Friday, May 23, 2008

Me and the (Swiss) Boys, Part I

I had the pleasure of being invited to see the premier of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in Switzerland before, as my Swiss friend gleefully informed me, anyone in the United States could. Knowing my friend, he had surely researched this fact, so I didn’t doubt him, but was just pleasantly surprised to find a film actually showing in Swiss theaters before the U.S. DVD was released.

The evening began at the Zeughauskeller, a popular restaurant in Zurich with both tourist and locals alike. I met my Swiss friend there for a dinner with his film club. As I stood at the door looking for a familiar face, finally I saw my friend waving me over to a large round table, half filled with a group of Swiss men in their 40s.

They were all very nice and I was seated strategically between my friend and another guy that spoke perfect English. The waiter was very friendly, something I’m not very used to with my foreigner status. But since I was with a group of Swiss, the whole eating out thing was a pleasant experience. I ordered a Coke and pasta with asparagus, since it’s one of the things I could actually read on the German menu, even though for once, I actually had the option of having an interpreter.

As I thirstily reached for my five-dollar, 33ml Coke, once again I experienced the shock that comes when you realize it’s not ice-cold. (Or really cold at all for that matter). I don’t know why this always surprises me, since after two years here, I should try to appreciate warm beverages for all that they can be, but I just can’t stop pining that $1.79, 32 oz glass of ice dribbled with Coke sometimes.

Anyhow, my meal was delicious. To keep up the entertainment factor while I followed about 25% of the Swiss German film club conversation, I focused my attention on the three Japanese businessmen that were also seated at our round table since some of the film club failed to show up. They were clearly uncomfortable suddenly being a part of the Swiss film club, and after pondering a menu for about 15 minutes, ordered and finally moved to another table.

Seated in the place of the three businessmen were two Japanese tourists, who went through the same strange realization that they were to be ceremoniously part of our party. They as well went through a menu decoding process and did a lot of staring (not sure if it was about the food selection or the high prices). After that, they passed the time with picture taking.

Anyhow, after the meal we headed to the cinema. More about that tomorrow.


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