When I arrived at Geneva airport I was surprised at how familiar it was. I can remember where we sat and what we talked about a year ago when I was last here.
I changed my money in probably the least economically wise way possible, Pounds to Euros via Swiss Francs with a commission on top, I ended up with sixty Euros for sixty pounds. I’m aware that this probably isn’t good but I have no idea if it’s really all that bad. Besides with all the adverts for private banks and designer watches I’m keen to feel as if I fit in in this land of co-co clocks and toblerones.
I lumber around with my surprisingly heavy bag when all of a sudden I come across what I’ve been looking for, it’s a kind of cafe in the middle of the terminal with green seats and glass tables. “Tekoe;” I see a sandwich in the display and because the only other thing that seems to be for sale in the entire place is lint chocolate bunnies (something to do with the season?) I make a bee-line.
My Swiss is rusty (non-existent), and I greet the young girl behind the counter with “bonjour” before pointing and saying “can I have sandwich?” She nods and replys “salami?” to which I hope she means the flavour of the sandwich and not some awful insult in Swiss. I nod, too self conscious to do anything other. As she wraps the favoured morsel she asks that age-old basic of vendors the world over; “would you like something to drink?” It’s about 4pm so I inevitably want tea. I’m always a little apprehensive about ordering tea abroad after a rather unpleasant experience involving boiled milk and leaves in Rwanda so i approach with caution, “do you have tea?” she looks at me with confusion, oh dear, so I try the same in French. The woman frowns “we have lots of tea.” she says. “Good” I respond with a nod, “tea please?” The woman’s troubles we not abated “But, which tea?”
It was at that moment that I stepped back noticing for the first time the lines of green tins above her head. I was in the Swiss Costa Coffee only in Switzerland they do it with tea. A little sheepish I try to laugh it off, “What would you recommend?” I ask as I was lost somewhere between choing-mai and yassamoon. I drink “English Breakfast” or if I’m feeling adventurous “Earl Grey”. The girl shuffles her feel and murmurs in her thick accent; “It’s my first day. I don’t know what they are like.” A small gathering of French students were yammering behind me. It was starting to get awkward. Sensing my desperation she said “I like this one” and proceeded to pour me a cup of cherry flavoured tea which, although not exactly what I had in mind, does hit that 4pm tea-spot.
I think I may even go on their website and order some teas to try so I’m not caught out next time. http://www.tekoe.com