We're back from our whistle stop tour of Geneva and now for the not-so-fun part of packing and uprooting from Kuwait! I don't have photos today as Paul took the camera before I had a chance to download the pics. He went to the Chocolate Bar this afternoon with a group of friends and now he and Alex are on sleepovers - trying to spend as much time with friends as possible before the dreaded day!
What to say about Geneva? It was an amazing trip and my head is still spinning! I'll fill in the details with the photos but when we arrived the first thing that hit us was the cigarette smoke! People smoke just about everywhere, and that won't change anytime soon. Secondly, I had an image in my head of a very upmarket place with ladies in fur coats and small dogs - and it was exactly like that! We spent Tuesday with a very charming, humourous man from an ex-pat relocation company who showed us a selection of properties for sale and rent and we immediately realised we would need a lottery win to buy our dream home here! House prices are pretty high and there are no shortage of bankers, Formula One drivers and celebrities to ensure they stay that way.
Mark's office and the boys' new school are in the same neighbourhood so we were shown around properties within easy driving distance. Passing through hugely expensive areas near the lake we were soon out into the countryside. There are laws in place to ensure there is always a certain amount of farmland so there may be a compact residential area on one side of the road and vast areas of farmland on the other. You can be in the countryside within 15 minutes drive! (Living in the country and nipping into Chanel on a whim IS possible in Geneva!)
We had a lovely sunny day fortunately, as we were told last week was miserable. It was a fairly cold minus 5 degrees and I'm glad I had brought all my woollies! In the evening we went to a Swiss restaurant with live entertainment - and very entertaining it was too! Two men in national costume played various instruments, each one more unusual than the last! We wondering each time what on earth they would do to top that! They played accordions, a double bass, a saw, cowbells, two different alpine horns from the top of the stairs behind, a coin in a ceramic bowl and of course, yodelled! The food was pretty good too and we left just as the smoke was getting too much. I don't think we'll be eating out much in Geneva if that is the norm. On the way back to the hotel I don't think I have ever been so cold! I was shivering so much it was hard to walk! I hate hats (I've only ever worn two and one was to my wedding) but I'm buying a warm furry hat before I go back! I'm sure I've experienced colder nights but I think age must be playing a part now!!
We had a night flight changing at Amsterdam on the way out so I was fairly tired by the time we arrived. I thought the flight back during the day would be easier but it was the worst flight I've ever been on! Everything was fine until we approached Kuwait and the plane started buffeting. (This is the worst time of year for dust and rain storms). Most of the passengers were American military personnel. The guys just behind us (with shaved heads and tattooed arms) had been talking of their experiences in Iraq. As the plane was bouncing around there was an eerie feeling. We seemed to be going round and round and the engines were making strange noises. Alex was really worried and Paul started to get sick into a sick bag. I thought that all those macho guys must be immune to fear but there was silence in the cabin. Then just after Paul got sick, there was a rustle of sick bags around us! After we had gone around a couple of times (during which time seemed to be going excruciatingly slow) the captain announced he was going on to Bahrain. There were a lot of relieved passengers once we had landed although we had no idea what was going to happen next. After an hour the captain said the weather was good enough to try another landing (we all agreed it would be a good idea to have enough fuel to get back to Bahrain!!) but then we spent another half an hour waiting for an engine problem to be fixed. Amazingly, we had a smooth landing and arrived at 4am, three and a half hours late. As we got into the airport it was bustling - full of all the passengers who had to wait for our plane to come in. Oh, the joys of the jet set lifestyle!