Monday, November 26, 2007

Aria & Acqua

Overheard on a Chicago bus last August
College student 1: I think I'm going to a concert on the lakefront this weekend.
College student 2: Oh really, which one?
College student 1: It's this band called "Air and Water" - should be really good.
College student 2: Air and Water - are you sure you're not thinking of the Air and Water show?
College student 1: What's that?

Until a month or two ago, I'd assumed Switzerland didn't have a standing army. Someone set me straight on that -- it's small and shrinking, but it exists. And any lingering doubts I may have had were eliminated by all the army guys packed onto our trains last weekend.

Though famously neutral, I gather Switzerland is actually impressively armed, trained, and prepared. Rumors of self-destructing bridges and secret mountainside caves from which aircraft can slip at a moment's notice, not to mention that fancy red knife, make the Swiss military pretty intriguing. It must be hard to be secretive in such a small country.

We had the opportunity to be further impressed by the Swiss military force this weekend during Lugano's Air and Water show, complete with army boats, helicopters, and fighter planes. Even from far away, the formations and maneuvering around the mountains and down near the lake was impressive. We couldn't stop watching from our post on the bridge (even knowing that every single person driving by was obnoxiously gaping at our running shorts). Lest we get the wrong idea, the fake bombs the planes dropped (over Italy, it should be noted) were followed by the formation of a giant heart in the sky.

1 comment:

li said...

That's interesting, so does this air-water show go around all towns in Switerland? :)