I had a great dinner with Tom last night...he has a kitchen, so we were able to make some burgers for less than 10 dollars a piece (the price here for "just the sandwich" at a fast food place). We went out for drinks, and I woke up and headed out the door with Tom. Not wanting to make him late, I didn't hit the toilet up on the way out the door, thinking that I could just find one before I left town. Only a couple blocks away, I found a public restroom (common in Zurich) and went inside. There were used needles all over the place, and I decided that I should probably hold it until I found another bathroom. When I got into the next bathroom, I was excited to see that it was pretty clean...except for when I went to put down the toilet seat, I noticed that it was covered in blood. I decided that I should probably hold it until I found another bathroom. Luckily, I found a McDonald's, and went in to use the toilet. It was clean and safe feeling, but there was a bunch of stuff in the toilet, and after trying to flush it, it started overflowing. I decided to wait until the next bathroom...but luckily there was another floor of McDonald's, so I was saved by the Big Mac once again.
I didn't get out of town until around 10, and I ended up getting into Baar around noon. On the way I had a hill that felt like it was a mile long, and thought about how much it would suck to run up a nonstop hill that is more than 26 times that. When I got to the top of it though, there was a really nice view, so I decided to take a picture. Before I could press the button though, I got shocked in the leg by the electric fence that I had unassumingly leaned against. Nothing like some stim therapy to get me going again.
When I got into Baar, I bought my lunch from a grocery store: a piece of watermelon, a huge chocolate milk, a little individual pasta with ham and a piece of bread to use as a fork. I went across the street to the patio furniture store and sat in one of the tables to eat my food. After I finished awkwardly eating by scooping bits of pasta with pieces of soggy bread (I had set it down on my sweaty shorts) I noticed that there was a secret fork compartment with utensils and a napkin on the underside of the pasta dish. Oh well.
After lunch I wandered out to the Höllgrotten, a limestone cave system that is open for visits. I had to pay to get in, and it wasn't really that adventurous considering the installed lighting and artificial watering system...but it was still pretty cool. The stalactites look like some sort of crazy alien plant, and one can see where the water level of the underground lakes were by the formation of the limestone. (Geology...rocks!!!)
Once I left the Höllgrotten, I was basically equidistant from Zug (in the direction I am moving) and Baar (the town I had already been), so I decided to go on forward. In Zug, I found a nice little swimming area, locked up my stuff in the free lockers and dived in. Switzerland is spotted with beautiful, clean lakes. Once I had swam and jumped into water to my heart's delight, I struck up a conversation with a group of youngish people who were sitting on the dock. We had a beer together, and spoke (in English) about travelling. Things were going really well, but two of the people weren't from the town and were staying with the third. There wasn't room for me, and everyone they asked who they knew in the town said "No, are you crazy." They informed me (as many Swiss people have done) that people in this country are generally afraid and unaccepting of strangers. I was once again surprised to see how many locals (even well travelled ones) buy into such a stereotype of their own country.
Feeling kind of hopeless, and with the sun setting in the horizon, I approached a group of 5 people around my age and asked (to start conversation) if there was anything to do in the town. They said that there wasn't really anything to do in town except for what they were doing, and they handed me a beer and let me sit down with them on the edge of the lake. After we talked for a while, and went to a bar for another drink and something to eat, I caught a bus to a nearby village and found a nice shower and a place to rinse my clothes. Man I am lucky that that Swiss stereotype isn't always true.
15 July 2009