Posted by: lindsaygoes | June 4, 2010

On to Geneva

Lake Geneva at Night

So anyway I eventually managed to pack my bags (19.6kg for the backpack so combined with the hand luggage I was probably carrying around half my body weight) and then went out to dinner with some Americans and we compared travel stories (the rule is that other travellers aren’t allowed to get bored with your travel stories!) and went for a bit of a wander along Galata bridge which gave us great views of the city at night as well as numerous illegal stalls and people fishing.

The next day I caught the shuttle to the airport. The shuttle was so full that they pulled out a fold up chair for someone to sit on.

Ok…here’s the complainy bit:


So I’m sitting in the airport listening to my MP3 player when this guy with a long white beard, turban and one of those pyjamay suits (I can’t be bothered finding out the name, honestly the less effort I put into thinking about this guy the better) comes up and asks me if I can help him get his laptop connected to the internet. Anyway, it turns out I couldn’t help him but then he started chatting to me and turned out to be some big shot Pakistani government official (but you know, old with the white beard and stuff). Then after I explained that I was staying in a hostel in Geneva, but that it was an all girls hostel he made the comment that ‘If it was mixed I’d book into the room’ and put his hand on my knee. At that point I realised that the gate for the flight had changed (for the third time, but it was a good thing!) so I made my escape. Then later I see him with his prayer mat. The only words for this guy wouldn’t make it through everyones spam filters.

So I’m wondering, why do I keep getting accosted? Generally I haven’t made any eye contact or I’m actively involved in doing something else (reading, listening to music) and it’s not like I’m walking round in conservative places wearing skimpy clothing. Most of the time I’ve been in long or three quarter length pants and long sleeved shirts. Today I was wearing a long sleeved shirt and jeans, had my hair tied back and no makeup. I also don’t want to be overly suspicious of every person I meet while travelling, or change my personality, because I like being nice. I don’t want to be instantly shutting down new people because while I seem to have met my fair share of creeps and dirty old men I’ve also met some really wonderful people while I’ve been travelling.


So complainy bit ended.

Any tips for scaring off weirdos without scaring off nice people or becoming totally paranoid would be helpful!

So then I arrived in Geneva, managed to find my hostel with a little bit of a walk and some helpful people who gave me directions and didn’t hit on me (Yay!) and then bought some muesli and juice. Just what I’ve been craving! Then my evil eye necklace (which is supposed to ward off bad luck) broke. I’m not quite sure what that signifies. Maybe that I should have bought a more expensive necklace.

Ended up going for a wander around the old part of town with an American couple who are my parents age and have spent the last couple of years travelling round. Last year they camped 100 nights of the year and now they’re backpacking around Europe, just kind of deciding to do things as they go so they had some amazing stories.

Now it looks like I’ve got laryngitis. I would have thought going into a chemist, pointing to my throat and sounding like a chainsaw would have let them know that I needed throat lozenges but they still had to get someone to translate. Never mind! It still hasn’t stopped people asking me to do surveys though.

So far the conference has been going well, I’ve been picking up free stuff, pretending that I don’t have to carry it back to the UK with me. And it’s reminding me that I am a vet – well apart from the conversations I’ve had about other people’s pets, but generally they’ve been travelling and so haven’t asked for advice! I also got to practice my two words in Turkish because there was a stand for a conference in Istanbul next year. Otherwise I have actually been learning stuff as well, but it’s also been good thinking ‘I know that’.


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