Samstag, 3. September 2011

So again, two weeks have passed...

without me posting any new blogs! This is almost a scandal ;-), since I had so much fun during this time. Work had been very busy, but my publication is finally coming together. After work, I always stay at my office to do some University-work - and this is coming along really well, too. And after that and on the weekends I have fund with my friends.

So, basically I can sum up my life as: I work hard and party hard.

But let me start from the beginning.

Again, I went to CERN to take part at a guided tour. A nice engineer PhD student from Finnland tried to explain the functions and missions of CERN - but again, you could not really understand, what he was talking about. And you don't really get to see anything during the 1 1/2 hour tour. They start with a short movie, which is from the 1980s and therefore very old, considering all the technical and theoretical improvements in the world of physics. Then, you get to see a 3-D movie about how they installed the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) into the ATLAS station. Well, it is interesting to see, how they got this huge thing into the building, but not that interesting to make a 25 min. video out of it. And it didn't really help that our guide always got really excited, when a huge machine showed up on the screen: "and look at this! Soo facinating! Very amazing!" (for me, it was just a bunch of metal and cables).

3D movie outfit

This is the control center of the LHC.

Just to get an idea, how big this collider is, here is the dome infront of the ATLAS building. And the collider is as big as this dome.

So, what the collider basically does is, to accelerate protons almost up to the speed of light and then let them collide. This is the simulation of the situation right after the Big Bang. So, the whole CERN-mission is to find out the conditions right after the Big Bang. And listening to the speach of the guide, this Big Bang pops up all the time. Big Bang here, Big Bang there... So, I asked the guide: "So, CERN basically premises that the universe began with the Big Bang. But I thought that the Big Bang theory was just one of many possible theories and not fully proven, yet. Or have I missed something in the past few years?!" Yeah, I guess, that was the wrong question. The guide didn't really know what to say, but "well, we gotta start somewhere, right?".

I mean, I guess that the Big Bang theory is now the most widely acknowledged theory. But imagine that this theory is false! Then all this money, all this effort was put into a hypothetical situation.

Anyhow, coming out of CERN gave me this impression of human beings playing around with an universe construction kit.

Since the last weeks were really really hot and very nice, I escaped my unbearably hot room, by spending the weekends on the UN-Beach. It is a private beach of the UN and really nice - since, unlike all the public beaches, it is not too crowded and you can leave your stuff laying around without the fear that your things get stolen.

And in the evening of the 13.08., it was the final night of fêtes de Geneve, we had an amazing firework, enjoying from our deck-terrasse! You had fireworks synchronized with music for almost one hour! It was fantastic!

15.08.2011 - Annecy

Annecy - what a cute little village!

It takes around 2 hours to get to this French village by bus from Geneva and a round trip costs 33 CHF.

First, we took the tour through the city.

Then we got hungry... And compared to Geneva the prices are very cheap!

view from our table in the restaurant.

Finally - a nice meal!!!

The tour continues.... There are so many cute little individual shops! I wish, I would have gone there on a week day to do some shopping.

... went up to the castle...

... had the view over the village (kind of reminded me of Salzburg)...

... and we reched the lake. The water was amazingly clear. You could see the bottom of the lake!

Since we wanted to swim, but the beach was very far away, we simply rented a motorboat. It was 8 € /person for one hour - and the best idea ever!

So we drove in the middle of the lake and went swimming there. Soooo nice! The water was pretty warm and with the view on the mountains - superb!

Group picture...

and then this guy jumped in!!!

After the obligatory icecream the day in Annecy came to an end.

17.08.2011 - Indian & African Dinner

I was invited to an Indian and African Dinner. This funny combination occured due to the fact that my Indian friend and my friend from Cameroon cooked for us.

It was way too much food, REALLY delicious and a very cheerful night! Sorry for the poor quality of the pictures. I forgot my camera at that night and had to take my phone to take pictures.

The only thing that bothered my was that they wouldn't let us share the costs of the meal. I know, its a cultural thing. But me, I feel much better, if I know I at least could contribute a little bit, and even if its just money.... On the other hand, I realized that it is also kind of rude to feel good, just because you paid some money. So, I wrote them both a little thank you note the next day and sent them some chocolate. I guess, that's a good diplomatic solution, no?

18.08.2011 - UN-lunch at WMO & Farewell-Party

Every Wednesday, it's UN-lunch day. This time, we went to WMO (World Meterological Organization) to enjoy our lunch on their gorgeous deck cafeteria. Have a look:

with the view on Geneva lake

and the Palais des Nations


Working at ILO means a constant come and go of interns. Every two weeks there are new interns coming - what on the other hand means that interns are parting, too. Sadly, one of my Lithuanian friends had to go, too. So we threw her a farewell party on our deck-terrasse with some BBQ!

19.08.2011 - Columbian Dinner

I have never been to South America. And the only South-American food I know, is probably Mexican. Its actually stupid to think, that all South Americans eat tacos and fajitas - but I never really thought about it. Till, some friends of mine suggested to go eat Columbian food!

So we went to this one litte store, which actually sells Columbian products - like coffee etc. And the owners of the store (powerful Columbian lady with a quite calm Swiss husband) cooked us some typical Columbian meals. hmmmm.... sooo yummie!

I cannot recall the names of those meals. Something with rice, beans, meat, fried banana leafs, etc.

This was something with really long cooked meat.

And then there was this juice of a special Columbian fruit - so good! It tasted like gooseberry (Stachelbeere) juice - I like! On the pic you can see Columbian beer and a soft drink called Columbiana to be mixed with the beer.

Here a typical Columbian soft drink - which tastes like fanta grape. Not bad either!

And a caramel like bonbon for the way home. (I didn't like this - I have to say)

23.08.2011 - UNHCR

From time to time there is a chance to go to other UN-agencies and listen to seminars or speeches held by noted experts. This time I went to a short seminar at the UNHCR - the UN Refugee Agency get informed about the situation at the Horn of Africa, especially the refugees from Somalia and the situation in South Sudan. It was quite interesting, but the airconditioning was so loud that you hardly could hear the speaker (and there was no microphone) and 30 min. are way to short for such a wide topic!!!

Anyhow, even though I didn't really get much out of the seminar, a friend of mine, who worked at the UNHCR gave us a little tour, which was nice. First, I thought the building is very nice, with all the light coming in. Till - my friend told us that the architect usually designs prisons.... Yeah - suddenly it really looks like a prison. Don't you think?

24.08.2011 - Gordon Brown

The Director General of ILO invited ex Primeminister of GB Gordon Brown to hold a speech about how to get out of the economic crisis. So, of course I go, to listen to him. As an intern, you do everything to change everydays routine - get some spice into the day.

So, after lunch, we interns gather in the appointed hall - 30 min. early - to get some seats.

20 min. later, all the interns have seats, but many staff members are standing, 'cause they arrived too late. Well, I think, who comes first gets lucky - but not so at ILO. So, as the conference hall get more and more crowded, they suddenly announce - 2 min. before the speech - that we are moving to the big conference room.

So the big crowd moves....

Me, with the UN characteristic ear piece.

And the speech starts:

The core of the speech was basically that each country cannot fight the crisis on their own, but they have to find global standards to get out of this misery. Listening to his speach, I noticed that he seems to consider GB not as a part of the EU. Yeah, that's a great start to find common standards to get out of the crisis!

After the speech, everybody seems to be very impressed by his talking skills: "he is such a good speaker! He didn't even use a skript! So much charisma!"

But I was skeptical. I mean, I don't really have much knowledge of this topic besides what I read in the newspaper. But suggesting that countries should work together to get out of a global crisis doesn't really seem to be a very surprising innovative idea to me. And regarding his speech-skills: of course he is a good speaker! He wouldn't have become PM, if he was a bad one, no? And he actually had a skript - just nobody noticed.

All in all, I wasn't really impressed. In my opinion, he is not very charismatic either - compared to Tony Blair or Barack Obama. He is more the Angela Merkel type. Calm, logical, strong, serious. Anyhow, it was a promotion tour for his new book anyway. So there is not really much to expect.

What really bothered me, is that everything was planned ahead. Even the people, who were allowed to ask questions were already picked out in advance. Brown probably even know their questions already. Soooo not cool.

To end this sooo not cool blog entry with some humor, here one (possibly happened) scene between the Director General and Brown:

Brown: "Juan, I REALLY need to go to the bathroom!!! Oh my!!! My stomach hurts soo bad!!!"
DG: "Noooo, you stay here! You promised me this speech. If you go, I will tell them that your book is crab!"

A story about an eye, big lips and some hairstyles

One Thursday afternoon in the office, I suddenly have this idea: "I should take a day off. Tomorrow is a good day!". So I hand in a one day vacation for the Friday.

Friday morning, I wake up, and had the feeling something was wrong with my left eye... it felt so heavy and I couldn't open it... so I looke into the mirror and saw this:

uhhhhh, this was not, what I had in mind, when I handed in my request for vacation!!! Furthermore, I was really really tired.... so I spend the whole day sleeping. One day later it was gone - thank God! But two days later I woke up with a swollen lip... I really don't know what was wrong with me...

Getting away from the disgusting topics to more fancy ones. Sometimes I try out new stylings. E.g. my room neighbour spent one hour to curl up my hair. This is the outcome:

and ready for work!

On another day, I tried to braid my hair:

Don't I look like a Swiss girl? No?

27.08.2011 - UN - tour
Finally, I got myself motivated to do the UN-tour through the Palais des Nations, which is the Geneva Headquartar of the UN. This building was built for the League of Nations, which basically was the predecessor of the UN.

I was really surprised, when I saw our guide: he is an intern at ILO aswell! And he is making some extra money by doing the tours. Impressive. I think the exams for the guides are not very easy.

Anyhow, here you can see the conference room of the Human Rights Council, also known as the Spanish room - cause it was fully sponsored by the Spanish government and the ceiling was designed by a Spanish artist. It is supposed to be a view on the ocean from beneath the water surface. The colors represent the different races in the world.

And there are many nice artefacts spread through the building, which are mostly presents from the different countries.

This Chinese tapestry is quite impressive: no matter from what angle you look at it, the road always stays infront of you.

This is the room, where conferences about disarmament take place. Very heavy, very impressive. The picture on the ceiling shows 5 men holding their hand, representing the 5 continents united.

And here the General Assembly hall:

28.08.2011 - Mont Salève

When you live in Geneva, you always see Mont Salève. I kind of had the feeling that it is obligatory to hike it up one time. And since I really wanted to go hiking, but don't have the money to go too far, Mont Salève was a perfect option.

This is the mountain:

it goes up really steep!! And the paths are really slippery sometimes!

First views over Geneva.

And I found a nice stick.

Going up and up.

Finally getting out of the forest and seeing the mountains in the distance.

After 2 hours: We made it!

The view from the top! Amazing!!!

Taking the funicular down.

An evening at the lake

On nice warm evenings, some girls from my foyer use to take a walk around the lake. This time I joined them.

30.08.2011 - Bayram

I have some friends, who fasted during Ramadan. It is really impressive, how they can actually work all day without drinking nor eating. On the 30.08., some Turkish girls from my foyer invited me to celebrate Bayram - the feast, celebrating the ending of Ramadan - with them. So we made some pizza, drank wine and ate a lot!! It was a lot of fun, as you can see ;-)

Which nationality am I?
There is this little game I play, when I get to know new people.

And it is called: Which nationality am I?

It started with the fact that I don't have a typical "German accent" and people really do struggle when they try to place me in a country. People always tell me: "you've got a weird accent. I cannot tell where you are from."

So, I ask them: "well, look at my apperence, what do you think where I am from?"

Then normally I get a nervous laugh and answers like: "Brazil" or "Bulgaria" or "Native American"

Therefore, I changed strategy and now I give them 5 choices with the hint that I might be a mix of those two:

"Brasilian, Japanese, Bulgarian, German or Spanish?"

Nobody has guessed Japanese nor German, yet. Really interesting. Especially the reaction when I tell them that I am from Germany: "Nooooo, you are kidding me!"

Seems like I should become a secret agent, if I am so transformable ;-).

03.09.2011 - Bike trip to Yvoire
Here in Geneva you have the possibility to rent bikes for free for 4 hours. Every additional hour costs 2 CHF - which is not bad at all!

So, since I am a very poor intern - this is a perfect way to do some travelling anyhow.

my bike for the day

look at this cool gear display! The hill moves up and down while you turn the gear:

Destination: Yvoire - which is a tiny French medeval town on the south side of Lake Geneva. It took us 2 1/2 hours to get there and my bud hurt sooo bad, since the saddle was really unconfortable.... But otherwise the scenerey was beautiful!

Yvoire is a really beautiful city covered in flowers. But really really tiny. It doesn't even take one hour to see everything. But there are many little cute shops inviting you to do some shopping!

On the way back, we were unfortunately hit by heavy rain. It was raining so hard, that at some point it was not possible to drive furhter, since water was pouring over my face and into my eyes, so I couldn't see anything anymore. When we finally got to the bike shop to return the bikes, I was so drenched that I was literally dripping. But still, it was worth going and a good workout!

04.09.2011 - Brunch at Carouge
So, finally TODAY!!! (it took me 2 days to write this entry), we went to Carouge (a part of Geneva) to have a all you can eat brunch! It was 25 CHF and fantastic! I ate so much that I didn't even need lunch nor dinner.

Afterwards we took a little tour through Carouge and some shops were actually open.

I don't know why, but you can find a lot of Japanese shops here! The whole town is a mixture of Italy and Japan. But you can also find African shops, which look like treasury boxes.

So---- this was my report on the last two weeks! I am so glad, I finally managed to write it down. Hope you enjoyed!

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