Swiss Proverbs

Happy Swiss National Day everyone!  Over the past year, we have fallen in love with Switzerland, its people and its character.  I thought an examination of Swiss proverbs might show something about the Swiss character.  Proverbs contain truths about how we think. Not surprisingly, the values expressed by the traditional Swiss proverbs seem pretty much in line with the Swiss national character.

  • “Think first, start later.”   Yep.  They’re deliberate.
  • “A clean house is a clean mind.”   Our streets and sidewalks are cleaned every morning (except Sunday).
  • “It is easier to criticize than to do better.”  They are also pretty good at minding their own business.
  • “Words are dwarfs, deeds are giants.”  In our experience, they don’t want to hear about what you are going to do, but what you have done.  Oh yeah, and it better be quantifiable.
  • “When in doubt who will win, be neutral.”  As the worlds longest running democracy, they’ve gotten rich by staying out of wars.
  • “The devil hides himself in details.”  They do seem to be very detail oriented.  Everything is planned to the n-th degree so that it will run like clockwork (preferably a Swiss timepiece), and it usually does.
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Camels And Falcons And Henna, Oh My!

Okay, okay, I know it is cheesy and a bit hokey, but I couldn’t help but enjoy myself at the “Arabian campsite” on my desert excursion.  I wish I’d been able to stay the night out in the desert, but settled for a sunset dinner.

Even with those sweet eyelashes and innocent eyes, I was glad that he had his muzzle on so he didn’t spit on me.

There were camels to ride outside the site and I immediately did it.  I couldn’t pass up my first (and perhaps only) opportunity to ride a camel.  Someone had warned me to hold on tight as the camel got up so it was surprisingly easy.

Falconry is popular in the region and we were treated to a falconry demonstration.  It was impressive.  After learning about raptors at the Carolina Raptor Center, I find them interesting, impressive animals.

The falconer takes off the mask, releases the bird, and swings the meat around on a string for the hawk grab.  Falcons come back for food.

Some people took advantage of the henna painters.  Others enjoyed smoking sheesha pipes.  A traditional pastime in Dubai, sheesha (also known as narghile in Turkey and hookah in India and Pakistan) is a long-stemmed smoking pipe packed with flavored tobacco.  I didn’t partake in that either, but I heard that Strawberry is the most popular favor.

I love middle-eastern food more than just about any other cuisine and was super excited for the spread.  In fact, I was so busy scarfing it down that I didn’t get a picture.  Sorry.

Luckily I was done eating by the time the belly-dancing started.  I love belly-dancing and the belly dancer was much better than I expected.  She performed in the heat for over a half an hour and had people mesmirised.  It is easy to see why.