Stockholm syndrome: persian water Jesuit Holiday statue

Over the weekend – the cold, wet and dreary weekend – I caught up on a bevy of procedural items. I bought stamps, carried the garbage to the dumpster, handled the laundry (with no difficulty!), found a dry cleaner, backed up my computer, vacuumed saltine cracker crumbs....

Reader dialog:
“So you were bored.”
End Dialog

By Sunday, I was completely caught up. Because there were no more housekeeping tasks, I booked a serious consultation with Dr.
Google – who recommended visits to CERN (closed on Sunday), the Patek Philippe Museum (Closed on Sunday), a tour of The United Nations facility (closed on Sunday) and a walk along Lake Geneva (frozen on Sunday).
In truth, the situation wasn’t quite as bleak as I convey. Google did suggest a visit to the “Parc des Bastions” in Geneva. I saw several large (very large) statutes of Reformation leaders (like John Calvin) and several more moderately sized statues of Reformation sub-leaders (like Oliver Cromwell). I am told that Geneva, which played a big role in the Reformation, is the “Protestant Rome”.


The Parc (Park) was lovely. The statues were, eh, statuesque: immobile (even in the strong wind). All of the people portrayed in marble had the stern features consistent with the puritanism for which Calvin was known. It’s not clear that he would like being on display.

Personally, I think that they should dress the statues in colorful outfits - sort of like they dressthe Mannequin Pis in Brussels. (Maybe not)


Funny bone untickled by the excitement associated with the impregnable statues, I decided to see a movie. It turned out that my selection criteria, eh, selection criterion, (“Is it in English?&rdquoWinking was inadequate. I saw a movie solely populated with unlikable mumbling moronic misfits. (And in one case, a vastly over-tattooed baby goose named Ryan.) At least the movie was long and the coming attractions were attractive.

As the exciting weekend drew to a close, I was looking forward to getting back to the office. I woke up bright and cheerful Monday morning. I showered, shaved, carefully selected a colorful tie, had a bowl of Cheerios (imported directly from California) and headed out for the short walk to the office.

I was shocked when I stepped outside. This is really errie,” I thought. “No people! No cars! Empty parking places. It looks like Sunday.”

I wondered if I had packed all of my weekend excitement into one day and, therefore, lost track of time. Maybe it was
still Sunday! Maybe I had missed an emergency announcement of impending doom:Could the city be target for an asteroid impact?” I thought.Or maybe plague viruses have surfaced.”

thought about continuing to the office, but it was clear that something was amiss. I walked back to the apartment. It was time for another consultation with Dr. Google:

Swiss National Holidays 2013
20 May Whit Monday

I sighed. Geneva is moribund on Sunday. It is lifeless on a holiday - and Monday (I now knew) was a holiday. I had done the laundry so I had nothing to do.

What,” I asked myself, “would Nazy do in this situation?”

“Shopping!” Of course.” I said to myself.

Twenty minutes later I was in the Relay magazine store at Cornavin train station.

“Presse Internationale,” I muttered to myself, “should mean American magazines. But this shelf has magazines that are Italian, German, Russian, Czech, Iranian, Tunisian, Algerian, Franciscan, Benedictine and Jesuit.”

“We have a Newsweek,” the clerk noted.

“From November of 2011,” I replied.

Luckily there was one more store open. The donut shoppe.

I walked home. Through the rain. Through the cold
rain. I decided to do some weather research. Interestingly, this week, Geneva was colder and wetter than Stockholm. (And Oslo, Helsinki and Moscow.) Amazingly, the forecasts for Geneva, Switzerland and Reykjavik, Iceland were identical. Snow was visible on the nearby Jura Mountains. I wondered if the city was aware of the date: late May. Flash: Snow showers were forecast for Friday evening!

I decided to go for another walk. I had extensive experience exploring Geneva on foot, so I thought I “knew” the city. This time, however, I turned left from my apartment instead of right. One block away I saw Restaurant Hafez: Iranian cuisine.

Can’t believe I missed this,I though. I decided on Persian food for dinner and entered the bistro. I ordered shish kabob. The waitress pointed to my glass.

“Water,” I said. “With bubbles.”

She looked at me.

“Wasser? Acqua? Vand?” (Just to make sure I pronounced each word s-l-o-w-l-y and

Although the clerk comprehended nothing that I was saying, I knew that she admired the linguistic virtuosity that I had so subtly conveyed.

“Why didn’t you try French?” A reader interrupts.

“Because,” I reply. “I knew the Persian word for water.”

“Ab!” I exclaimed.

“Bali,” The clerk replied.

Note: Some may be skeptical about my order of bubbly water. Some might even suspect that I actually ordered
Coca Cola (Zero) Those people would be wrong. I even ordered a glass of Shiraz.

For those wondering what I’m doing at work - see next week’s letter. Suffice it to say that shadow IT, Windows XP, a Swiss (French) Keyboard, giant Excel files and a plethora of governmental compliance directives (FATCA, AIFMD, EMIR, KiiDs) are keeping me busy.

P.S. I have been reliably informed of an error (gasp!) in
last week’s edition. The ant’s name was Sherman, not Simpson.

The Parc des Bastions

tree lined parc

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