Alps log: day 17

Last day in Zermatt.

In the morning, I find a beer left at my doorstep. My tent neighbors, Czech college kids, have left and have given me a present. It pays to be social.

I walk out to the Schöeblhutt. Takes me 4 hrs to reach the hut, up a long gradual ascent, facing the Matterhorn nearly the whole way. It’s a pleasant walk, through grassland, thru the village of Zmutt, up along morraine walls, alongside the Zmuttgleischer, passing melting glaciers strung around like tinsel. The final view from the hut is exquisite. Diners stare up at the Matterhorn with binoculars, looking for climbers. I see nothing. Glaciers everywhere. Hear the occasional crack and rumble, as ice and rock shift, break, and fall from their perch. A German couple chats me up at the viewpoint. When I travel, I like to assume I’m the first Asian person they’ve ever seen in real life, and try to represent myself accordingly. Politely assertive, charming and winsome, open and diplomatic. Got to set the record straight, person by person, country by country.

Slow walk back, realizing this is my last walk through the Alps. It makes me wistful. I soak it up, taking deep breaths, drinking the light with my eyes. I’ll try to carry this memory for a while.

Dinner: Nelly’s bar. Quietly one of the better restaurants in town, in my opinion. Evidence is their refusal to serve rösti. Instead, springbok steak (think African mini-antelope), medium rare. Tender and tasty. Bonus points for the jazz music played overhead, replacing the usual Swiss mix of pop single gems like Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me”. Eventually, the jazz standard
“Love and Marriage” comes on, reminding me of Married… With Children. Let me posit right here that MwC is culturally the most British show this country’s ever made. Firmly working class family. Mostly unattractive cast. Near constant lesson to never try to rise above your station. It’s all there.

{ Walking back to camp, I see the girl from my first night in town. She spots me and closes the distance with alarming ease. We are talking. This girl won’t quit. She has the absurd notion that I love her deeply and will never let her go. It probably did not help that, on that first night, I told her, “I love you deeply and will never let you go.” see, problem was that she said it first. “I love you, ya’know.” Just like that, casually. Real breezy. Each of those words are nuclear weapon components– “love”, of course, being the most toxic of them all– assembly in the appropriate order, well now you have a potent weapon of mass destruction. What sort of thing is that to have in your back pocket, someone’s love? A hard line into another person’s soft center. “Are you leaving tomorrow?” she asks. “Yes,” I say. }

My Czech beer and sleep. Goodnight Zermatt.

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