Is there a happy medium between the Swiss and the French?
|Mosaic in Geneva - "I don't dirty the sidewalks!"|
Whenever I mention to a French person that I used to live in Montreux before moving to Paris, they invariably respond, "Oh, Switzerland, it's a beautiful country, but it's very clean. The French, we're not so clean, we're rather dirty", all the while regarding me with an air of suspicion lest I whip out a cleaning cloth and start scrubbing everything in sight. Even though I'm far from being the compulsive neatnik that they imagine, there's something to be said about enjoying the sights of the city rather than constantly scanning the sidewalk for dangerous piles of dog poo. For all too often, Stéphane will give me a hard shove to the left when he notices an ominous pile on the sidewalk in front of me and then I repay the favor by knocking him to the right when he doesn't see the next one. So, here are a few of the things that I wish that I could pack in my suitcase to take home with me:
Street cleaners - these little marvels with their scouring brushes work a lot better than the flowing water that's used to clean the gutters in Paris. And best of all, they also clean some of the wider sidewalks.
An orderly system for waiting in lines like the one in this Swiss post office where you take a number and wait for your turn, thus making it impossible for anyone to cut in front of someone else.
And just in case you're starting to agree with the French, who think that Calvin and his clan left behind a sterile environment devoid of any fun, here's a reassuring sign that everything isn't always so orderly in Switzerland.