Zurich, Switzerland (04.13.2006 – 04.22.2006)

I've just returned from a quick 10 day trip to Zurich. I spent a vast majority of the time modeling proteomics data, and creating pipelines to process and visualize that data. I did have a chance to explore the city a bit. Zurich is a beautiful, clean, international city. Feels like home to me. I was fortunate enough to spend some time with my friend Sandra, too, reliving the formative Rusco years (the street we lived on near Cold Spring Harbor Lab). Sandra est super-chouette. sandra_et_todd.jpg The legendary Swiss efficiency breaks down in the face of corporate beaurocracy and inane airport security. It took hours to check in at the Delta counter, jammed into a little tiny space at the very end of the Zurich departures floor. I've just gotten off the plane from Zurich arriving in Atlanta. Mexico may be Switzerland's doppelganger, but moving from the cool, clean, efficient modernism of Zurich to the dump that is known as Harsfield International is mind-blowing. Entering immigration and customs is like entering a rats maze. Signs, when they do exist, are handwritten in bizarro English. Arrows directing traffic point in ambiguous directions, sometimes up at the ceiling. In lieu of simple signage are hordes of disinterested workers monotonously chanting to "move to the left, move to the left". Instead of LCDs displaying arrivals and departures, there are giant monochromatic CRTs behind yellowed plexiglass. The displays are so burned in as to be almost impossible to read. I board an inter-terminal train. The doors close. Then open. Then close. Then open and close again. The train is packed with airport workers yelling and screaming and pushiing each other. After one stop and more schizophrenic opening and closing of the doors, the train refuses to move. Passengers are forced to disembark and walk to their terminal. People around me look genuinely baffled about what is going on. Once in the airport, people are walking around with giant tubs of soda and bags of food from McDonalds that are so big they actually have handles now. Welcome to the U.S. of A.!