RESTART: the Swiss chronicles: perks of $$$$$$$

Flashes of funny memories zip through my mind. Things seemingly unreal. As it’s late now, kinda past my bedtime but I kinda want to stay up til my eyes really tire 😉

So let’s do smthg easy: it’s all about the MONEY! This is la Suisse I’m talking about and we all know or at least have heard rumours about how they make their money. I’m not gonna speculate but I will report on things I’ve observed.


On a personal note, I realize that I have had pretty “boombastic” (yes, I said it!) job experiences here and ones where I got to learn a lot at the UN. So since some UN agencies are based in GVA and la Suisse is kinda RICH!, put two and two together and you get…..FREE STUFF!


As it is late and I could and will elaborate later, I will make a quick lil list of the best FREE things I experienced while here….

1. a boat cruise along the lake!!! this came in the form of a fancy invite during the July ECOSOC meeting — thanks so much dear CH/host government! Free nibbles n drinks for 3 hours on a hot summer’s nite? Prob the top of the free stuff!

Colleague: you should probably go to the opening session. It’s a big deal with good speakers…
Cathy: ummm ok (in mind thinking oh man, so many meetings)
Cathy: (looks over the speakers’ list…) OH SERIOUSLY Joseph Stiglitz WILL BE THERE????? (bigwig economist)
Colleague: Well it seems like it….
Cathy: I’m so there, man! (in head, thinks ooops that was so NOT professional!)
Colleague: Have fun, Cathy! ECOSOC switches between NYC and GVA so this is a once in TWO YEARS opportunity.
Cathy: Thanks so much for the heads up. Are you going too?
Colleague: No, I was in NYC last year. (No one else from office went…)

….. AND so I go, sit down, make myself comfortable. SADLY, J. Stiglitz doesn’t show (this sometimes happens due to late flight arrivals or scheduling issues on the day-of, especially for high-profile guests) AND within the first hour, they start handing out the fancy invites for the BOAT TOUR WOOT WOOT! Cathy 1, other colleagues 0! But, this might sound odd but the ppl who have worked in my field for several years DO NOT LIKE PARTIES ANYMORE!!!! It is so funny but there are A LOT and they’d rather just go home earlier and see their families….true story & I totally get it. BUT I’m kidless so bring on the parties!!!

on da BOAT!!! free wine bien sur 😛

2. On boats, I do love water things. I am an Aquarius so perhaps it’s partly that or the fact that my hometown is oceanside but anyway, another freebie was my first water taxi ride offered by a kind stranger (from Ottawa by chance) that I met on the walk home from work. He asked for directlons and we started chatting. And that’s how I learned that tourists staying in hotels here get free transit passes with their rooms and he gave me his son’s cuz that boy was sleeping due to jetlag so Cathy got on her first boat ride!

First time FREE, well, for me that is 😛

3. the WINE BOAT, sponsored by Coop, a big grocery chain here. It basically travels to the towns along the lake and opens up shop where there are free wine tasting nights and you can buy cases for a really good price. They could totally charge $10-$15 for this entry but it’s mostly free!!! UMMMMM OUI MERCI!

So that’s 3 free boating adventures! Perks of being lakeside I guess 🙂

4. Ooooohhh my, I cannot forget MY FREE TOUR TO THE LHC AT CERN! B/c I have basically learned to appreciate particle physics from scratch (never took it in high school), I was able to woo my awesome PHD friend into inviting me underground to tour the Large Hadron Collider—ummm what? Yeah I know that feeling, for those not into “nerd” science, it might seem foreign but it’s a really good thing. And it warrants its own blog post so I’ll be brief here. BASICALLY ONE OF THE GREATEST DAYS OF MY LIFE!

I LOVE CERN, no im not a scientist 😛

getting my geek on!

5. Oodles of free parties at the UN! It was kinda part of my job to errr, socialize/network/discuss policy at these shindigs!!!!!!!!!! The best one was supposed to include a concert by ANNIE LENNOX but at last minute, she was sick 🙁 And bien sur, free wine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6. Along with the parties & receptions, there were the UN sandwiches….gosh they saved my life a few times b/c I didn’t have breaks between conferences and meetings so I just scarfed these down…tuna was my fave but when hungry, I was just appreciative that some govts provided these. Overall UN catering is pretty good but the best were when the hosting countries served their ethnic foods….mmmmm drool just thinking about it!

7. LE CHOCOLAT BIEN SUR! Cailler Choco Factory includes a buffet at the end of their educational tour and when my friend JL was visiting me, she kept getting free Lindt choco ball samples from several shops….as they are so delicious, who could blame her? BTW the Swiss Consulate in Vancouver also had a few cubes of Swiss chocos on offer if ever you need their services 😛

drool! no words needed!

8. the bikes! They also have the city bikes program that others have BUT this is the GVA man & that means c’est gratuit!!!!! Yup, they take ur ID or info and you get a free bike for a couple hours. I think you pay if you use for more than 4???? On my second trip here in 2009, I used one to find a LUSH store cuz I love their products so much!

9. 2 for 1 movie tix. Duuuude we NEED these cuz a regular ticket costs 19chf which is like $21 and of course, once in awhile, you just have to pay the regular price and get burned. Sadly, it took me over a year to realize that I got Orange Tuesdays with my phone plan and so in 2014, I watched a few more movies. Hilariously, going to a theatre felt like such a treat b/c I hadn’t gone for so long and so I really savoured the movies I watched. And I saw some good ones like American Hustle, Grand Budapest Hotel, Osage August Country & that movie starring Woody Allen and Sofia Vegara….name forgetten 😛 Oooh found it, Fading Gigolo!

Wow already at 9 and TRUST ME, I got A LOT of FREE STUFF in the past 2 years! Thinking about it all made me realize that I should blog again. So here’s the RESTART, get ready, set, go!!!!

TA DA, yes so much BETTER with pics but damn, takes SO MUCH TIME!!!!!!

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