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And now...

And now for something completely different.

Before I head to bed and embark on a day of solid research paper writing, I thouht I would enlighten you as to why I don't have plans to head to Switzerland anytime soon.

A while back I was in Hanover, Germany, for the World Expo. This is a huge event put on by countries all over the world that showcases international art, culture, technology, music, food, accomplishments, etc. It's pretty much an exercise in worldwide grandiosity. The grounds themselves are generally arranged by nation, with the larger industrialized nations typically having their own giant pavilions that are built around a certain theme that emphasizes that country. Additionally, you could obtain a 'World Expo Passport' that can be stamped at each country you visit.

On this particular day I was journeying around with a couple of friends to various pavilions. Some are very modern in design, taking you on a cultural journey that highlights the superiority of that country. Some are more campy and have you participate in some kind of experience. Some are giant architectual wonders, some are just laughable.

But this year, there was Switzerland, which defied all descriptions.

Wandering into a giant mass of stacked timber walls, you suddently realize that you are in some kind of giant freaky maze. While walking around this odd construction, which offers absolutely no discernable information about the country, you soon realize that you are being followed by a glassy-eyed accordion player who is staring straight ahead and slowly squeezing the instrument in and out, creating a constant, low monotonous noise. This is disconcerting, but you, being a rational individual, figure that there is some kind of larger purpose to this. Normally we would have jetted out of there but we still haven't found the passport station. Rounding another corner, we run into yet another costumed oddity, this time randomly banging on a portable xylophone-type contraption and slowly walking with the same glazey-eyed stare. Apparently Switzerland is the land of musically-inept zombies. With curiosity finally overcoming the subtle sense of horror-movie-type dread and the cacaphonous noise boucing off the timber walls, we fall in behind one of these oddities and follow him to the center of this labyrinth, where we discover that they all come together to form a random-noise band. Strangely captivated by our sense of total disgust and cognitive dissonance over what just happened, we can't help but walk away, now with fresh stamps in hand, thinking "Switzerland was completely out of ideas."

Or it may have been a brilliant campaign to slow down tourism, because I certainly moved it down several slots on my travel itenerary.


Visit the Swiss Sound Booth at WorldExpo. (at your own risk)


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