Strange old men – The Swiss bums

In Switzerland the old men bums are very chatty.

At a train station close to the border between Switzerland and Lichtenstein (which yes…I very very briefly visited) a presumably homeless man bounded over excitedly to talk to me. He had just finished a one-sided conversation with two teenage girls sitting on the further away bench. The conversation he had with me was not much different either, despite the fact that I did try at the beginning to be an equal participant too. It was one-sided mainly because he didn’t speak much English, so what he did instead was rattle off an endless (seriously) list of names of famous great guitar players and old rock bands. This because I had my borrowed guitar sitting beside me. When some 15 minutes later he winded down with the list, he was very pleased to be able to inform me that I could buy a guitar book in the train bookshop. After leaving for 2 minutes to scout things out at the bookshop, he returned and handed me an empty lottery ticket, on the back of which he had written that I looked like an angel and that all the pretty girls were nice to him.

A different train station was where I had my second encounter with a Swiss man, presumed bum. This man however talked very lucidly to me about how his daughter had lived in NZ for a year, and though he couldn’t remember where it was, told me that she had loved it. Being clearly a different breed of strange old man than the one in the preceding paragraph, he also asked me how I was enjoying my travels in Switzerland, and highly recommended that I go to Fribourg. All in all, a typical sort of conversation to have. I would have felt quite comfortable with him, if it weren’t for the beer can in his hand, the funky smell coming off his clothing and the fact that he came in close as he was emphasising a particular point and ended up projecting several droplets of spit into my left eye. An unabashed charmer like the first Swiss bum, he too flattered me upon parting by declaring that he couldn’t get enough of my beautiful smile.





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