Sunday, June 14, 2009

Walking around Lake Geneva

Lots of stuff to backtrack on, but I'll start with today:

Because it's Sunday today, virtually everything in Geneva is closed - including supermarkets. I guess John Calvin's presence remains exceptionally strong. Some, but not all, restaurants and cafes are open, so this means that lunch and/or dinner will remain a kitchen job.

In fact, most things in Geneva close around 7pm on weekdays, which is actually pretty surprising for me. I mean, coming from the Midwest, on a weekday night I might hang out at the mall...which closes at 9 or 9:30pm. That is, the reason behind the early closings is for owners and employees to have time to relax with their family - which is a good reason, except for the fact that many people in Geneva are not from the area and as young adults, don't have family around. (I promise this isn't just me. Though, it probably means you'll see an influx of blog posts here on Sunday mornings in the U.S.)

My first few days in Geneva have consisted of exploring the town. Very surprising: I haven't eaten any Swiss chocolate (I've bummed Romanian chocolate off of my roommate, though, and it was necessary: the brand is called Heidi). Less surprising: I've substituted my chocolate consumption with a healthy dose of bread. My first meal here was tomato and brie (not mozzarella, as I discovered on my first bite) on a baguette.

Rolls, baguettes, crusty loaves: my breakfast is now a slice of baguette smothered with jam or Nutella. And my makeshift meals from my trusty section of the fridge consist of what I would call avant-garde (but really, broken-down) sandwiches: a couple slices from a crusty loaf, creamy French cheese slathered on top, surrounded on the plate by cuke slices and the best salami ever: salami from the deli, edged with black pepper.

In fact, it's the grocery stores that I enjoy wandering most here, and I lurk near the registers to see what people purchase, so that I can get some of my own. Weirdly enough, my French sounds best when I harass people in the deli line for recommendations - and gives me the best results, like the peppered salami. I've also been regularly drinking the sparkling passion fruit juice, Sumol, which is actually Portuguese and can be found in the States, though it's one of the few things that is cheaper here. (Consider: my cheap drink staple in Cambridge, Arizona Iced Tea, runs for US $2.50 here, instead of the 99 cent standard at the Harvard Square 7-11. Meanwhile, a bottle of Evian in the most expensive grocery here runs 80 cents.) I might add that the old-school garden fountains, are actually public fountains for people to fill up on clean water. My last addiction for this week is Nestle yogurt, which is about US $1, and comes in a variety of "exotic flavors," like pumelo-lychee (with real lychee pieces, just like Dannon), mango-guava and my favorite flavor, passionfruit.

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