Thursday, July 13, 2006

Chaplin In Pictures

Mrs. TBF had to go to Nyon on bidness this past Tuesday. She asked me if I wanted to tag along, so I cleared my busy schedule and joined her. She took an early train directly to Nyon. I, on the other hand, ended up taking a direct train to Lausanne (not too far from Nyon) around noon because I wanted to check out the Chaplin in Pictures exhibit at the Musée de l'Elysée.
I arrived in Lausanne around 2:15 and walked across the street from the train station only to find that the Lausanne Metro was completely shut down for, apparently, a complete rebuilding. The Metro line in Lausanne is pretty interesting. Unlike Metros in most cities which are a complex network of multiple lines, the one in Lausanne is very simple - a straight line up a hill, and a straight line back down the hill. Oh well...I had fortunately had the foresight to print a map of the museum's location, and I decided to hoof it.
The walk to the museum wasn't too long, but I had somehow overlooked the fact that it was FREAKING HOT OUTSIDE. I'm talking blazing sunshine pounding off my chrome dome with temperatures of 33˚C (over 90˚F). It was only about a twenty minute walk, and I'm sure it would have been enjoyable if it had been a nice, crisp autumn day. However, being the mid-afternoon cauldron of hell that was, it turned out to be a fairly unpleasant experience. By the time I made it to the museum (located right by a taunting public swimming pool), sweat was running down my back, my shirt had a big sweat stain right under my chest (I call this "old man sweat" by the way), I was on my second "mopping the brow" handkerchief, and I could feel sweat trickling into my ears under my iPod earphones. In case you're wondering...I took the pit-sniff test, and I'm happy to report that I did not stink!
I slogged up the walkway toward the museum, and I was alarmed to see that the WINDOWS WERE OPEN. NO AIR CONDITIONING??? It's a photography museum for God's sake. Anyway, I stepped inside, found that it was a bit cooler inside than it was outside, paid my 15 Francs, picked up a free exhibit brochure making the claim that "Charlie Chaplin was the 20th century's most popular figure" (ummm...overstating things a bit?) which I used to fan myself, and proceeded into the exhibit with about ten other people all (except, oddly enough, a woman who was at least 50 kilos overweight) with sweat-soaked shirts stuck to their bodies.
The exhibit wasn't great, but it was enjoyable. I was expecting more photographs, but I did enjoy watching the film clips. Plus, the exhibit did touch on the subject of Chaplin's U.S. residency visa not being renewed by the U.S. government due to his "un-American activities", which made me interested in finding out more about him. If you're interested (I'll save you the 15 Francs), here's a pretty good recap of his life. I especially like the part where upon finding out that Chaplin's visa would not be renewed, his wife (an American citizen) immmediately went to the U.S., and liquidated/transferred most of the assets "...leaving the [U.S.] government without a penny for its trouble". I guess they showed 'em!
I left the museum and walked down to the shore of Lac Léman, bought a Coke, took in some of the hazy scenery (I had my camera, but the haziness didn't warrant a picture), and then WALK BACK UP THE HILL to the train station so I could catch a train to Nyon. You know what I found out? It was still hot, and I sweat twice as much going up the hill as I did going down it (What the hell was I thinking?). About halfway up the hill, I stopped in a convenience store and found that I was suddenly standing in beautiful, air-conditioned comfort. I loitered around as much as I could, and then bought my Coke and left when I sensed that the clerk was beginning to target me as a shoplifter.
Eventually, I made it back to train station, and I took the 5:45 train to Nyon so I could meet up with Mrs. TBF...


The DP said...

There are actually two metro lines in Lausanne, and only the one you mentioned is closed. The other one runs from St Francois via EPFL to Renens, the creepy suburb west of Lausanne.
When the "new one" is finished it will be quite the deal, it will like quadruple in size and make some of the northern suburbs more accessible. However, the kitschy train that used to toddle up and down the hill will be replaced with something new and shiny. They had some silly Swiss name for that train too.

The Big Finn said...

DP - I was not aware of the other metro line. Thanks for setting the record straight. I guess Mrs. TBF and I always either just make a beeline for Ouchy on the metro, or we explore Lausanne on foot.

The DP said...

I think the other metro line would be of little interest to you, which is why you accordingly do not ever use it. Smart traveller. Renens sucks. Remember the rap song about no ghetto in Switzerland? Renens is close.

Unknown said...

TBF, I don't want to dampen your spirits but we were showed the "other" way to get down to Ouchy. You do have to travel up that hill above the station (I think) but there is a bus which passes down to Ouchy from there... Now if I could only remember the line... (I'm sure DP knows it though.)

Sounds like a good trip though! Yes I hate the haze of summer. And that probably was a migros you stopped in. I once walked down that way before I really knew what I was doing..

The Big Finn said...

ET -
I "DECIDED to hoof it"... I " walk back up the hill"...
I saw the buses. I "decided" not to take them... was definitely a Coop Pronto.