Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Disneyland or Switzerland?

One of the things I've noticed about living in Switzerland is that sometimes, things seem a little... too artifical.  As in artifically perfect.  A little bit like Disneyland. Calling Switzerland the the happiest place on earth might be going a bit far especially for a cynic (aka realist) like me.   However, it seems like daily, I'm blown away by something or other which reminds me of the happiest place on earth.

Like for instance, Lugano has these really unique trees.  I'm no botanist, so I can't tell you what trees they are.  And they're probably the most generic trees around, but what makes them different is that they are pruned just so.  They have thick trunks and thick branches and in the spring, little branches grow off of them and they are these cute bushy things.  Now in a "normal" world, they would just grow and become normal trees.  But in Switzerland, they're pruned so that the new regrowth is trimmed each year to keep their unique shape.

And then there's the garbage. Yep, who knew that garbage would be something to write home about, but it is. Literally. I lived in Vancouver for 17 years and I know garbage. In the time I lived there, the garbage workers were on strike at least 3 times. The garbage in Vancouver is worth fighting about. Again, literally. Most apartment buildings in Vancouver have to deal with communal dumpsters. And our garbage must be pretty valuable because there are constantly people pilfering thru it. Alley pirates, Dumpster divers, whatever you want to call them. Beyond the fact that it's heartbreaking that Canada, a first world country can't support it's addicted and mentally ill, it's annoying. There have been many sleepless nights due to them rolling their (illicitly taken) shopping carts down the alleys and the pirates getting in fights with each other or god forbid, they fall asleep in the dumpster and get scooped up by the truck (it happens, I swear!) Here, in Switzerland, garbage is a clean, organized event. You go to the corner, drop your bag in the required slot and it goes underground into a nicely contained pit. No fuss, no muss and amazingly, no smell!

Of course, there's a lot more than garbage and pruned trees.  Such as that there are still paid crossing guards at school crossings (I haven't seen a crossing guard since Cyndi Lauper was on the charts...)  All the local parks have free public washrooms and they are shockingly not graffitied or smell like urine.  What's shocking is that all of this, and I pay half the taxes I did in Canada and less than half what I did in Germany.   

There's a song that says "live in New York once but leave before you get hard.  live in California once, but leave before you get soft"  I think this might be my California.  With a little Disneyland thrown in!

These are the trees in summer- perfect bushiness!

These are the trees in Winter- new growth is cut back by workers in the fall

Garbage in Vancouver.

Swiss garbage.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The name of the tree you are wondering about is the Platanus or "plane tree."