip is swiss, and her mother is the mayor of a small town.  Today, we went to visit the town.  Absolutely beautiful, dating back to the 16th century, and full of kind, happy people.  I could live there for the rest of my life in contentment.

First we toured the water cleansing facility, which is new and one of the most advanced in the world.  Basically the Swiss spring for super hitech, local solutions to deal with maintaining infrastructure, and it pays off in terms of good health, a clean environment, and a happy citiyenry.  The only thing I did not understand was the aesthetic upgrades that the water facility had: why make a utility pretty?  The director responded by saying, ”what speaks against it?  Pretty is better than ugly, it’s good for our psychology, and it didn’t really add anything to the cost.”  This spoke volumes:  First it considers a project’s social effects beyond that project’s intended purpose.  This is very forward thinking, and illustrates a long-term investment mindset.  Second, since the people themselves voted to have this sort of facility, it shows a citizenry that wants the best from it’s government, not the cheapest.

Next we ate at a little place next to the lake, and all I’m going to say is:  Best spaghetti I’ve ever had.  It was so good, I was considering moving here just so I could have it again.

Finally, we saw just how much power local Swiss government has.  Immigration is decided at the local level, by democratic decision of course.  Welfare and social services are also handled at the local level, with a focus on helping people to become self-sufficient and productive down the road.  Even refugees (‘asylum seekers’ is the proper term) are handled on the local level.  So Mayor Kempin, even though she only oversees 10,000 homes, has much more power than American mayors have.  And with the heavy democracy element, it’s a better system in every way:  better welfare, better education, better immigration, better utilities (especially water!).

One last thing about the town:  Our tour was conducted by the husband of one of the council members, a doctor from the local public hospital.  I hope I’m as excited about life and where I’m living once I reach his age.  He was jumping up buildings, going on about the town’s colorful history (everything from monks to slaves to revolution), and telling us stories about when our professor was a little girl.  hehe.

Which brings me back to tonight:  We started out like we did yesterday, drinking in the hotel room and playing cards.  We didn’t stay there, however, as we headed out towards a bar called ‘Con Tiki.’  This has to be the greatest bar in Zurich:  Loud german rock and hardcore hiphop downstairs, american rock and punk upstairs.  It was smoky, full of soccer fans, and seedy as hell.  I loved it.  We went upstairs, because it was less crowded.  That was where I found the hot bar tender.  One of my friends didn’t bring money, so I ended up buying her alcohol.  The bartender noticed this, and pressured me into buying all the alcohol for the girls.  Yeah, I’m a sucker for the right stare.  Then she started making out with some chick, so I figured it was all in vain, and started hitting the alcohol hard. 

But then things turned in my favor. We were basically drinking whatever she recommended, and she was drinking too.  Once closing time started to get near, she basically kicked everyone out but told me to stay to share a drink with her.  I was all, ‘holy shit what have I got into?’  and she knew she was in control.  I think she had me drink vodka mixed with I-don’t-know-what,  before I found my lips locked with hers.  She kept playing with my hair, talking about the need to buy drinks for non-pretty girls too, and how I could be less American.  Ok so she was drunk.  I don’t care, so was I.  It was all just a tease though, as she finally told me to come back to find her when I was five years older, and that it was time to close up. 

Oh well, it was still the best night yet ; )