Monday, May 3, 2010

by Linda Van Treese

Greetings my friends from Heidiland! We're having a lovely time and but for the weather, which has been cloudy and rain since Friday, I have no complaints.

Saturday, May 1st was an interesting day. Euros celebrate May Day a little differently than we do. No dancing around the May Pole here, no sirree. For one thing, it's a national holiday and everything is closed, trams and buses don't run. People (anarchists, skinheads, punks, unemployed) come from all across Europe to gather at different platz areas throughout the city to hear speeches smoke some dope, drink some brewskis and get all riled up; then they march through the streets smashing windows, usually businesses, with large banks being a favorite target; throwing rocks at riot police and occasionally setting a car or two on fire...nice. I can't imagine such a thing happening in the US, but I guess it's pretty 'normal' here...whoa! I asked Hampi how come they were allowed to do such things and he said it was because there are so many and they can't arrest all of them. The Swiss are so practical and besides, that they own the biggest reinsurance company in the world.

Stacie and I went to the main train station to purchase some museum tour tickets and while there I observed the oddest thing. The station was pretty crowded with people and there were several events occurring. There were different vendors set up around the station and in one area there was a Ben & Jerry Ice Cream booth...complete with crew dressed up in cow costumes...peace, love and can't we all just get samples for everyone. Right across from them, not more than ten feet away was a group of the aforementioned punks come to the big city to see what kind of mayhem they could create. The group of punks was surrounded by uniformed riot police that didn't look amused, to say the least. A couple of the officers were 'patting down' several members of the group and all the time the cow people were passing out free ice cream samples like it was just another 'normal' day. That's when I knew for certain...'you're not in Kansas anymore Dorothy'. There was a woman behind me that was in the process of taking a picture of the ironic juxtaposition of the scene, another tourist, no doubt. One of the riot police stepped forward in a way that left the impression, in no uncertain terms, that pictures were not allowed...he wasn't smiling and was a little intimidating, but in a nice way. Of course, since I'm always up for a challenge, I decided that I would take a picture myself. Stacie and I removed ourselves some distance back and covertly snapped a couple of shots. I felt like a real rebel, you know, defying authority and the spirit of May Day. One word description of the scene...surreal.

Since my eurogeektechnoids are at work today, I'll have to post the picture later.

Reporting from Zurich, your intrepid, foreign correspondent...


  1. Wow! I had no idea you were going into a dangerous 'war' zone! Cows vs. Punks...sort of hilarious, but also very moooooving.

    Seriously, I would hazard a guess that no one here knew that this sort of thing goes on in Switzerland on May Day. Thank you for the interesting and colorful report!

    You ARE and intrepid foreign correspondent!

  2. Great story Linda - as the adventure unfolds... and cultures collide. A far cry from dancing around a pole with ribbons... but I do like the free ice cream idea.

    Peace and Love

  3. Wow. Sounds mighty lively. Is it fun or does it feel threatening?

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  5. Linda, don't be too complacent in Heidiland - remember The Crawling Eye is not far north of ZuReek! Reek! Reek!

    These pictures are GREAT....even closer than I had imagined after reading your article. It seems that 'the men in black' are eyeing that ice cream - how can you be mean around ice cream??!

    I wonder if a handful of 10 year prison sentences wouldn't dampen the desire to destroy a bit. Each year they would return thinking, 'you know Joe...he is still in prison! (lets go get some ice cream!)'!


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