Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sleazy Zurich

Today I visited my best high school mate, who now lives in Zurich.

I suppose that most of you think "chocolate", "banks", "watches" and maybe "beautiful landscape" when you hear Zurich. But not everything in this rich, little country is how it seems.

Zurich is Switzerland's biggest city and it is cute, rich and rather clean. But, it is also really quite tiny, very multicultural and has an "underbelly". I am not sure, if anywhere in the world, such a small city can be so global, both in its international importance as well as a melting pot of cultures.

Langstrasse (long street), the heart of Zurich's red-light district.

In Zurich's Kreis 4 (district no 4), the melting pot is the most visible. Kreis 4 is notorious for its red-light district but is recently going up-market by targeting the cool 20-35 crowd (e.g. bangkokbitch *wink*). My mate moved there recently so we had a walk around Zurich's Soi Nana.

I was quite surprised. First of all, the area was huge (for such a small city) and it was very much more "in your face" than I thought. Girls were standing, sitting, lying and reading in the lit up windows, which were decorated with red suede. Of course they pouted lascivously into me and my friend's direction.

Of course, we wouldnt have any of it. My (straight) friend didnt need it - and I prefer the gender with a stick between their legs, and preferably the ones that cost nothing. The situation (I was in the same situation in Amsterdam before) is quite odd, as I am curious to see the prostitutes on display, how they look like, how old, where they are from without looking too much like a potential customer.

The red-light district in Zurich with a famous s*x-cinema.

To be honest, I felt more unsafe in Zurich than I ever felt in Bangkok. It has mostly to do that there are a lot less people on the street. As my mate and me were wandering around the red-light district, there were just the odd elderly looking men, some girls and very few other people on the street.

As I went back to my accomodation, I had to walk up longish stairwell, and down a tube-like overpass. I went into the toilet to get rid of some of the wine, standing at the urinal. There was only one urinal, and one cabin. As I turned back, I saw that the cabin was locked and I smelled some smoke. I went out of there quickly and felt that it's time to go back to Bangkok.

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