For starters, its a small town, with narrow streets. Thats my first impression. Secondly, its really, really clean. No doubt about that. I have seen (during my morning jog) that small vehicle with big brushes underneath sweeping street garbages and what not into its belly. And there is that cleaning vehicle which sprays powerful streams of water on to the streets, cleaning it. But thats not all, I have also seen their cleaning crews vacuuming the streets. No, its not a joke. I do mean vacuum, like what we did our carpets and rugs in the house. The only different is that they vacuum their streets here, everyday! And yet we wonder how they keep their streets clean?
Being a UN city, there's a lot of diplomats around. Apart from that, there are also a lot of other International Organisations which made their base in Geneva.
What I notice here in the summer, Arab tourists comes flocking to the city by the thousands. Its not difficult to get halal food since I suppose the restaurants here are very familliar with the halal concept. The hotel I stayed when I first came here serves halal food (with the familiar HALAL sign to indicate that it is okay for Muslim to eat) in their breakfast buffet. The price though is very, very expensive. Not a surprised since according to the Mercer report Geneva is currently ranked as the 4th most expensive city in the whole wide world. KL by comparison is placed at number 96th. It is my humble opinion that the huge number of these wealthy Arab tourists is one of the factors that drove and keep the prices on the higher side.
To give you an idea how expensive things are in Geneva, for example, lunch for 4 person at this one Lebanese restaurant I frequented cost more than 100 franc, which translate to around RM 320.00 plus. And before you guys make any unwarranted assumptions, no, its not the nightly bellydancing performance that attracts me there.
Its the food.
Honest. Thats why I said I went there for lunch.
It actually reminds me of that Nasi Arab served by Saba' Restaurant in Cyberjaya. Anyway, in Geneva, its the closest resemblance that one could get to that mouth watering Middle Eastern cuisine like I use to have back home.
Genevans are friendly lot, I should say. They will happily greet and generously said hello to strangers with a smile on their faces. My typical greeting conversation with a Genevan usually goes like this.
Genevan : Bonjour.
Akula : Bonjour.
Genevan : Ca va?
Akula : Ca va.
Genevan : Au voir.
Akula : Au voir.
As you could see, its not that difficult to engage in a conversation with a Genevan. You could never go wrong if you just repeat what they said to you!
Theres not a lot of new building in Geneva. Its building are hundred of years old. Like the pre war building in Malaysia. They dominated Geneva skyline and gave me the impression of some wise old men watching over the city with stony faces expression.
Public transportation is both efficient and clean. Some of the Genevans I met told me that you could even tell time by the buses departure and arrival at bus stops. Its that efficient. Trams, trains and buses runs on electricity. It does keep the pollution to a minimum.
Traffic lights and street lanes caters for every vehicles. Beside the normal traffic lights and lanes for the usual vehicles on the road, they have a different set of both for public transportation which is for trams, buses and taxis. And get this, they have another set of traffic lights and lanes for bicycles too.
I love to write more about my impression on Geneva, but I really need to go ride my bicycle.
Aren't the Arab tourist supposed to visit Malaysia? You know, with all the Visit Malaysia campaign in the Middle Eastern countries going on. Didn't our authorities change a Jalan Berangan somewhere in Bukit Bintang, to Arab Street or something?