Sunday, April 28, 2013

1397. April 28, 2013 Sunday. Lucerne, Berne and Interlaken travel

Riverside hotel - the receptionist was kind enough to lend me the iPhone charger. As this hotel is much modern and internet connected, the charger was available for guest unlike the Frankfurt hotel. Ken, the tour manager said it is one year old. I asked the receptionist. She said it is 4 years old. Who is correct? I asked the coach, Dutchman Charles who is most knowlegeable about Switzerland, being a Dutch tour guide. He said one year with the 3 restaurants built,  but 4 years when it was first opened. All of us loved this hotel.   

All guides recommend Bucherer in Lucerne to shop for watches. Seem to be dominant seller. More Chinese-speaking service people now. Couldn't find a Tissot titanium wristband watch for lady there as they don't stock. Had one for men. Has a branch in Interlaken which opens till 10 pm on Sunday.

No such titanium watch in Bucherer Interlaken. There appeared to be a robust competitor called "Casino K.." advertising various brands on its shop front. Seem to be crowded even at 9 pm as compared to Buherer. Surprisingly, it has the Tissot lady's titanium wristand for a lady. Titanium is much lighter and the watch has the roman numerals much liked by the lady.  Give what the customer wants. This can be difficult. You need to spend time shopping around. Bought a dull chrome watch from this shop. Unknown brand name but exactly what we hope was wanted by a young man in Singapore.

Ken said the old brown bear I saw 2 years ago had died. A new female bear with 2 cubs arrived and so there are 3 bears. There is a 4th male bear. I asked Charles. He said the 4 bears came from Finland where they are shot as there are too many. The cubs came from Croatia. The public donated 10 Euros per stone with name inscribed to build the new enclosure. "No worry, many stones," he laughed when I said that 10 Euros was too cheap. In Singapore, donors of over $1,000 will have names inscribed. The masses with small bswill be a good idea. I did a few videos of the brown bears as they were out swimming. One mummy bear appeared to favour fighting, climbing over, chasing away one of the two cubs, now quite large.

Bebbies Restaurant near the train station. Went there 2 years ago during Christmas tour by same travel agency. Great fun as the boss had this song and dance routine, carrying Singapore flags and performing lion dance, singing local songs. This time, I thought this entertainer had lost weight. "The muscle man is my boss," he laughed out loud. He has the same temperament. A love to entertain the tour groups. Packed to the gills. The Taiwanese travellers screamed and took ipad images with him. So much joy and laughter with the group of young people. With 30 Singaporeans who are senior citizens, the laughter was much subdued. Or are Taiwanese more outgoing?

"Is the muscle man OK?" I asked.
"Yes," the general manager replied.
"How did you lose 15 kg in 2 years?" he had told me he was much trimmer.
"No carbo," he said. But he did go to the gym every 2 days.
"You want to take over muscle man? Is he retired?"
"He was here yesterday," he replied. "Soon"
This restaurant boomed as the Asian tour groups packed it. The tour managers can connect with the management. I heard from Ken that a Chinese restaurant is opened by the muscle man. All waiting staff I saw were Chinese or Korean.  This restaurant is unlikely to be bankrupt with the rise of Asian tourism and packaged tours.
"Koreans only visit Switzerland one day and then go to other countries," Ken said to me.
"Most likely they are on budget." I replied. "When I was a student in UK, I visited 10 countries in 14 days."
"You see nothing, just pass through," Charles replied.   

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