Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Switzerland. Going to Pot?

My 73-year-old Swiss neighbor loves to rant about how Baden used to be a nice town but how, in the last few years, it’s become trashy, dangerous, and filled with foreigners.

Now all of this is relative, mind you. Yes, there is some trash on our front steps. But we live in the center of a town of 16,000. And I confirmed my suspicions about her: No, our neighborly Frau has never witnessed New York City.

Danger. Well, we did have a backpack stolen at the Baden swimming pool, and while I’d definitely consider that crime, dangerous it was not.

Foreigners. Yes, that’s me. And while I’m sorry to contribute to my neighbor’s lack of satisfaction with her country, I’d hardly consider myself a threat to the detriment of Swiss society.

But today I got a new perspective on things from a very different Swiss demographic—an 18-year old black Swiss kid from St. Gallen. According to him, St. Gallen used to be a nice town, but in the last five years, the entire train station is now filled with junkies, sometimes up to 20 of them.

Wow. I mean, I never knew Switzerland was on such a downward spiral. Trash. Danger. And now, Junkies. I may be innocent, but all I see are clean streets, expensive prices, and people dressed like a non-stop funeral procession. Maybe all this black fashion is also a new trend, a silent mourning for the good old days when people like me weren’t prowling the dangerous, trash-ridden streets. I don’t know. But if all you readers in Switzerland wouldn’t mind taking a look around you to double check and confirm that I’m not going completely mad in my observations, I’d appreciate it.


Jenni said...

It's a shame that some place so orderly is falling apart....damn the funeral wear (I think that's what's doing it...and the lack of smiles)!

Chantal said...

Yeah, the lack of smiles don't help things one bit!

cam said...

I live in the French region of Switzerland, right outside of Geneva, and some Swiss friends were talking about how "dangerous" it's getting - i.e. your purse might get snatched. And then they all turn to me and say, "but not dangerous to someone from Chicago".

I just smile and say, "Oui, c'est vrai."

(by the way, I love your blog!)

Chantal said...

Glad you like the blog. I'm originally from Chicago as well. I find it cute when they discuss crime. It seems to be the thing to talk about :)


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