Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Missed sights

Today was one of those days I should have taken my camera to work.

Just next to the tram stop by my house, there is a tram parking lot (you know, where the trams sleep at night). It's usually empty during the day, but this morning there was one there, surrounded by 3 fire trucks and about 20 Swiss fire fighters. Several were lying on pallets inspecting something underneath. At first I thought maybe someone claimed there was an explosive device on the tram!! But I quickly realized they would have cleared the surrounding area. There was no evidence of fire (no scorch marks on the tram or any hint of smoke smell) and I really couldn't figure it out. Strange realization--this was the first time I'd seen fire fighters since I moved here. They looked more like a road construction crew than fire fighters, although I can't put my finger on why, and their helmets seemed a bit Star Wars, which amused me.

Then I passed a moving operation--someone was moving a company into a 3rd floor office via the window. The buildings here don't have those hooks that are so common in Amsterdam because the buildings there have such narrow stairs. Here they had a kind of ladder/conveyer belt thing going up to the window. I love watching weird stuff like that. One day I "caught" the emptying of the recycling bins. Here in Switzerland you recycle metal and glass by carrying it to a set of bins which are scattered about the city--usually you don't have to walk more than a few blocks to find one. They are blue and about as tall as a person (here is a tiny picture), with a little rubber-flapped mouth at eye level. Turns out they open from the bottom when picked up by a giant crane. I was mesmerized one morning watching the ones by my apartment being emptied.

Speaking of hauling one's waste around, yesterday I got home and found a note taped to the door stating that, effective immediately, we were no longer allowed to leave trash on the sidewalk. It used to be that you bought special, taxed garbage bags, filled them up, and left them on the sidewalk and the city picked them up on designated days (once or twice a week, depending on the neighborhood). Some buildings have smallish dumpsters for the bags, but not all. My current building is one of the dumpster-less ones. I now have to walk 3 or 4 blocks with my garbage to an officially designated drop off point. Ugh. The bags are really cheap and often rip, and the handles are very thin plastic which really cuts into the fingers. The last place I lived, in New Hampshire, had no garbage service. I had to drive to the dump to get rid of my trash, and the dump was open only on Saturdays from 9 to 12 and I found it a real pain to get over there. Since moved here, I had been really enjoying the fact that someone comes to my house and takes my garbage away. Guess the honeymoon is over.

On a good note, I found some clover honey last night--I find the local honey to be rather strong (no idea what those bees are snacking on) and I was thrilled to find some good Canadian clover honey. We will not discuss my carbon footprint at this juncture.

I'm furiously trying to finish the unspun sweater. I have 8 more rows on the front top (I knit the body in the round up to the arms and then split it--the back is done), and I still have to knit the sleeves and a collar. I've also been spinning up a bunch of sock yarn so I have some good portable knitting when I head off to Tromso next week to visit the unspun sweater's new owner.



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