Cows rule, as they are ubiquitous. A helicopter flew overhead yesterday with a cow suspended beneath it confirming my suspicion that cows are at the top of the food chain, not ourselves. Saner people than myself suggested the cow was sick and was being transported to a more vet-accessible area, but I believe otherwise. People walk, cows fly, seems simple to me who's on top For instance, all the cows have yellow tags in their ears. On first glance, this appears to be a cataloging system, but with closer inspection, one realizes this is noise reduction technology of the highest quality, employed so that the sound of their own bell doesn't drive them insane. This technology has yet to be made available to me, and thus I have gone a little round the bend from all the ringing. Another technological intervention proving bovine superiority, is the use of electrified fences to keep humans from straying too near the cows. The shock is particularly nasty to the human nervous system, but co
ws seem unaffected by the occasional contact. Gated communities are the in thing for the upwardly mobile herd, keep the human riff raff out at all cost!
Every hiker knows of the cow gauntlet. This is when, hiking along a trail, suddenly one or more cows blocks the path, and you must then walk the dreaded cow gauntlet. Cows sense your incipient fear and refuse to move when approached. If the wind is right, small strands of mucous are blown from their noses, creating an early warning system somewhat like the web of a spider. Aware of your proximity, they crowd the path, forcing you off of it. You skirt them warily, but to leave the path is to enter full-on dung and hoof-wrecked terrain, which you traverse usually with deleterious incident. Heaven forbid that any of your clothing is red, as we have seen this attracts the damn beasts and they start to give chase! I am haunted by the cow gauntlet, and fear intimate contact with these huge beasts as I am small and easily crushed. One licked my hand the other day it's sandpapery tongue sening shivers through me. I am their plaything and they know it. I live in fear and yet must eat chees
e to live, thus do we serve the cow.
A piercing whistle is heard and small brown furry animals run into burrows. This is the warning call of the Muermel Tier (marmot), a rodent often encountered in the Alps. Cute they might appear, but their holes evilly await the hopping hiker, to turn an ankle or break a bone. Some of the locals have banded together in opposition and now sell Marmot oil for a variety of purposes. One gets about a liter of oil per fat marmot, according to our innkeeper, who hawks the stuff in his hut. The oil is very strong, he informs us, a natural form of cortisone, good for muscle and joint aches, viral upper respiratory infections, botulism, menstrual cramps, and hair loss. We purchased a jar and sadly I spilled some on my flipflops, and the rather distasteful musky odor follows me around without surcease. I worry that this particular jar of oil was derived from a female marmot in heat, as many of the rodents now seem to look at me with a driven look I find quite disconcerting.
On a side note, the Swiss seem to use helicopters for the most mundane of activies. Yesterday I saw a helicopter hovering above a lake and a line with a hook on it was let down into the water. There was a picture of a 108 cm trout caught from a local lake, framed on the wall of last night's restaurant. Perhaps this was small fry, and a helicopter is necessary to catch the big ones, but still, you'd think some motorized winch on the shore would suffice, as opposed to a helicopter. All these banks, all that money...has to be used somehow I guess.
I will talk of other animals anon, but am called to a dinner of cheese-smothered, arterially-bothersome pork fat, and must cut this short, for I have not long to live.