Monday, February 21, 2011

Zurich, chocolates and the money-changer man

If the factory of Willy Wonka really exists I'd rather thought it'd be somewhere in Switzerland, the chocolate wonderland.

A chocolate river, chocolate forest, all you can eat chocolate, hmm...

Imagine all those things in this picture are made of chocolate!



Welcome to Zurich! I only remember going to an Apple Store, a chocolate store, eating a tuna sandwich and meeting a cool Malaysian girl with her cool baby cruising about on the street.

(It was cold, hence the coolness.)

But first let me talk about the chocolate store.

All these shukulataaaa (that's Arabic for chocolate :D) are actually homemade.

Chocolat (that's French for chocolate) is like a staple food here. You can find it almost everywhere, and there's even a budget chocolate for people on a budget! Definitely not cool for people on a weight budget.

And I don't know what the German word for chocolate I'll just say it in Malay. This coklat (!!!) store's name is...I don't remember. But if you go to Zurich then maybe you'll find it. According to my brother, the store is quite famous, so if you decided to ask around and stop a poor stranger just for the sake of trying the same chocolate I ate (harhar), I suggest you say, "You don't suppose you know this certain famous chocolate store where a girl in a hijab entered and tried to pay with a (insert huge amount of money here) Swiss Franc?" then maybe they can show you. And don't worry about the language barrier, Zurich is in the German Territory and you don't need to speak German! Hence why I forgot the German's word for chocolate.

*stupidly grinning at the chocolates *



Of course, that didn't happen. In fact, I didn't even overreact. What actually happened was,

"Please father can you take a picture of me with the chocolates? Make sure I look very weird and kinda drooling at them, okay?"

And believe me this is the only picture that clearly features all of these amazing chocolates. I have no choice but to publish this sad photo of the girl in a hijab who tried to pay with (insert huge amount of money) Swiss Franc on my blog.

It wasn't as if I wanted to pay the chocolates with a huge sum of money in the first place. I blame it on the money-changer guy.

You see, my mother put me in charge of changing (insert amount of money) Saudi Riyal to Swiss Franc, so off I went to the money-changer guy who dressed in complete Arab attire from head to toe.


Arab guys intimidate me, especially those who dressed in those Arab clothes of theirs.

So I said, "Can I change these to Swiss Franc please?"

He looked at me confusedly, glanced at his friend, glanced at his other friend, then took the money uncertainly.

I have no idea why but he gave me this dubious vibe as if he didn't know what to do.

Then slowly counting the money, he looked at his friends vaguely again, before handing me a single note.

A single note.

"That's it?" I asked.

"Yes Swiss Franc, there you go."

"You're giving me this one single note??"

I think he was giving me a look as if saying that, "What, you want more money?"

Not that I wanted more money, but I was shocked to see;

1. A HUGE sum of money on a single note
2. Their apparent reluctance of giving me lots of smaller amount notes.
3. But then I pieced it all together - they ran out of smaller notes. That explains the uncertainty in his eyes.
4. Not that I looked into his eyes or anything.

I showed my mother the single, lone piece of paper that could get me in trouble if it were to slip away from my hands, and my mother asked, "Only this?"


"How are we going to buy anything with this?"


Now back to the present day, in the chocolate store.

So guess what, we tried to pay our chocolates with that money. Because my brother ran out of cash.

But of course, the cashier looked at the money, exactly the same way as the money-changer man, and called for her manager.

Embarrassing! Quite a bit.

The manager spoke, "Small stores like us don't have the changes for large money like this, I'd advise you to change this at the bank-"

Embarrassing! I'm easily embarrassed, really.

The manager said we could pay the chocolates with a visa card, and my brother did just that. Solved. Then we hurriedly went to the bank to change that blasted money into small pieces, and my niece lost her red balloon, cried, my brother went into McDonald to get another balloon for her, and she smiled again.

And interesting thing happened to this niece of mine. I'll talk about it in another post.

So, the moral of this story?

Money-changer people, please don't give tourist a huge chunk of money on a single note.

Yours truly,



Where's the chocolate, you say?

Well here it is!

Oh there's the store's name! Good, then you don't have to confuse people with the identity of the girl in a hijab who tried to pay- bla bla bla. :D

I dare you to drool.

Swiss chocolates are the best. (Or some may say Belgian. I don't know. I can't remember how Belgian's tasted like.)

Regardless, once you've eaten a Swiss/Belgian chocolate, you'll never look back ever again.

Mars Bars? Kinder Bueno?

*chocolates in a vending machine*

Hmph. *nose up in the air*


Okay okay you should be thankful that you even know how a chocolate tasted like in the first place. Some people can't even afford to have a small bite.

I hope all of you will have the chance to eat this kind of chocolate one day. :)


Dan Schaumann said...

I can't believe you managed to give all that money and only receive one note in exchange! That's gold.

I love Swiss chocolate, I went to a shop on the main street in Zurich, I can't remember it's name, but to be honest, it looks a lot like the photos on your post, so maybe it was the same one? I didn't have too much money to spend but got myself a small block of dark choc and some truffles, and my goodness it was amaaaazing. I want to go back just to satiate my stomach's cravings.

Did you also notice how amazingly clean the river was in Zurich? I've never seen pristine water like that flow through a city before!

Glad you enjoyed your time there :)

Huda said...

Yeah! I even took a picture just for the sake of it. :P

Maybe it is the same one! And they have really great chocolates there, I wonder why we didn't have chocolates like that in our part of the world. XD

The river, and the entire city, was incredibly clean in Switzerland. I was in envy the whole time I was there. But I haven't been to a lot of cities (and certainly not to a lot of European cities) so I thought they're all naturally like that. But from your blog, I can see that you've traveled a lot, so to see you praising Zurich like that must've meant that it's very exceptional indeed! I want to go there again. :D

Thank you, I did enjoy my time there, and thank you for dropping by :D