einen blog

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Number 3, Hair Care at Time Tunnel

One of the most important aspects of finally enjoying living here was finding all of the things that make it feel like home: the store that's open until 11 pm, the bike shop that carries round allen head screws, and, for person with big hair, a stylist that knows how to take care of those large locks.

So, if you walk down the main tourist drag you come to this sign:

which points down this narrow alley:

And there

(note the cool furniture, books, and espresso machine...)

You find my hairdresser, Katja. She's more "famous" for doing hair like this:

But she also does normal. And she speaks english very well, so I don't worry that if I just nod and say "ja, ja", as I normally do if I don't understand what people are saying, I will end up with skunk hair...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Number 4, Sublime Healthcare

Okay, these next four posts are going to seem out of order and possibly shallow. But, this is my list of favorite Zurich things, so while healthcare is important, its not the most important thing for me right now. Possibly I will need to re-visit the top ten list order when I'm being helicoptered out of alps after a hard day of skiing. Nevertheless, the healthcare system here is definitely one of my most favorite aspects of living here. And here's why: its affordable and convenient.

A little story: last year on the day I arrived I was really, really sick. Almost in need of hostpitalization. I asked around and the secretary suggested that I go to the doctor's office in the train station - not quite the emergency room, but you don't need an appointment. So I went, they gave me a strep throat culture, had the results back to me in 10 minutes and sent me on my way to the pharmacy next door for antibiotics in less than an hour.

(Clinic is the blue awning, pharmacy in green)

The doctor's visit, including the strep culture and without health insurance, cost me $40. Fast forward to a week ago, same symptoms, I have health insurance but my deductable is large, so I figure I will just go back to the train station clinic. I end up with the same doctor and while he doesn't recognize me, he is able to look up my previous visit in the computer (no paper chart required). He gives me a strep culture and this time negative. But instead of sending me home with "hot tea" advice, he does a blood test. I thought it would take at least a day to get the results...no, 5 minutes. Turns out, I have another bacterial throat thing, so he gives me antibiotics and a nice goodbye in which he says he'll "see me next year at the same time". This time the doctor's visit including throat culture and blood test, without health insurance paying anything yet: $42. And 2 hours for a full diagnosis. No hassle healthcare.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Number 5, Zurich recycles

It seems like you can't walk two blocks in Zurich without stumbling over one of these cute little recycling centers:

(actually not so little, beneath each receptacle lies a giant cavern)

There is also this, the online personal recycling calendar so you can look up the days your paper, cardboard, old clothes and shoes, compost and electronics get picked up for recycling. Even better, because we pay for trash by the bag instead of a big bin for the building, most people are obsessive about recycling anything that can be recycled. This has resulted in a 40% decrease in garbage production for Zurich since 1992. And our recycling rate is over 90%. Its funny how something so simple makes you feel like you're experiencing an enlightened quality of life.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Number 6, BBQing at the lake

The only thing better than drinking the glacial water is swimming in it once it gets warm enough.... Now that its summer again, we're spending our long evenings after work hanging out at the Zurihorn, a park next to lake. There's frisbee, swimming and bbq'ing. Although euro-bbqs are a little different. And by little, I mean small:

because we come by bicycle or foot, we can't haul a large grill around, instead we buy these disposable grills that last barely long enough to cook 10 persons' worth of food before they die.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Number 7, size matters and so does public transportation

Most days I ride my bike to work, and it takes me about 10 minutes. This is almost all the way across town and up a hill. If I take public transport, 20 minutes, by foot, 40 minutes. In reality, this means that late at night (after 1:30am), when the most excellent public transport

stops running, you can walk home easily.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Number 8, the water

Delicious glacial water comes out of my tap. It requires no filtration and doesn't taste of treatment chemicals. In addition, this same water is available free all over town coming out of the ubiquitous fountains, these are the 3 within one block of the building I work in:

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Number 9, cheap furniture

When I first got my apartment, I was under the impression that in the absence of craigslist furniture I would be either a) buying everything at Ikea, or b) spending a fortune on a leather sofa. It turns out that there are a plethera of Brockenhaus, better known affectionately as the Brocki's. They can either be run by the Heil's Armee, or be independent, such as my favorite shown here. This particular one is only 3 blocks away from my house and is run by an older Indian man and his brother. The brother likes to pretend he's 20 and insists on telling dirty jokes (in perfect english). As far as I can tell he never throws anything away, so there are stacks of vinyl, cassette tapes and broken pottery mixed in with furniture taken from closed down asian restaurants. The only way they could be better is if they sold Levis and t-shirts advertising the local soccer league.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Number 10, New Point, better than McDonalds

One of the things I miss the most about California is the mexican food, and specifically burritoes. The closest we have here are Doner Kebabs, sold at the multitude of kebab stands dotted acors Zurich. But, by far the best are those served at New Point, a fast food franchise more prevalent than McDonalds or Starbucks.

And I love them so much, I bring my friends there to eat when they visit. Like Ingrid, who I brought to my local New Point at Albisriederplatz.

But, there are lots of other locations,

like this one, in West Zurich in the industrial section of town.

or this one

next to the Post Office

Top Ten Zurich in Ten Days

okay, so I've been a terrible blogger, but that's all going to change in the next ten days because its my anniversary. Yup, I've been living here for a year and while I haven't been showing it here, I have been finding fantastic, amazing things about living here in Zuri. So, my favorite ten things about Zurich, one a day until June 29, the day I arrived.