April 15, 2009

Zurich on Wednesday, April 15

My camera suddenly began to work this morning when I slapped the lens on the palm of my hand.  It made an excellent whining sound and woke up.  It's a perfectly adequate camera for what I do even though it's pretty beat up.   I quickly took these shots of the city which I see from the balcony and from the sofa looking out toward the balcony.  Later I'll go to the lake and take some more photos of the local scene.

I spent a great deal of yesterday preparing for the workshop in Luzern so today I have some free time before the travels tomorrow.  I did walk down to the health food store yesterday to buy some oat milk.  The shop owner insisted I take some pamphlets in German for my daughter, whose art studio is just around the corner.  The shop is small but includes just about everything you'd find in a larger health food store, just with less variety.  I didn't have the key for Ellen's studio so I couldn't walk around the block to see her current work.  Next week when we both return we'll visit together.  Also, there's a Giacometti/Egyptian exhibition at the Kunsthaus which we go to.

At the moment, 11:00 a.m. , the church bells from the tower that is visible in the photo are ringing madly.  Perhaps there's a funeral in progress.  The church bells do ring freely here at all different times of the day.  On Saturday evening at 6 or is it 7 p.m. all the bells all over the city ring together for about 15 minutes.  Then they do it again on Sunday evening.  It's very lovely and a reminder of the strong traditions that mark the underpinnings of Swiss life whether you are in the modern city or not.  Switzerland observes the Sabbath and numerous other saints days for which the schools are closed.

Everything, of course, runs on time and the manners in the supermarket are prescribed.  The clerk will annoyingly toss you off if you don't weigh and tag your produce before you bring it to the counter.  You must bring your own shopping bags or pay for them at the store.  The produce is not sprayed to retain shelf life.  No, you shop regularly, almost daily for fresh food since it won't last very long in the refrigerator.  The refrigerators are not kept as cold as in the US and they are not as large.  The idea is to shop regularly and not store too much so that the energy usage is kept low.  It's just the system and culture of Switzerland, and when in Rome.....as all cultures are arbitrary.

It's a beautiful day so I'm on my way, camera in hand.