Cucuhouse blog

Stories from cucurulla street in Barcelona district 01 and the continuation of the killed blog "Güten tag rhine"

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Rain in Basel

After trying the German rain, this week apparently its time to try the Swiss rain. The temperature in Basel its now 15 degrees less than last week aprox, and it looks like November in Barcelona. This afternoon, when I was leaving Novartis I met one of the heads of the department. Lot of people here doesn´t talk much, especially with an intern that is leaving in two months, so we started the usual "elevator conversation" about weather that you have with an average neighbor that you don´t know much.
Marc: What a shit weather eh! This fu----- rain!
Other employee (non-spanish origin): Yeah its great, the temperature now is so good!
Marc: sorry?
Other employee: Yes, no sweating, I can sleep at night, and I really like this weather.
Marc: ahhhmmmm.....yes yes, this weather is much better, who wants that yellow star all the time annoying people, and swimming in the river after work, and reading a book in a nice terrace enjoying a beer, and see all women in their summer dresses.....This grey beautiful sky is much better, and I can sleep at night too (well, this is true). The elevator stops.
Marc: have a good afternoon. Ah! and enjoy the weather. I will do the same......?

I guess the best is always something in between, so that people could live in harmony, not only when talking about weather.

In any case, I have used my umbrella for the first time this summer. The weekend that I went to Barcelona for my uncle's wedding, my mother gave me an umbrella just before case a weather like this would come. The only thing is that, well...One comment about my blue umbrella experience: If you have to do an internship at Coca-Cola in a rainy country, the logical way of proceeding when you walk to the office is to not take from home an umbrella with a big Pepsi logo on it. In the pharmaceutical industry, if you are going to do an internship at Novartis, the most logical way of proceeding is to ask your mother (when she is giving you the umbrella in a hurry) if there is any logo on the umbrella that doesn´t.....FIT!! Gracias mama!!! Ahora se por que me miraban todos con cara rara esta mañana!!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Deutschland: part 1

And the winner is….Deutschland! Yes, after going out Thursday and Friday there was not much time to look for a place to stay during my planned trip to Interlaken. Marek, a friend that I met in London last summer, was coming to Basel Saturday afternoon, and I was supposed to meet him with two more friends to have dinner and some drinks around 6pm. I was in the middle of a crisis looking for a bed in the Swiss mountains when he proposed me to forget about Switzerland and expand a bit my geographical scope for my 3 days trip. And it was a great idea! Initial plan: Go to Düsseldorf Sunday morning with Marek in his car, sleep there, visit Cologne (Köln)Monday morning and take a train to Frankfurt to see Huy, sleep in Frankfurt, have a walk there in the morning and go to Heidelberg to meet my cousin Alberto, visit the old part of town and then come back to Basel at a prudent time to be able to “perform” Wednesday at work. Plan accomplished.So we start Sunday morning when I receive the text from Marek indicating that everybody is recovered from the hangover and he is ready to drive 500km to Düsseldorf. 6 hour trip that I felt not that long despite the small traffic jams we found. We had lots of things to talk about after one year, and apart from that, the nonexistence of speed limit in Germany helps a bit in that kind of trips. Half an hour before reaching Düsseldorf starts to rain pretty heavily. I start to think that this trip is just Marek’s plan to not drive alone in his way back to Germany. Of course that was not the case, and besides, rain stops right after we park the car. Ok we are in Düsseldorf. No rain anymore. Leave everything in Marek’s flat and go for a fast tourist tour around the Medien Hafen (Media Port) before going to a good restaurant there to end the day properly.

In our way back from Medien Hafen we have nice view of the world’s largest decimal clock in the world. Some lights along the tower represent the seconds, minutes and hours, but Marek and myself decide that are impossible to understand. I can’t see any decimals there. I have thought about that and I will appreciate any comment regarding this issue. If that clock has the longest number of decimals, this means that is the most exact clock in the world right? So the rest of the clocks are deviating a bit (a very very very bit) every decimal that they do not have? If you want to know the exact time you should go to Düsseldorf, otherwise you can never know exactly in what time you are living. You will always miss some important decimals. Rounding is not acceptable.

Frank Gehry buildings and the misterious world's largest decimal clock.

Short walk in the morning before going to Cologne.

Deutschland: part 2

Monday morning I get up in Marek’s place alone, because he has left at the time M&A consultants leave many days in the morning (and obviously not aligned with a 3 day holiday getting up time). However I activate myself around 7am, have breakfast in a nice terrace in the middle of Düsseldorf, go back to see Medien Hafen again with daylight, take some pics (I will post them tomorrow) and walk to the train station to see the famous Cologne Cathedral. It was the tallest building in the world when completed in the 19th century (Then the Americans started their fixation for high buildings with the Washington Monument and of course…)

After visiting the cathedral I have around three hours in Cologne that I spend walking and eating a cereal bar and a big ice cream in the main square of the city. Time to go to Frankfurt to see another IESE intern (Huy) in the fastest train in Germany. I felt asleep after 10 sec in the train and could not appreciate the speed. Huy text me that he was late but that someone would be waiting me in Frankfurt station. Yuha!!! (A Finnish celebrity at IESE and the author of some of the best comments this year in class, all of them of exceptional quality of course). Around 8pm the three of us go to typical German restaurant. Here we enter a bit into detail, because the first thing I ask in the restaurant is to have a beer, and the answer: “Nein”…plus something I don´t understand. Huy translates and tells me that we are in a typical German restaurant but there is no beer, only “apple wine” (a kind of German sidra). A german restaurant without beer???!!! I try the apple wine and Huy orders a big pork leg for the Spanish tourist. Barbarian delicious food (German “Codillo” vamos). Then we start talking with a funny waiter that fits perfectly the German stereotype of a fat beer drinker. Well, they start talking, I only laugh and ask Huy to translate everything he says. During that time Yuha has already started to talk with two German girls, MD students, that come with us after dinner for a drink in the beach. “The beach” is an artificial beach in the top of a parking lot with a beautiful sight of frankfurt’s skyscrapers. To be precise there is no artificial beach, only sand, natural transported sand.

You can see the funny waiter here if you want: Pay atention to the end of the video when the man starts speaking spanish!!

Yuha and our his German personal doctors.

After that we go to Yuha’s cool place for the last drink. In fact the view from his terrace is better than the one in the posh artificial beach. There, to remember part of our first year in the MBA we start talking about capital markets, and Huy starts to falling asleep when Yuha is explaining me some details of trading and covering positions. Time to go to bed; the two interns in Frankfurt have to get up early to work.
Tuesday morning I get up with Huy (in Huy´s place I mean) and he drops me close to the river by car. Fast walk to take some pics of Frankfurt, another nice breakfast in another nice square, and another train station this time to Heidelberg.

Once in Heidelberg I meet my cousin Alberto (He is finishing his “orgasmus” exchange in Germany), and more or less at the same time, the rain appears again.

We walk through the center of the city and then to Heidelberg’s castle. Nice view of the city.

This is a barrel of beer. A big barrel of beer. A huge barrel of beer!!!

After the castle I start to think about losing the train, and we decide to go closer to the station to have my last beer in German for this long weekend. Very good weekend. Wise decision I took on Saturday. See ya!!

The Feeling – Twelve stops and home (because of my hours in Düsseldorf).
Tocotronic vs Console - Freiburg 3.0 (because of my hours in Frankfurt)
Leona Naess – Home (because of the train back…home)