Saturday, April 21, 2012

30 Hours in Amsterdam

and I'm scarred for life! Not really but my innocence is definitely lost. :)

I also confirmed (for the millionth time) my longstanding suspicion that I should not be allowed out of my house without some sort of common sense checklist.

So anyway, I found out last week that I would be going to Amsterdam for a work event.  And here's what I learned:

Lesson #1:  The red light district is quite literally the red light district.  And there are scantily clad women dancing under these red lights all along the street.  And it's possible to watch clients go in and come back out (in 10 minutes or less).

Lesson #2:  Clubs in Amsterdam stay open until "late".  I got back to the hotel at 3am.  I am waaaaay too old for that!  Thursday morning was paaaainful.

Lesson #3:  When traveling in Europe, passports are not necessary.  So even when you are already running to the train station in the rain, there's no need to return to your apartment, grab your passport and then literally run to the train station.

Lesson #4:  However, when traveling in Europe, credit cards are highly recommended.  Without a credit card, it is difficult to pay for your hotel.  So when you check out, and your hotel bill is 150 € and you only have 100 € in cash, you will have to borrow 50 € from your boss.  Sigh.

I also experienced two firsts on my trip!

First #1:  The European cheek kissing deal - I've been dreading the European cheek kissing since I arrived.  I'm honestly horrified that I'll end up smacking a co-worker or client on the lips.  Thankfully, my first experience was completely awkward but no lips were involved!  That's success in my book.

First #2:  The electronic boarding pass - I didn't have access to a printer so I braved it, checked in online and sent my boarding pass to my blackberry.  And it worked!  Hello 21st century!

Monday, April 16, 2012


Sechseläuten = Best excuse ever for taking half a day off, dressing crazy, drinking and exploding fireworks.

So yea, I totally got a half day holiday today to celebrate burning the Böögg (aka a snowman) until his head exploded! Apparently, the longer it takes for the head to explode, the colder and rainier the summer will be. Explode Böögg Explode!!!

Afterwards, I commented on how strange an event that was and Andre reminded me that we predict our weather with a groundhog....

Pictures from Sechseläuten:

The Böögg!

Historical Dress

Burn Böögg Burn!

If you'd like to read more:
Swiss News in English
Wikipedia Article on Sechseläuten

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Extreme Tourism - Paris Version

One super fabulous thing about working in Switzerland is a long Easter weekend (Friday & Monday off). Of course, the flip side of that is that everything in Switzerland is closed. Soooo, we decided it was our duty to escape the country and head to Paris for the weekend. Tragic I know :)

We took the train over on Thursday evening. Being the Americans that we are, we booked our train at 15:30 instead of 5:30 as we intended..... Damn military time.
So anyway, after convincing my boss we didn't do it on purposes, we took the train over to Paris. The train motored on through Switzerland but once we hit France, the train went all out. Sometimes traveling in excess of 200 miles per hour. It was awesome.
Four hours after boarding the train, it spit us out in Paris at Gare de Lyon. We figured we would take the metro from the Gare de Lyon to our hotel and were feeling quite confident that we could handle this. You know, having lived in Europe for three whole months and all and having done our research in advance. Too bad, the only money we had was 50 Euro bills from the ATM and all the ticket machines only take cards with chips (which we do not have) or Euro coins. It took us a good 30 minutes to find the one human being behind a tiny ticket counter that could take our money!!!
We finally made it to our hotel and they gave us this super awesome key that I'm pretty sure is older than America.

We then went out in search of food and decided on a place close by. It may have been the worst meal we have ever had. Andre got the worst of it. He thought he was ordering Andouille sausage when in fact, he was ordering Andouillette. It was revolting and smelled worse. But from there, things only got better.

Without further adieu, our Paris activities with our new Taosuwan rating system: Golden Turtles (play on our last name in Thai)

Sidenote: If you revere history and/or dead people, you might want to skip the pictures.

Photos from Day 1:
Paris! Day 1 - April 6, 2012

Paris! Day 2 - April 7, 2012

Paris! Day 3 - April 8, 2012

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Since I'm over here preventing tax evasion and all, we thought we'd take a day trip down to Zug to check out where all the US companies are "headquartered". It's actually a very nice city. There is a very modern section with tons of office buildings, shopping, etc. and then there is the old city with a castle (!) and all kinds of totally old stuff. :)

Also, you can buy FRESH pasta, olives and meat right off a cart!

Initially, we had a really hard time with the food here. Of course, I have issues anyway but then we are soooo used to being able to go out and eat whenever we want and that is just not possible here.
First of all, it's too damn expensive. We can't even go to McDonalds for less than 25CHF.
And then of course, nothing is ever open! Seriously. I have no idea how the restaurants here stay in business.
Not long after arriving, we realized it's much easier and cheaper to cook at home. And the food here is so fresh. Super fresh. See pictures.

A few pictures of our outing (the rest are in an album below):

We found a castle!!!! with a moat!!!!

and it's like totally tall and stuff!

We're insanely jealous of these people. We will figure out how to do this.
(you may have to zoom in)

The rest of the pics (with informational captions for those who might be interested in such information):
Zug - March 31 2012