Oh, Pioneer

It’s a new year, it’s time to plan new adventures!  I hope to do more of what scares me, and I am not a hero. I am full of fears, so it will be a battle every time.



Il mattino ha l'oro e l'argento in  ......goccia!

The year’s almost over, and I have accomplished about 30% of the goals I set out for myself, and that cup, 30% full, is sweetness itself. 
Do you ever like to do an personal evaluation just take a look back at the year? Not with a eye towards self-criticism, but picking and choosing out all the good parts to take with you moving forward. I prefer to self-evaluate that way. There are mistakes of course, but a painful lesson will stay with you regardless, while those little happier moments may pale by comparison. Those moments, small and fine, have to be forcefully recalled into your consciousness. 
On another front, I’ve been slowly adding to my blogroll, as part of a subversive plan to promote calm and that elusive sense of zen that like to brag about at parties. So, you might want to check out Zen Habits and The Minimalists, two blogs that I can only describe through plagiarism, to quote a woman describing The Little Prince, a post has everything you need and nothing you do not. 
I hope you are good to yourself and others this holiday season! I have nothing but good thoughts and wishes for all of you.


Nepal horses3

A man overcoming his fear of water, which is included because I found it touching. A delicate scratching on the heart. I don’t like open water, things like the ocean. Even the deep end of the pool. And it is infinitely hard to act in the face of your fear. So hearing that this man has conquered his fear scratches my the heart.

The Bechdel Test asks if a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. 

It’s winter. It’s time to update that travel wardrobe.
Winter sales seem to be a justification for spending more. What I’ve noticed is that when I spend, the act of buying something often leaves me more unsatisfied than before. That’s why I’ve included this.

This is a great website, just in general, for all those larger life questions – such as when to get married. Unfortunately, some of the answers are painful. The one about having children especially so. To have children demands that you will have to take abuse, because children will take their anger out on those with whom they feel the most secure, whose love is unconditional. As the parent, you have to be able to see beyond the horrible things a child will say, and recognize the pain and insecurity feeding those words. That is a painful reality.

I don’t know if there is a viable alternative to using Uber. And I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with drivers, so it’s sad that the people running the company care so little for passengers.

Just because.


Zurich river

Whenever I read travel posts, they alway seem bursting with positive energy. No one ever has bad travel stories. They always come back with a tremendous good time and a bucket full of memories and matching photos to boot. With that in mind, I decided to start a different trend, not to complain, but to share everything ranging from not great to downright horrific. Because I have no image to maintain and I work for free.
At some point during the trip, I decided I couldn’t stand any of the people I had traveled with, and further decided to embark on an aggravated walk out into the night, alone, and there, in the twilight, I came across this river above, with the man silhouetted in the corner, a man who I assumed was contemplating his own death. Death, a friend informed me later, is a recurring theme in Switzerland because of the social pressure to always conform. I had no idea. Your house and lawn must always be in perfect order, you lawn perfectly coiffed. You always have to behave in such and such a way, and so on. So there is in Swiss society, an underlying current of despair, and possibly I picked up on that.

West Zurich2

Now, why then does this picture look markedly different than any of the others I have shown so far. Possibly it’s because while I highly recommend staying in Central Zurich, or possibly the Northern suburbs, or any place bordering the central river, that isn’t where I stayed. I stayed in the post-apocalyptic industrial wasteland known as West Zurich. There is stuff to be done there. There is a bar or two. There are business offices. There are train track you can lie down on if the idea of leaping into the river doesn’t appeal.  The hotel where I stayed, the name of which will go unmentioned*, was a touch older than most. Or this is what I hope explains some of the curiosities.
For instance, each room, regardless of the number of occupants, only had one key. A single key. You have no idea how inconvenient that is until you cannot leave the side of the holder of the room key and you become some sort of international siamese twins for the duration of your trip. I highly do not recommend it. Second, my single key hung off some sort of object that was large and solid enough to be a weapon and seemed to serve no other purpose than to add bulk to my pants.
What does not come across in photographs, is how expensive this country is. And everything is expensive. Burger King is expensive. BK was also, to my regret, not very good. In fact, I didn’t enjoy most of the food there, and this is part of the reason why I declined to list any restaurants. This was somewhat surprising. I went to a restaurant in the northern suburbs, I tried one of the most established restaurants in town. I even tried the restaurant in the hotel lobby. Crap, crap, and crap. All of it, including a desperate budget foray into Burger King.
Finally, I want to point out that it rained almost the entire time. No one takes pictures in the rain really, unless you want to get all artistic about it. Mostly because it’s impractical, I have some pictures with fat drops of water on the lens running right down the middle, and that pretty much ruined the whole shot. But those will never appear anywhere, because those are more popularly known as “bad pictures.” 

West Zurich

So here you go, pictures from my moody nighttime wander through some deserted industrial parts. Sometimes I would see people, and I just pretended I was invisible and moved on. In some ways, I quite enjoy moody nighttime meanderings. You’re finally alone with your thoughts. You pick up on sounds, moods, contrasting objects. In hindsight, it’s not too bad. 

West Zurich5

*Because as long as you don’t stay in West Zurich, your chances of staying here are significantly less.