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The Wongstar’s Guide to Switzerland « Jocelyn Wong's Blog


The Wongstar’s Guide to Switzerland

Every time you go approach a village there is a sign with all these symbols about what fun things you can do there.  I haven’t figured out what this one means…It looks like a guy in a baseball cap straddling a fishing pole, but I don’t know where in Leysin you would go fishing.

The village of Aigle is pronounced “egg.”  I gave up trying to understand the French pronunciations because it is like trying to understand boys.  It will just cause much frustration and make you mad, so better to just accept that’s how they are and move on.

You will see these “CH” stickers on many cars.  For some reason this is the country abbreviation for “Switzerland” even though there is no “C” nor “H” in Switzerland.  Sometimes when you want to Google something the web browser will redirect you to www.google.ch.  I have concluded that the Swiss are must be very proud of their “cheese” and “chocolate,” because that’s what the “CH” stands for.  Obviously.

The rooftops are big pointy triangles.  This is so that when it snows, the snow can fall off the edge.  Otherwise the roof might cave in from the weight of the snow.  Having been a near victim of a ceiling collapse, this architectural marvel is much appreciated.  Not that I’ll be here when it snows.

top floor = penthouse.  you can see our clothes drying outside :)

top floor = penthouse. you can see our clothes drying outside :)

There are shutters on the window.  I think so that it shuts out the cold.  Yeah I am glad to have left before it got cold.  Even though my Chinese name means “Snow Baby,” I think I prefer it warmer.  Hot.  VERY hot.  ;)  Hello Korea!

Public bathrooms are noted with the initials “W.C.”  Which I’m told is all over the rest of Europe as well (yes I did see this in France and Turkey too).  Tereza told me that it stands for “water closet.”  I like to say “I need to go to the water closet” because it cracks me up.  (Note: in the Philippines it is labelled “C.R.” for “comfort room.”  That’s funny too.)

the water closets!

the water closets!

Leysin is located high up in the sky.  One foggy day I looked outside and declared “Wow it’s like we’re in a cloud!”  Bean’s reply:  ”Wongstar, we ARE in a cloud.”  ”Oh.”  Hello altitude!

I just woke up but at least my hair looks good!

I just woke up but at least my hair looks good!

There are signs at every major intersection to direct you to the city or village you are looking for, but not very many street names are labelled, at least not very obviously.  So while it is hard to get lost, giving or getting directions can be confusing.  ”Take that street until you see the sign for that village, and then turn when you see the sign for that other village at the second roundabout…”

The Swiss flag is SQUARE.  How cool!  That’s Switzerland for you, very neutral, very square.

Key phrases in French when staying on the French side of Switzerland:

“Bonjour!” (bon-joor) means “good day.”

“Bonsoir!” (bon-SWA!) means “good evening.”

“merci!” (meer-see) means “thanks.”

Ok now let’s get fancy.

“merci beaucoup” (meer-see boo-coo) means “thanks a lot!”  I remember that one because my high school coach was always talking about making “boo-coo bucks” when we were holding fundraisers for the track team.  I never knew what he was talking about.

“si vous plait” (see boo play) means “please.”  Sometimes you see the abbreviation “SVP” on signs or the credit card machine, three words to say please, wow.

“au revoir!” (ah-VWA!) means bye.  It took me a couple weeks to nail this one down because I kept wanting to say “aww reh voor!”

“a bientot!” (ah bee-en-toe) means “see you later!”  My sister taught me that one.  She minored in French at UCLA and I think I’ll pack her in my suitcase next summer so we can play wing-girl for each other.  It is hard to mingle with the Swiss frat boys when you don’t understand each other.  Ok, I take it back, it’s not hard to mingle with them, it’s just hard to talk to each other!

“voila!” means the same as in English.  HAHAHAHA.  the cashiers like to say this when they give you your change, with a big flourish and a “voila!” like they’ve just done a really cool magic trick.

“bisou” (bi-zoo) means kiss.
so I think “bisou francais” (bi-zoo fran-say) should be a French kiss.

Now a French kiss is when you kiss cheeks three times alternating sides.  At least that’s been my experience.  But a triathlon superstar doesn’t kiss and tell.  heheee ;)  She has no qualms however about telling the world how stupid you are if you do her wrong.

So that’s Switzerland for you.  I came, I saw, I conquered.  Give me another month and you’ll get the Wongstar’s Guide to South Korea.

Ah-VWA and ah-bee-en-TOE!

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