Wednesday, December 07, 2011

"Let's go to Bethlehem"

Yes, this year, Toño got us a shepherd for our Nativity scene. It's the one carrying the lamb:

Read more about the Nativity scene tradition at our residence.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Cookie Bitching 2011

Yes, I've baked the exact same cookies as I always do. Plenty of them :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Wir sind dann mal weg...

I'm about to leave the office... finally holidays :) We'll be in Berlin, where we plan to meet Martin on Monday for a Potsdam tour.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Marting does it all the time, so for once I may do so as well... this was this Sunday's lunch:

Later, when the champagne has worn off, one might find us at the lido Mythenquai, before we'll had to see Race Horse Company's Petit Mal at the Theater Spektakel:

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Das Auto

Toño just bought a car. It's a Polo Comfortline 1.4 L, 4 cylinder petrol, 85 PS, 7-speed DSG

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Raw Passion!

I would never have thought that a book I bought based on a review in The Economist would be a page turner bursting with passion, like it happened with It’s All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels by Robert Penn.

And as nice side effect, I learned a lot about my favourite ride, like how it was invented and the side effects of this process on economy and society. Robert Penn is a great storyteller. Lance Armstrong was so wrong with the title of his book.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Summer mood has arrived...

... because I got the matching t-shirt for my summer book :)

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

5 on the Fifth - Blur

This month's 5 on the fifth theme is Blur. Here some blurry stuff I encountered here in México:

A fish in a shopping centre.

An artist's paint mixing board.

A frock, my niece did not want to wear (I can't blame her).

Death can cause a blur of tears.

Anything but blurry: Pacifico Clara.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sobre El Jorullo

Close to La Huacana is México's second youngest volcano of named El Jorullo. Although only a half an hour drive away, Toño and his sister have never been there.

El Jorullo was born on September 29, 1759, and had been active for 15 years. It a cinder cone volcano, which lies in a remote yet beautiful landscape. The drive goes through groves of elegant palmas real, the local variant of sabal mexicana. The farmers only harvest the top to leaves to make hats and brooms.

The head of the local environment protection agency was so kind to give us a tour. It is a half an hour hike to the crater, but the view up there is worth every step.

Our guide refused to take any money for his services, he just asked us, to promote a trip to the volcano. Hence, by writing this, I'm paying of our debt.

Location:18°58′19″N 101°43′05″W

Monday, March 28, 2011

The place where I cut both my feet and still have to be grateful for

Under this romantic chute Toño learned to swim (Toño is the one embarking on a dive):

Sadly, littering is an issue all over the globe and so it happened that I cut both my feet with broken beer bottles in this water right below the same chute today.

However, if Toño had not been pushed into the water here by an uncle, who happens to be the closest in that picture, and thus learned to swim we might never had met at the the pool in Zürich.

Location:La Huacana, Mexico

Dealing with Cutlery or the Lack Thereof

I am not talking about the basic differences of dealing with cutlery by Americans and Europeans. Others wrote about that conclusively (read about). I am talking about my intercultural competence being constantly challenged by the lack of basic cutlery here in México. At home in cosily boring Switzerland my cutlery concerns are being restricted to occasionally having to eat with a knife, of which the handle is not hollow (and thus not well balanced). Here in México I'm hardly given the opportunity of a knife at all. If so, I'm not even expecting a sharpened one anymore. What one can expect is a spoon or a fork at best. If you address this subject with Mexicans they point out that the tortilla acts as spoon in their culture. Fair enough, but I still find it rather challenging to eat bone-rich meat with just a fragile plastic spoon and a floppy tortilla.

Location:Morelos Sur,La Huacana,Mexico

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Our children's birthdays in Switzerland are lacking some serious entertainment. Unlike in México, we do them without a piñata getting some serious beating.

The piñata is filled with candies, fruits and nuts. It's an entertaining way to make children work for their incentives.

Location:La Huacana,Mexico

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Vida Rural

We had to get up early to see Toño's uncle Arturo milk his cows and to have a look at his maguey plantation.

It looks a bit like Japanese Kinbaku, but it keeps the cow calm and allows milking without a big installation on the field.

Sadly the prices for agave are rock bottom, and there is no point in harvesting them (to make tequila). In one or two years, the plants will blossom. This will be the grace period for the prices to recover, or a big investment will go down the drain.

It was hot out there in the country side, I continuously showered in my own sweat.

Location:Morelos Sur,La Huacana,Mexico

Friday, March 25, 2011

Agua Caliente

It is hot in La Huacana (above 40°C/100°F). However, there are three places to get water on your body:
* the river (more like a creek at this time of year)
* Las Albercas with tiny pools in the town
* Acua Caliente, the thermal springs outside the town

We went for the latter, because it's best option if you want to swim instead of just splashing around.

It's Mexican pesos, not gringo dollars.

Location: 18°51'7" N, 101°47'42" W

Pollo al Cuñete

We've reached La Huacana, where we can enjoy the fine cooking by Toño's sister Chilo. The first lunch she served us today was Pollo al Cuñete with pineapple, almonds and dried plums.

Start with a chopped pineapple, dried plums, a bit of water and a bit of white balsamic vinegar. Blend the mixture and pass through a sieve. Fry the chopped chicken in olive oil complemented with a bit of butter. Season every piece with salt and pepper while frying and add some pressed garlic after turning them over. Put the chicken pieces with the sauce in a casserole, add some plums, peeled almonds, a couple of chilli jalapeño, some sugar, peppercorns, marjoram and bay leafs. Put the casserole with a lid on into the oven for 1 hours and 20 minutes at 200C/390F. Remove the lid after 50 minutes.

Yes, I did ask for a second servings.

PS: If you have no peeled almonds, put the unpeeled ones in boiling water. The skin should go off in no time.

Location:Morelos Norte,La Huacana,Mexico

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Absent with Leave

We are embarking to Mexico for almost 3 weeks for visiting Toño's family. We in this case is with my sister Marlene and my niece Susanne. 3 family intense weeks this will be... ¡Hasta luego en México!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Buff Urs

I don't know if the strength workouts finally stared to show some effects, but this Monday while drying off my back at the gym, I tore apart my towel...

It was my favourite towel, because, as old towel do, it absorbed pretty well. I got it in 1983 for my confirmation. So it might had been a tiny bit threadbare...

Saturday, March 05, 2011

5 on the Fifth - Lines

This month's 5 on the fifth theme is Lines.

I spent this week on business in Bangalore, India. The days were long and on the premises, taking pictures is prohibited. Thus, the lines pictures here were taken in-between on travel and commute.

Toy planes are lining up for taking off in Swiss' Senator Lounge at Zürich last Sunday... and yes, this is another of my fingers :/

Even double centre line of roads show little effect on drivers in India. The only way to break their dynamic interpretation is going into the third dimension with bricks and mortar.

Many moons ago at university, I learned to dimension power lines.

Our hotel was built in the 80s of the last century. The Art Déco touch of its lobby is rather fake.

Loads of silver garnished sweets are lined up nicely for me to bring home to my loved ones.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Monday, February 07, 2011

Fight the Tyrans! Arm the People!?!

Switzerland has the highest number of arms per capita, with estimates varying between 1.2 million and 2.3 million, spread over a population of 7.8 million. However on February 13, we are called to a nationwide ballot to decide whether access to firearms has to be restricted.

Emotions are going high in our small country. Even my CEO (a German!) wrote me a letter to remind me of my patriotic duty to defend our national identity, which seemed to be based on the easy access to firearms.

Strangely, it took an extract from a novel published in 1860 to shaken my firm aye stand towards this initiative. Master tailor Hediger said in Gottfried Keller's novel Das Fähnlein der sieben Aufrechten:
The idea of founding a Swiss marksmen club could only evolve in a Swiss soul and take root only in Swiss territory. For who was born into a monarchy, the very idea of a club, which includes and arms all the people, must had been madness.
Me supporting monarchy? Never!! Nay it is!!!

Me defending our precious soil back in 1987.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

5 on the Fifth - Reflections

This month's 5 on the fifth theme is Reflections, though we can also take 5 random pictures. I mixed a bit... while being in Kiev... in grainy black and white.

I spent this week on business in Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine. Adapting is essential when doing business. Thus a mirror shot with my mink ushanka.

Taken in the room, where most of the discussions were held. Carefree plants on windowsills are very popular. And I like the artificial frost pattern on the glass.

The Statues of Princess Olha, Apostle Andriy, St. Cyrill and St. Methodius; and some girls, posing for their friends.

Under the shower in my room at the Intercontinental Kiev. A hotel I can't praise enough. I like it there.

Vodka, unavoidable when doing business here.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Sunday, January 30, 2011


For once I can report a Martin like Sunday lunch:

We are at my sister's enjoying a veal hock, from a calf born and bred on my brother's farm. A real family affair.

Toño, my sister, my niece and I will be travelling to México in March and met to discus the details of the upcoming trip.

Location:Im Sedel,,Switzerland

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday Flower - Midwinter Edition

This is a Helleborus niger, commonly also called Christmas rose. It's actually blossoming on our balcony. Strangely it's blossoming in winter and enjoys temperatures around the freezing point. I have no idea how propagation works for them at this temperature.

We bought three of them last year, when I took the picture I use on my blog banner. As this picture shows, they made it through summer. Though, we had to put it in the shade.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The In-N-Out Experience

Our last meal in California was at In-N-Out Burger at LAX Airport. In-N-Out has been recommended to me only minutes after we passed immigration and it has been many times again during out stay. Have you eaten already at In-N-Out? was a common phrase. Such highly praised things should not be missed and so we squeezed in this visit. I don't know if it was because of us or or the burgers... we were a group of 11 who showed up together.

The menu is pretty simple: burgers, fries and beverages. the burgers come in three different basic types (hamburger, cheeseburger, double cheeseburger) with a few options. That's it and it tastes delicious - not only for a fast food place. The fries are made fresh by hand at the shop and for the patties, the family owned company has got their own butchery. No microwave, no heat lamp, and no freezer compromise the taste. I loved it.

5 on the Fifth - Fun and Games

This month's 5 on the fifth theme is Fun and Games.

Gisel and Nallely are dancing into 2011

Eduardito driving a 1965 Ford Mustang

Stuck till grabbed for two quarters in a Denny's

Eduarditos games

Jacqueline enjoying a Coca Cola.