I’ve been in the land of chocolate and cheese for a good five days now and I’m learning a great deal. I can finally say I know exactly what people mean when they say, ‘travelling is the best education’. I can only compare travelling to being five-years-old again, you can`t even cross the street without being at a risk of being hit by a car. And what is considered good manners in your country, might not ring true in another.

With that said, here are ten things I’ve learned about Switzerland thus far:

  1. The cars are confused
    Not only is the steering wheel on the wrong side of the car (left), they drive on the right-side of the road too. I caught myself yelping a few times thinking we are going to crash into others cars. Christine and Otto explained to me that they felt the same way about South Africa.
  2. Traffic lights can only be found in bigger cities 
    The last time I saw a robot (traffic light) was when my hosts picked me up from the airport. From there, it was all tunnels and traffic circles. At first I thought this is inane, but I changed my mind when I realised traffic is virtually non-existent. Pedestrians take precedence over cars. If you want to cross the street and there are cars coming, all you have to do is signal stop, and the metals horses all come to a screeching halt. Total bliss I tell you. They have mirrors instead of robots, talk about higher grade witchcraft.
  3. The Swiss are obsessed with Switzerland
    I’m yet to meet a people that are as patriotic as the Swiss are. It is one thing to have the flag of your country on food products, cars, but when you start putting them on your  windows, pot plants, napkins, that my dear friend is obsession. But then again, if I lived in country that looks like something Van Gogh painted, I would go a little nuts myself. To quote Christine, ‘Flags here are like flowers, that’s why you see them everywhere.’
  4. Don’t touch my mailbox!
    The Swiss are more worried about their mailboxes being tempered with, than being mugged. The mailbox in Switzerland is more secure than the houses and it looks like a safety box. It has two parts: the top has a slot for letters, the bottom section has a door for packages) with an engraved nameplate. This is rather a strange practice for people who have tuck-shops that don’t have cashiers.
  5.  Drinking in public is acceptable!
    Yip! You can buy a Sky Vodka and sit on the pavement and drink yourself stupid, no one will bat an eyelash.
  6. Everything costs an arm, a leg 
    Want to use the loo?
    Two Swiss Franc please and thank you. Now convert that into rands, that’s R 27. Before I came here, my hosts kept mentioning how offensively expensive this place is, I thought things couldn’t be that bad, until we went to a chocolate factory  and I paid, R 91 for a bar of chocolate. First I was hurt, then I was offended and then I accepted the fact that the rand is rubbish.
  7.  Pigs are adored
    The Swiss adore hogs, they believe that they bring luck, it is not uncommon to find it on greeting cards and the like. They love to eat it too.
  8.  Cats are not pets
    While you are busy sitting on the couch, with your cat napping on your lap, the cats in this region are out on the field hunting mice.
  9.  Everyone votes from home
    It’s simple really, you receive an envelope in your mailbox with all the information with regards what the government is asking of you. Then you put a cross next to the relevant box. You drop it at the post office and wala, Bob is your uncle!
  10. Clean up after your goddamn self!
    Domestic workers? What domestic workers? Clean up after yourself, you damn sloth! I think there might be a bunch that might have help, but so far I’ve seen none, I have only been here for five days after all.