Tuesday, November 20, 2007

20 November 2007

“If you’re going to do something, you might as well overdo it” seems to be the theme of my recent and near-future life. I won’t be spending a whole weekend in town for two months. This past weekend, I was in Brussels. The next two weekends (and the week in between), I’ll be in Kenya. Then Amsterdam. Then Davos. The two weekends (and the week in between) after that, I’ll be in the States. Nineteen hours in Switzerland, and then an extra-long weekend in Morocco. Then maybe (just maybe), a weekend in Zurich before I take off for a weekend in Madrid. Whew. It ain't easy trying to be a jetsetter.

And it’s not just the travel that’s being taken to the point of excess. How’s this for a textbook example of gluttony – my friends and I flew to Brussels Saturday morning to try out lunch and dinner at two Michelin-starred restaurants (and the two meals combined took over seven hours), stayed the night, then flew back 24 hours later, just in time to waddle into Thanksgiving dinner #1. I had Thanksgiving leftovers for lunch the next day. Thanksgiving dinner #2 will be this Thursday (we make up for the lack of a long weekend by overdosing on turkey more than once). I will probably have eaten a month’s worth of food in a week’s worth of time. Burp. Incidentally, dinner at Comme Chez Soi was a near-religious experience, and worth every franc spent to get there, and euro spent to eat there.

Speaking of food, it’s common in many languages to use food-based pet names. In English, for instance, people call each other honey, pumpkin, sugar, or sweetie pie. A friend of mine was taken aback however, when her German boyfriend called her (in English) his “honey cake horse.” What?! It turns out he had directly translated a German term of endearment (Honigkuchenpferd, in case you’re curious) into English, assuming that it would make as much sense in English as it apparently does in German. A quick peek at a website listing other German terms of endearment reveals such gems as Humpfimumpfi, and Marzipankugelschweinchen (marzipan ball piglet). Charming, no? They just roll right off your tongue.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons that the stereotypical German speaker is not known for his (or her) romantic conquests – it’s hard to win someone over when you’re comparing them to farm animals or lesser-known carbohydrates. Never fear, though, just as in the States, there are dating sites and dating shows to help those who cannot help themselves. "Swiss Date" is a long-running dating show that is similar to the "Dating Game," where a bachelor (or bachelorette) asks three contestants a series of questions, and then chooses a lucky winner.

The sad thing, however, is that the show is entirely scripted, so that everyone know what questions will be asked, and the contestants often read their strained joking responses off of index cards held in their laps. I realize that reality shows are often scripted, but it’s best to maintain the semblance of spontaneity by eliminating the visible cue cards. Just a tip.

My friends and I leave for Kenya this week! The two of them leave Thursday morning and will actually spend Thanksgiving evening in Nairobi, where they plan to eat Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant that serves unusual game meats such as crocodile, giraffe, and zebra. I’ll join them on Saturday, and we hope to spend the week relaxing at the beach, going on a safari, enjoying the equatorial weather, and not catching malaria.

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