Geneva ...the most expensive place yet!

Trip Start Jan 20, 2005
Trip End Aug 02, 2005

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Thursday, February 17, 2005

Alright I would like to start off by apologizing to everyone for the delay in posting all of these pictures and stuff from Geneva. We have just been going like crazy between travel, internships, and studying for exams, but we are still having a fantastic time. This last trip was great! We left very early on Thursday morning for a full day of driving to Geneva. Heather was late again and almost got left behind again. This time however I knew that she was missing and had Jerry call her. He was not too happy to say the least. So we all sat on the bus pretending to read or sleep for the entire day. I kind of enjoyed it though because when you are trapped in such a confined space with people you have to talk and get to know each-other better. Heather slept 90 percent of the time on the bus as usual...and I just bugged people because I can never sleep on buses. (Dan hates me now.) Anyways, it was just chill and we had a couple of beers and talked on the bus before we got to Geneva for the evening. The Novotel where we stayed was really nice and had incredibly comfortable was probably the best nights sleep I had had in a while. Just to warn anyone who is ever planning on going to is ridiculously expensive...expensive to the point where you can't really afford to do anything. Everyone was going to a fondu place that was going to be about $30 so after sitting down and looking at the menu Heather, Nick and I split and ate a burger at Burger King of all places. Yes I know when you are in Europe surrounded by so much good food it is almost sacrilegious to go to an American fast food joint, but we were starving and unwilling to pay that much for a dinner that didn't really include that much. Even at BK it was really expensive...$8.50 for a Whopper meal!!! After dinner we wandered around for a little bit trying to find a place to go. Nick took us to this place called the LA Café which in no way resembled LA except for maybe how overpriced everything was. Heather and I got the cheapest drink which wound up being about $12 after we converted the price. I was in absolute sticker shock when we got the bill!!!! On the bright side the bar tender got very creative with the drink and we got this massive fruit kabob and paper umbrellas on the side. Regardless, everything in that stupid city is ridiculously expensive so we decided that it would be a better idea for us just to go back to the hotel and go to sleep so that we could avoid spending any more money. I was really tired after the bus and everything so it was probably a good thing anyways. The next day we had to be up early to go to a meeting at the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights building. I swear the building that they had the talk in looked like it was a converted gas station. I was so confused when Jerry told us to go in because it is about the least imposing building I had ever seen. Apparently the real headquarters were behind it, but still the Memorial building looked like a gas station. The talk was actually really interesting....although a bunch of people kept nodding off during the guy's talk. I didn't really know too much about UNHCR before hand so I learned something. From there we went to the World Trade Center for another talk. The building is situated right on the lake looking over the mountains so every office has an absolutely amazing view of Switzerland from every window. It is really beautiful. Again the topic was interesting to me....especially after having done so much with WTO regulations regarding safeguard actions on textiles while I was at IDS so I actually knew what I was talking about and could ask semi-intelligent questions. The greatest thing about this program is that everything that we learn about we also get to go and see first hand so we really understand what it is that we are learning. I dunno...I may be a huge loser, but I think it is a really good mix of learning and fun. We do a lot of work and learn a lot when we are in class, but we also have time to experience things and have fun. It really is an awesome experience. Anyways, after the WTO we got the afternoon to wander around Geneva by ourselves. Me, Heather, Yo Yo Lifer (Johannes), and James walked around the city taking pictures and just enjoying the beautiful surroundings. We went to see the church where Calvin preached (rather underwhelming) and then grabbed some lunch. It really is a beautiful place although it doesn't have as many things to "see" as we are used to. A little after lunch we went to the UN building that used to be the old League of Nations. It was neat...although none of my pictures turned out that well. Again everything overlooks the lake and the mountains so that every window has a spectacular view. We just went on a tour of the building so we didn't get too much out of it that we didn't already know...but it was cool. Random piece of trivia for anyone who cares....15 peacocks wander around the premises of the UN building because the man who donated it to the original League of Nations specified that the only way that they could have the property was if they kept peacocks on it. Slightly incongruous....snow, mountains, and peacocks but hey the Swiss are a little crazy... (as we were soon to find out in Saas Fee). That night we just decided to make it a night in and have a little hotel party because we were all too poor to afford eating out again. We stopped at the grocery store on the way back to the hotel and stocked up on some delicious foods for dinner. We managed to have an excellent dinner of salad, great cheeses and wine for much less than we paid the night before for a burger. That night was also Nick's 21st birthday so Heather and I picked up a cake for him at the store and we brought him in to one of the hotel rooms for a little surprise party. It was cute, and we all had a good time just chilling in the hotel rooms. At about midnight everyone started to break off and we went to this little bar that was supposed to be an Irish pub. The bartender however, was a real jerk from Corsica who spoke barely any English! How can you have an Irish pub with a French bartender??? That is when we should have known to leave right away. Most of us weren't drinking because we were too broke from the night before. Heather, however, did manage to completely pass out while we were just sitting there talking. I swear she is a narcoleptic!!! She can sleep anytime, anywhere regardless of what was going on around her. It did make for some funny pictures though. We only stayed there for about 20 minutes before we went back to get some rest because we had to be up really early the next morning to head out to Saas Fee. Avi and Vince came up to hang out after they came in from the bar, but Heather was already fast asleep and snoring, with bread crumbs all over her by the time they had walked up the stairs. We woke up the next morning bright and early, ate some really good breakfast and then started our trip further into the Alps.....

Our songs for Switzerland...

(in case I forgot to mention we make songs for the different cities that we visit...a tradition borne out of necessity in Paris...)

Don't stop drinking until tomorrow...Don't stop it will soon be here...
(To the tune of Bill Clinton's campaign song)

Do you know the way to Saas Fee? Hundreds of skiers go there everyday...yes.. we're on our way.
(To the tune of "Do you know the way to Santa Fe?)
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