Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lausanne or a week with Sotito

Whomever said Switzerland is boring has clearly never been to Lausanne during the summer and/or spent a week with Sotito there.
Actually Switzerland escaped all the preconceptions I had of the country, which weren't much. Some words that come to mind are: Boring, postcard-looking, cold, cheese, chocolate, watches.
Actually, it didn't escape ALL the preconceptions. It is postcard-looking and the chocolate and cheese are pretty good.

I met up with the great Alvaro Soto after around 5 years. Became his shadow for a week. And it is definitely interesting to shadow this character through lake beaches, ancient wineries, jazz concerts, fetes de la musique... It is especially good when he is trying to navigate his double bass through Switzerland's cobble stone streets (or perhaps the double bass is navigating for him?)

We had great weather the whole week. And took advantage of it swimming in the lake almost every day.
The lake itself is incredibly beautiful. Yes. Just like a postcard. The swans, the sunsets, the old houses, boats, the Alps. It looks a bit like a scale model of a medieval city. Everything in its right place, well mantained, picturesque.
Even the vineyards can be traced back to the 11th century and are protected by law. You can see it in the knotty wood that ends up resembling dragons and virgins.
It is a bit of an untouchable landscape. But you can still have a great pic-nic while you're looking.

The city of Lausanne itself is also incredibly well mantained. Just change people's costumes and some of the shop windows and you are back many centuries. Going up and down the small windy cobbled streets. In the market-full of coloured spices and carrots.

As Sotito is studying the double bass and jazz, I had the great honor of sitting through different kinds of concerts and rehearsals. As a good shadow, I also became the number one groupy (I'll try to keep up my role long distance!).
Contemporary music pieces that gave life to the beautiful library building.
Big bands playing all time classics at school, in the park.
Awesome music. Merci beaucoup Alvarito!

My french sucks. So I'm not much of a talker, I'm usually just "desolé" (very sorry, though it sounds more like devastated) about it.

Again I found a great home in Sotito's house And he was kind enough to give me his room all these days. Beautiful lazy mornings reading and writing in the garden. Enjoying Alvaro's library. Especially Bolaño's "Estrella Distante", such a good novel.
Lots of talking about Bolaño too. Watching him in Youtube declaring that "After all, we are all writing the same book". Such a genius.
Lots of talking about so many things all the time in all kinds of places. Sotito rocks!


I also had the great chance to meet up with Alex and Jan, the greatest couple in Geneva. Having lunch in the Bain des Paquis, getting to know their beautiful flat amidst Geneva's red district, where Ale makes up stories about the neighbors.
Geneva was beautiful too. Larger. More multicultural. Also with an amazing old city that I just got to see at night during a few minutes, enjoying la Fete de la Musique.

I did get to meet a few Swiss people, though couldn't talk much. Did get the impression that because it is such a "perfect" country, lots of Swiss people are very passionate about fighting for other countries rights. Lots of people involved with refugees, anarchists. Lots of political energy and creativity. Though this perception might be due to the specific circle of people that I met.

So, what can I say. Switzerland for me is a hot summery country full of music : )

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