Who wouldn’t love to stay and live in Switzerland for a while? Wages are astronomical, the economy is humming, the mountain cheese is ever delicious. Sadly, for Americans it is very difficult to work here legally, but I had an idea. Listen to this: there is a chalet here in Leysin that is used for Eritrean refugees. I think they will be processed and eventually allowed to stay and work and get citizenship. I could go back to Somaliland, buy one of their passports that were going for a mere $60 on the streets, come back to Switzerland and apply for asylum.
My story is air-tight: Mom was Somali, Dad was a smooth talking, very pale Norwegian, both tragically died in an injera choking accident. My Mexican burrito place, Mogadishu’s Revenge, burned to the ground in a suspicious grease fire, leaving me no option but to throw myself on the mercy of the Swiss. I haven’t thought it all through, but I see potential.
I’m hitchhiking in Switzerland again out of necessity and leaving Europe soon. Hitchhiking goes pretty well. My first ride took only 30 seconds to get. They were a Portuguese family, but the place I was dropped off made me fodder for the police. Luckily, a farmer took me before the police saw me and I was very pleased despite barely being able to understand two words. What kind of French do they speak around here?
Then a huge bald guy and his doting blonde girlfriend picked me up. After the first word out of her mouth, I said, “Magyarok!” (Hungarians!). He was Romanian and she Hungarian and they were returning from his Thai boxing match. He had lost, and he was sore about it. He made me watch the whole 20 minutes of the fight on his iPhone to judge for myself. He told me he lost points from a couple of illegal hits to the other guy’s manhood. I saw it. The guy crumbled to the floor like he had been shot. I squirmed. The fawning girl tried to console him, kissing his muscles every few minutes. More squirming.
Oddly, he was more distraught that I didn’t have a normal life and why I didn’t have a wife and kids. I didn’t know Thai boxing was a normal life. When we arrived and he got out of the car, I could see he could barely walk. It looked like a scene from the movie, “The Wrestler”, he was so messed up from the fight.
I got a ride from an off-duty taxi driver who told me a funny story. He drove two grandes dames from the Michelin empire from Lausanne to Paris. Guess how much that costs? 2500 Swiss francs! That’s about US$2700 for a six hour drive. Even if you are rich, why would you do that? He said they wanted door-to-door service so they wouldn’t have to schlep their bags. I asked if they had a lot of bags, and he said no. There were rules, too: no music, don’t speak unless spoken to, that kind of thing.
The next driver told me a different kind of hitchhiking story. He picked up a guy at midnight at the same place that I was standing, in Aigle, on my way to Leysin, and he offered the driver 20 francs (US$22) to go another half hour up to Les Diablerets. When he did so, the guy burst out of the car without paying. The driver told the story jokingly, but it’s scumbags like that guy who make life harder for the next hitchhiker.
I am back in Leysin visiting my Canadian friend, Graydon, he of the many cycling trips all over the world. He took me on a viciously sadistic bike ride yesterday up 200 meters in altitude at a 12 percent grade, he said, but it felt like 2000 meters at an 89 percent grade. Brutal, but my new-found sexiness can’t be denied.
Know about Google AdWords? I am not even sure what it is myself, but I believe they are the ads that show up in the right column on Google search results or on your Gmail. I got a $100 gift certificate from them to promote my site. You bid an amount and if you win, your ad appears. As an experiment I decided to bid 1 cent on every hitchhiking keyword I could think of.
What it means is, if you do a search on Google for “hitchhiking” or you email someone about it, and you see an ad for my website, you know I paid 1 cent for the privilege. I think that’s how it works. Google says that the word is really worth 30 cents (“Kent Foster” is worth 40 cents somehow) so it will rarely appear, but I am biding my time until I get my act together and get my site looking presentable. I hope it happens in my lifetime.