Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Loss of a friend. Goodbye Danny.

Logging on to facebook yesterday morning I was shocked to see my old fraternity brothers updating their status messages with "RIP Danny". What in the world has happened? More details were revealed slowly and I found myself glued to the computer to try to find out more. Danny died in a car crash off the 405 at 2:30 AM. What a tradgedy.

I met Danny freshman year in the dorms and he was always so kind to everyone there. He worked at the front desk and I dated his roommate. He decorated his dorm room with huge pictures of Shakira and Janet Jackson. Our friendship grew as I became a brother of APX the next year. He was always the life of the party. Dancing, singing, and mixing drinks for everyone. He was always the first to show up and help out and was a great listener when you had a gripe that needed to be heard. We became roommates my 4th and 5th year and we always had lots of fun on the trampoline. I will always remember him cooking up plantains and warming corn tortillas.

I'm not sure how I feel. Being here has already put me at a distance from everyone and everything. I'm not connected like I used to be. I feel grief for sure but it reality hasn't sunken in yet. Did it really happen? How is this going to change things? I do know that I got the pleasure of knowing somebody with a warm heart and I will cherish the memories we had together. I just want to hug everyone who is grieving and tell them I understand. I want to share stories of the good times to honor his life. I feel like his life just ended way way way too soon. He never got to experience some of the greatest pleasures in life, and for that I feel terrible.

Now, I don't believe in an afterlife and I think prayers are useless. But whatever helps people be comforted I am all for. I take comfort in knowing that he can never be erased in the history of time. He will always have been there and touched so many hearts.


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Swiss Beers From Globus

I realized time was running out in Switzerland and that we would be moving out of Geneva really soon. Keeping this in mind at the Globus market, I picked up these two swiss micro-brews that promised big things but delivered a little flat.

La Cuivrée
Brewed By Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes, Jura Switzerland
Unfiltered Euro Style Pale Lager - 5.2%
I am guessing this isn't the brewery's best work. But I am eager to try other examples!

La Fraîcheur
Brewed By Brasserie Trois Dames - 4.6%
Wheat Beer. Citrusy with Coriander Smells.
It was terrible. Definitely an acquired taste.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

London Beers Are Falling Down ... Falling Down (Uh... I mean Bridge)

While consuming onion rings at the London Pub "Green Man Porter"we had to have some beer to wash down the greasiness. (This was all Tami's idea btw). London has a rich beer tradition and we wanted to sample some cask ale's while we were at it. A cask ale is - "Cask ale or cask-conditioned beer is the term for unfiltered and unpasteurised beer which is conditioned (includingsecondary fermentation) and served from a cask without additional nitrogen or carbon dioxide pressure."

Bulmer's Cider. Original & Pear Flavored.
I know, I know it's not beer. But England has great not super sweet cider's too!

Adnams Broadside.
Brewed by Sole Bay Brewery UL. Dark Bitter Cask Ale - 4.7%
Mellow yet lightly sour. Medium roasted malts.

Forgot to take a picture of this one till the very end.
Marston's Pedigree
Cask Ale - 4.5%
More sour and bitter then the Broadside.

Fuller's London Pride
Brewed By Fuller Smith & Turner - 4.7%


Monday, July 27, 2009

London Weekend In Brief

Here's what we did in London in brief bullet points:

- Found our way from Gatwick airport, not via Gatwick Express. Via local trains and a couple tube lines.
- Ate lots of food. Whoever thinks England has bad food, doesn't know what they are talking about. Ate full veggie english breakfasts, red veg vegetarian fast food, wagamama, dim sum, smoothies, bangers & mash, fish & chips, and lots of beer.
- Borough Market and Camden Town Markets.
- Went shopping down Oxford Street.
- Went to two of the oldest pubs in England.
- Saw broadway show Ave Q with last minute tickets! Hung out at Piccadilly Circus to see if we ran into anybody we knew.
- Ran thru the airport, cut thru security (it wasn't easy to convince people!), and hightailed it to the gate.
- Relaxed and enjoyed the hotel room and watching the construction right outside our window.
- Didn't do any sight seeing touristy stuff since we have already done it all there. Rick & Tami did the hop on hop off tour bus thing before we met up with them.

I didn't take a lot of pictures.

Full English Veggie Breakfast + Toast

Borough Market

These "Luxury" English Muffins Look Amazing


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Health Care & Insurance Debate

There is a huge debate going on back home about health care and how the whole system is running. Here are my simple points I would like to make.

1. The US system IS NOT the best in the world. It is not the best in mortality rates, life spans, and access to doctors. Nay sayers are trying to SCARE you into thinking that you won't get good health care. That is blatantly false.

2. Lots of people are uninsured. Not just the lower class. So when these people get sick, it costs ALL of us.

3. I would much much much rather have a government employee who has nothing to gain from denying me care approving what my doctors do then some insurance company employee who will get a bonus if I don't get my procedure. FOR PROFIT health care simply doesn't work.

4. Health care costs are increasing. It's a reality. We pay 3 times as much for the EXACT same treatments then other people under a national health care plan.

5. A nationalized system would keep costs under check. Competition is key.

6. People get denied health care ALL the time now. Once again, nay-sayers are trying to SCARE you that you won't get a procedure you need under nationalized health care. The reality is, you will denied NOW under the CURRENT system if the insurance company stands to make a buck.

7. There are simply too many loopholes now for insurance companies to deny you coverage. Pre-existing condition anyone? Everyone has one. Ever been to the doctor? They may count it as a possible pre-existing condition. Even if you are granted coverage, if they find out ONE doctor visit you forgot about when filling out the paperwork, they could deny you coverage and claim you lied about preexisting conditions. Does that seem like a system that is working well?

8. If you want to check out some nationalized health care systems of the world, try looking outside Canada and the UK. The Swiss have a great system and so does Taiwan. Don't let another language stop you from informing yourself.

9. Did you realize people are AFRAID of traveling to the US because our health care system is so bad? Silly yes, but the stigma is there. You don't get bad stigma's from having a perfect system.

The whole point is, the system needs to change. And why not now? Don't be scared to work towards the future!


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Brasserie Du Mont Blanc - La Blonde

Driving back from Florence was a grueling drive. 6 hours in the car isn't programmed into my "routine" driving anymore like it is in CA. We just went thru the tunnel for the last time this year (tear) and stopped for gas. We treated ourselves and bought this beer at the gas station. Don't worry Mom & Dad, we waited till we got home to drink it. It is always so funny how Europeans drink beer during breaks at rest-stops and that beer and booze is even sold there! Oh well, we were thankful to pick up this gem of a beer. The water in it comes directly from the glacier that is melting off Mont Blanc! Yummy!

Brasserie Du Mont Blanc - La Blonde
5.8% Belgian Ale
Brewed by Brasserie Du Mont Blanc in Les Houches, France.
Me like a French beer? Yes indeed!

Something on the internet about this beer:

The Water is particularly pure, consisting of rainwater and snow-melt transformed into ice and filtered over several hundreds of metres through morainic sand and gravel. The role the water purity plays cannot be underestimated, it allows all the ingredients to come into their own.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Pinkus Hefeweizen

The key to successful travel is research research research. The more places you write down where to eat and what to do, the more time you have while actually on vacation to enjoy instead of compromising between McDonald's and a tourist trap with a plastic menu. (Been there, done that). For my recently completely vegetarian inlaw's and long time pescatarian hubby I looked up a place called "Il Vegetariano" in Florence. It was a self serve place that had FABULOUS food! So great, we ate there twice. The mushroom soup and the carrot soups were out of this world and the salad's weren't shabby either. It was nice to see refreshing healthy food in front of us rather then cheese laden greasy pizzas. Here's what we washed down the meal with:

Pinkus Hefeweizen
Organic German Hefe enojoyed at Il Vegetariano in Florence
5.10% brewed by Brauereu Pinkus Muelle


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Feldschlösschen Urtrüb

Feldschlösschen Urtrüb
Enjoyed with Rösti in the Bernese Oberland
Brewed by Carlsberg in Rheinfelden, Switzerland
5% - Yummy Amber Color, Light Body with Caramel Notes.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Selling the Green Machine

In case there is any interest in the blogosphere about our pursuit to sell our car . . . email me if interested!

Mercedes Benz A160 Elegance -- Automatic Clutch -- 6750 CHF

Mercedes Benz A160 Elegance
First Matriculation: Oct '98
Mileage: 127,000 km
Comparis Target Price: 7775 CHF
My Asking Price: 6750 CHF

This is a wonderful little 5 door (4 doors plus hatchback) car with plenty of room to take a long road trip with 4 people plus a bit of luggage (we've done it several times).

This car has an automatic clutch. Essentially it has a completely standard manual gear box, but the car does the clutch work for you. It's a nice compromise between getting an automatic and a manual. Very easy to learn if you are unfamiliar with manual transmissions, but also satisfying if you are used to manual transmissions and don't like automatics.

Features include:
Automatic Clutch w/ Manual Transmission
Stability Control
Climate Control
Heated Mirrors
CD Player
Power Steering / Windows / Locks
Carphone (I'll remove it if you don't want it!)


Rick & Tami Visit - Part 1

Rob's parents have come to visit and we have been running around seeing as much as we can with them. We did a few new things and a few old things but had fun relaxing and enjoying no matter where we were.

The trip started with them landing in Geneva and helping them recover from jetlag. Our advice on jetlag is to stay up till normal bedtime, eat meals even if your not hungry at the appropriate time for your new time zone, and take melatonin to keep you asleep thru the entire night.

Saturday we headed to Chamonix and to take the tele-cabin up to the Mont Blanc viewing station. It is kinda cloudy but the wind didn't stop the tele-cabin from going to the top. It's a little pricey (40 euro) for a round trip, but totally worth it. There is a mid way station on the way up that we stopped at for our packed picnic lunch. It was simply serene. Being above the tree line, watching brave soles ice climb the glaciers with their heavy gear, and me enjoying the cold wind on my bare legs since I foolishly decided to wear shorts! It was warm at the bottom, but chilly at the top.

At the top station overlooking Mont Blanc

Lunchtime Picnic Serenity

We then drove thru the alps and made our way to the Oberland. We stayed at the all famous mountain hostel and had to endure the youthful folks and a dorm bed environment. We weren't sure if Rick and Tami would be up for it, but they were troopers, and it was only for one night. We ate some wonderful traditional rosti and drank beers. The next day we saw the Trummelbach Falls again and headed back to Geneva with a quick lunch stop thru Bern.

Tami @ Mountain Hostel

We relaxed and enjoyed Geneva at a leisurely pace the next few days before we took off to the Cinque Terre. Our second time there and ended up staying in an apartment just one entrance away from our last place. We did a lot of the same stuff and enjoyed eating fantastic Liguirian cuisine.

Lazy Relaxed Full of Stairs Cinque Terre

It was then off to Florence to take in some famous Gelato at Vivoli and climb the Duomo steps. We decided to explore separately on these days so we all didn't have to do the same things. Plus it would be a great warmup for Tami & Rick to explore Rome together this week without us as tour guides. Rob and I drove back to Geneva on Monday morning and fly out to meet them in London this Thursday for part 2 our their visit. It has been lots of fun to have them here and getting to share our European experience with them. They got to appreciate for themselves how much I loathe doing laundry here!


To see the rest of my pictures from Part 1 ~ Click Here!


Did you know that in Switzerland . . .

Did you know that in Switzerland . . . assisted suicide is legal? The swiss has some crazy laws and fines, but they have it right on this one. Don't invade in other's people lives. If they want to end their life, let them. It is nobodies business but the individual.

Here's the NYTimes article about a couple who had to flee to Zurich to end their life together. Rob sent it to me and of course it made me cry. I am not exactly sure why it made me sob like a baby. Maybe it was because it was sweet and sad at the same time? I'm not sure I fully agree with their decisions but I respect that it was their decision to make. There are a lot of complicated issues that come with assisted suicide laws including whether somebody is mentally stable enough to make the decision or not, or does somebody have to be deemed terminally ill to have the right? It may be extremely complicated, but the system the US/UK have in place now (with exception of one state) burdens the life of so many who have a wish to end their existence. Something needs to change. It's an extremely hard topic of conversation but the conversation is but necessary.

One of the commenters on the article said this which I fully agree with, "It's the same people who would shout that the unborn have a right to live that shout that the living have no right to die."

This was kind of a downer post, huh?

More Information & Research . . .

Here's another article from Times Magazine . . .

Another quote on the opposition side - Gordon Brown UK Prime Minister, " I believe that it’s necessary to ensure that there is a never a case in the country where a sick or elderly person feels under pressure to agree to an assisted death or somehow feels it’s the expected thing to do. That’s why I’ve always opposed legislation for assisted deaths.”


Monday, July 13, 2009

Not Much Blogging Lately - I'll Catch Up Tomorrow!

Haven't posted in about a week and a half. Sorry!

I'll catch up soon. Tami & Rick (my inlaw's / Rob's parents) are in town and we have been running all over the place. We have a few days of break from traveling with them and I am going to try to make the best of them. We've been back to the Oberland, Cinque Terre, and Florence with them. On thursday we meet up on London. Right after that we have two weeks to pack up our apartment and then 2.5 more weeks of travel before we are home for good! It's getting hard to believe that our European adventure is coming to a close. It really flew by! Especially since we decided to cut it a couple months short then we originally thought!

Anyway, just wanted to shout (type) a quick hi to the blogosphere out there! Lots of beer tales and travel tales to come this week!


Friday, July 3, 2009

Sunflower Fields & Jessica & Jace Visit!

I better catch up with my blogging! Jessica posted her story about visiting Geneva this past weekend and I just have a couple pics to share! Jessica & Jace were fun to hang out with, show around, and super flexible about not finding escargot!

Before they got to the train station, Rob and I spent time out by the sunflower fields that are blooming by CERN. They weren't completely open yet, but was still so amazingly beautiful.

Here's some pics from the weekend!

Sunflowers & The Globe at CERN


Jet D'Eau

Jessica does not know I took this picture of her taking a picture of the ducks :)

J & J !


About This Blog

Tina & Rob have relocated their lives to Geneva, Switzerland. This blog is a story of their adventure during the year and all the details inbetween.

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Finding Simplicity

Three rules of work: Out of clutter find simplicity; 
From discord find harmony; 
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
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