Wednesday, June 28, 2006


It's warm and sunny. I'm staying in a house in a village just outside of Bern and all I can see are hills and pine trees and chalets. When I was walking down to the train station before I could hear cow bells. It's all very Swiss.

There is a village just outside of Zurich called Wankdorf. Tee hee.

My niece asked me to send her photos of castles. Here is one that I saw in Kehrsatz.

The football is on at a reasonable time here (i.e. doesn't interrupt sleep), and in fact I got over my jetlag by staying awake long enough to watch both Australia and Switzerland lose. Then I slept for 10 hours and since then I've been on Swiss time.

I've discovered my German is better than I thought - of course most people speak English but the children in the house I'm staying in don't and they seem to understand me and seem to think I understand them (I mostly do). I'm learning to speak Swiss. I'm also speaking lots of Spanish because my Swiss colleague's Costa Rican fiancee and her mother are also here. Sometimes I speak Spanish to the children and German to the Costa Ricans, which confuses everyone.

And that's all I have to report for now.


Saturday, June 24, 2006

When the going gets crazy...

...the crazy get going.

Today I bought a house.*

In ten hours I fly to Europe.**


* Contracts still need to be exchanged but it should all happen. I found out on Friday morning that my offer would be accepted so I had to rush to get all the inspections done and sign the paperwork before leaving the country for a month. It's a California-style red brick bungalow, worst house on the best street. I'm sure I'll blog about it extensively if it all goes through. It's my first house so very exciting and scary at the same time.

** Regional Australia - Sydney: 1 hour 20 minutes
Sydney airport: 3 hours 25 minutes
Sydney - Singapore: 7 hours 50 minutes
Singapore airport: 1 hour 20 minutes
Singapore - Frankfurt: 12 hours 40 minutes
Frankfurt airport: 3 hours 35 minutes
Frankfurt - Zurich: 55 minutes

= 31 hours and 5 minutes travel time, of which 22 hours and 45 minutes is in the air, and 8 hours and 20 minutes are in transit. Then I still have to get a train to Bern.

Conclusion: Australia is a hell of a long way from anywhere.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


It is 2.30am on Monday morning and I am up watching the soccer / football. I have no idea why. I'ts Australia vs Brazil. I am, of course, barracking for Brazil, because as a kiwi I am honour-bound to support any team that is playing against Australia. Aussies are horrified when they hear this, as they tend to support New Zealand, I'm told. Whatevs.

Although it would be kind of cool if the socceroos made it through the next round, just because it is so unexpected.

I think it was on somebody's blog here in blogland that said the socceroos should be called the footballoos. But then it sounds like it has the word 'lose' in it. Which is possibly appropriate.

I leave for Europe in one week. I might actually have something to blog about then.


Monday, June 12, 2006


Multiculturalism. This is what is lacking in regional Australia. It's very monoculturual. There are a handful of people who are not white anglosaxon, but really not that many. There are people at work who speak other languages. But everyone's first language is English.

I think this is an aspect of this town that will eventually spell the end of our relationship. There are many things I like about this town. Certain aspects of its character I love. It's open and relaxed and easy and cheap (easiness and cheapness obviously being something everyone looks for in a relationship) and quite attractive in its own way.

I went down to Melbourne this weekend. In the markets I heard so many different languages being spoken. It was great.

There are things I now find annoying about the big city - I got lost both arriving and leaving, there's way too much traffic. It's too big and complicated. But complicated can be a good thing.

So unless this town can learn to be a bit more multicultural, I'm going to have to have to move on*. I've always known this. I just hope that this town understands.


* It won't be for a while. The job's all good.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

cycling by numbers

78 - number of kilometres I cycled on Sunday

55 - number of kilometres I thought I was going to be cycling

20 - number of kilometres left when my knees started cramping

0 - number of times I've previously cycled that far in one go

0 - number of bike rides I will go on before buying padded cycle shorts

The excellent winery lunch made it all worth it though.