On a Saturday I visited Geneva. As we crossed the Franco-Swiss border I realized we’d been travelling for 19 hours and felt sad and exhausted and joyful for knowing there is enough of the world to be able to travel for such an amount of time without doubling over your own tracks.

The buildings of Geneva are grey; a mixture of old and new. They are large and rectangular but free of any true beauty and decoration which may or may not be the definition of 'Modernist.’ As the van rolls through the streets the only people I see are older ladies with hats sheltered from the cold air, it is Saturday and I begin to wonder where the action is.

“Where is the action?” I ask, hanging out of the passenger side window. She does not know. She does not understand, me or English.

The van hits something above as we pull into the underground carpark but brute force and human will power pulls it through and we cheer and holler as we pour ourselves from the open doors onto the asphalt of the shopping center carpark floor. The shopping center is part of the train station and that explains why we parked here. The recession and global credit crunch has hit the Swiss. Shops are all in 'Total Liquidation' mode but the sale prices are not good for non-Swiss as other currency is not strong here. I see in the window of a store called NY, a display and 2 t-shirts with Barack Obama on them. In one he has false teeth and is standing in front of the White House and giving a thumbs up, smiling, and he looks like a reanimated corpse. The second t-shirt has a presidential crest with a photo of the Obama family, Barack and Mrs. Obama and the Obama children pushed all close together showing us that, in spite of everything, It Will Be Ok.

Geneva is a dead town. It feels like Pompeii before the Volcano, but instead of Roman-era decadence and ignorance and the joy which that brings, everyone is completely aware of the impending eruption and has decided to stick it out in the hope that their tax breaks will prosper in a post-disaster situation.

We buy expensive coffee and tea from Starbucks and I eat an acceptable ham sandwich with pickle. A bagel. There are museums in Geneva. The Natural History and Art History museums of Geneva are the same as every other Natural History or Art History museums in the world. They have dinosaur skeletons and stuffed birds and Egyptian pottery and ugly portraits from the 17th century and anonymous Modern Art.

The Museum of Natural History has a tortoise with 2 heads. Bring me 2 tortoises and I will make you a 2 headed tortoise. The 2 headed tortoise makes me sad in the little tank and I wonder if it is constant pain and I think that if I was in constant pain then I would prefer to be dead than kept on display in a Swiss museum. In Switzerland euthanasia is legal. There are rooms you can go to, like small dentist surgeries, where you can select a way to be put to sleep. Permanently. The room can fill up with gas or water or red ants or the expanding foam rubber stuff which is used for cavity insulation. Or a woman or a man can come in and inject you with poison or potion or bleach or just oxygen bubbles into the bloodstream to induce an aneurysm.
Geneva does not make me desire euthanasia. Amnesia perhaps.