Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Luzerne and whats this? I have work to do?

Yah, I didn't sit at my desk the entire day doing nothing! But the weekend first.

On Friday, I had a couple of beer in the coffee room with my colleagues in the afternoon before heading out to a BBQ in a town just south of Baden. I met up with a friend of mine, Mike, and headed to a grocery store to pick up some bratwurst, buns, and beer. I came out with 4 brats to be split between the two of us and an entire loaf of bread. We got lost trying to find a bridge across the river and I found myself face to face with a very sleep embankment above me and a river below me. I didn't feel like swimming. Eventually we found the bridge and the party. It was a great time. I met a girl from Oslo and learnt that you can legally camp almost anywhere in Sweden. Or was it Norway? I should get the fact straight before I head up there and pitch a tent in someones backyard forest. But I'm pretty sure it's Sweden. I also met some guys from Toronto who were praktikants at Alstom. Btw, the ├╝bersandwich was amazing. Although everyone was staring at me like I was somehow insane...

Luzerne! Pretty city with some pretty cool stuff like the world's saddest rock. An amusing fact: apparently Luzerne is full of pyros because it seems like half the city has burnt down in the last couple of centuries. It is also situated next to a massive lake, the Vierwaldstattersee. I checked out the oldest glassworks in Switzerland on Saturday and went out with a few Swiss guys in the evening for beer. I had been planning all day on going back to the hostel and going to bed nice and early so I'd be fully functional for Sunday. Huge surprise, it didn't happen.

Sunday was a day trip via boat and the worlds steepest cogwheel train to the top of Mount Pilatus (by legend, the resting place of Pontius Pilate). The view was amazing. Then I went down a cablecar to a toboggan/luge track and ripped down the track at mach one. I almost went too fast and launched off the track. Luckily, I tapped the brakes in time.

The weekend rolled to an end with a hike down the rest of the mountain back to Luzerne, and sitting by the lake with a loaf of bread and block of cheese. Am I Swiss yet?

Work. I've actually had people asking me about how work is going. And to put it plainly, I have come to the realization that this year, work is essentially something that gets in the way of a year-long vacation. Ok I'm kidding. It is definitely the main reason I'm here. I wish that I had more to do, because it is a tad slow at the moment, although I know that my predecessor had one of the heaviest workloads of all the interns; so I'm sure it'll turn around once I know the ropes well enough, which is happening quite quickly. I reviewed an entire fifth-year gas turbine course my supervisor did. We went over it together as "training", and it took 3 hours. Talk about a mind-bender. At least we skipped the equations or I'd have passed out. I go to as many meetings as I can, so basically every single one I am invited to. Its good for background information and getting myself used to the various concepts used around the office. And understanding the workload distribution.

As for this week, I rode my bike 3km to get to Aldi (a cheap grocery store chain originating in Germany and relatively new to Switzerland) just to see where it was and see if it was actually cheap. I had a nice conversation with a random Swiss lady when I asked her if the milk I was going to buy was UHT. Amazingly, I actually understood what she said. On the downside, she wasn't sure. I got it anyway. Yesterday, Chris and I went to Germany for a REAL grocery trip where we got 500g of hackfleisch for only 1.50 EUR. We'd have paid 10CHF in Switzerland for that. Oh, and I got a haircut yesterday via Celia. Free is so much better than paying a barber.

La Tomatina! If that means anything to you, Kudos. And for all you guessers out there, its not "the tomatos".