4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Everything you always wanted to know about Switzerland, but were afraid to ask,
This review is from: Swiss Watching: Inside the Land of Milk and Money (Paperback)
If you want to travel to or in Switzerland you go and buy yourself the relevant Switzerland Lonely Planet Guide. If you want to find out about the challenges and risks involved in living in Switzerland you should read Diccon Bewes' book. He does an excellent job in showing us some of the pitfalls you have to watch out for if you plan to live in Switzerland.
Bewes starts off with telling us some of the notable points of history in his host country, how it all started and how it evolved into the Switzerland as we see it now. By the way, what's wrong with 1754? I won't reveal the answer ... you will have to read the book and look it up yourself.
The author follows this up with the religious set-up of the country, its peculiar form of democracy, the money of course (the Swiss are believed to have a lot), neutrality, the military and some of the products, Switzerland is known for; chocolate and cheese of course, but there are quite a few others as well. Lastly, you will find out everything you always wanted to know about Heidi.
At the end of each chapter you will find a Swiss Watching Tip - there are 11 of them in total - telling you such vital things like when a Sunday is a Sunday or when a weekday is a Sunday or a Saturday. Personally, I would prefer more Sundays because the Swiss drive more civilized on Sundays than they do on non-Sundays. The author calls Swiss drivers polite ... I have yet to meet one on a non-Sunday.
Tips No. 5 and 6 didn't strike me as just a Swiss problem. All German-speaking countries appear to be deficient in that respect.
Tip No. 11, i.e., an introduction to Swinglish, I enjoyed the most although again this is not just a Swiss problem. A lot of German - be they Swiss or otherwise - use English words which in `real English' often mean something completely different.
The one Tip I was missing was how to deal with Swiss border controls. If you've ever passed through a Swiss customs post you will understand what I mean. The relevant section in Asterix in Switzerland is a good description I think.
All told this is a lovely book. I think you will enjoy the author's witty comments on all things Swiss.