I landed in Geneva airport around 9:30AM. I used my fast-walking powers (thanks LMF) in a hurry to get past passport-checking and pick up my luggage as soon as I could. Around 9:45, I had something along the lines of a... Success Kid moment - I think 15 minutes to get through everything after an international flight is a personal record - and proceeded to figure out how to get a new SIM card for my iPhone so that I could call the owner of my apartment. Well... from that moment on things got a lot more complicated.
It turns out that in Switzerland (and many other countries), the new micro-SIM card in the iPhone must be activated using either wi-fi or iTunes. Well, everything was going pretty well: I successfully bought a pre-paid SIM card, swapped it with my existing one, and unlocked the new SIM card. However, I could not use the airport wi-fi to activate the phone, so I whipped out my laptop, frantically turned it on (I wanted to leave the airport asap), and realized that I had to re-download iTunes.
Well... the airport as wi-fi though, correct?
Nope. Not if you don't have a working phone.
The free wi-fi in Switzerland asks for a phone number, and one can access the wi-fi only after entering the verification code that gets sent to the phone number. So there I was, frantically trying to activate my phone, and realizing that I can't since I could not receive any messages or verification codes until the phone was activated. I tried using 3G as well but that didn't work either. Um, crap.
I ended up just taking a train to Lausanne and decided that I could probably use a public phone in the train station in Lausanne. The train ride itself was quite pleasant: the train was quiet, there was a lot of room, and the view was gorgeous. :)
Anyway, I initially put in 5 CHF in the public phone machine, naively thinking that I would get the remaining money back after I make my phone call. Well, that was kind of a waste because the machine ate the remainder, and I concluded that I either don't know how to use the phone or had the wrong number. For some reason though, I came back and tried it again, this time using my credit card... and wasted more money.
Okay, so I failed at calling the owner of the apartment, but I knew how to get there because I had extensively google mapped it at home. I hopped on the metro, really really hoping that 1. I won't get lost and 2. someone will be at the apartment.
On the metro, there was this guy (who is probably much older than I am) who got on the metro one stop after where I got on. Here's how our conversation basically went:
Him: "Ni hao"
me: "Hi.. uh I'm not Chinese..."
Him: "oh from Korea?"
Him: "Are you just coming to Switzerland?"
(silence for like 2 minutes)
Him: "Are you married?"
Him: "Can you and I be friends?"
me: "uhh sure?"
Him: "Can I have your number?"
me: "I don't have a phone"
Him: "Well, let me write down my number for you. Call me when you have a phone"
me: "uhhh okay?" (I was very uncomfortable by this point)
Him: "Well I have to get off now. I think you're beautiful. Call me and we can talk"
me: "uh thanks. bye"
Let's just say... I was really glad that he had to get off at that stop.
At the apartment, no one answered the bell and I had to just.... chill outside until one of the apartment-mates arrived (fortunately for me) and let me in. So here I am, in my room, all settled in and just taking in how great the internet is, thinking about today...
The most important lesson / a word of advice from today's experience:
When a complete stranger asks you if you're married, saying yes might not be a bad idea if you want to avoid an uncomfortable situation. ;)