Saturday 9 August 2008

Switzerland: I want to be Swiss


Oooh United Airways breakfast, yummy - slimy yoghurt and a sweaty pastry. At least it signalled that the hideous ordeal would soon be over.

And so to the other end of the quality spectrum, Zurich airport. Five hours was sufficient time to admire the beautifully engineered terminal building, shops, cafes and bars. The cafes sold different types of crusty bread sandwiches filled with quality cheese and meat you could actually taste. I have almost forgotten what it was like. The coffee machines produced small cups of individually–brewed nectar in contrast to the ubiquitous fluid encountered over the last week.

Swiss women are also beautifully crafted, I noted. There was not a single person using a mobile phone or laptop, or gentleman wearing a Star Trek earpiece while talking to his wife in the urinal. Even the train connecting the terminals played soft yodelling music interspersed with the occasional cow bell and mooooing sounds.
I think I want to be Swiss.

The cleaning staff, all female, wore smart dark and light blue uniforms. A girl wearing expensive Puma trainers, pushed a row of trolleys past me which did not make a sound. One thing I shall not forget is the look on a Middle Eastern gentleman's face when he encountered a female attendant in the men's toilet.

A line of gleaming white Swiss aircraft sat in front of the terminal - I couldn’t wait to get on board the plane after that dreadful United cattle truck experience.

I was not wrong. A clean, bright, fresh aircraft with Swiss staff to match. I didn’t want to get off. Nine hours later we stopped briefly in Dubai before continuing to Muscat. Home at last.

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