Switzerland! That picturesque Alpine wonderland, where every day is Christmas Day, and everyone rejoices every day of the year, simply because they are Swiss, and demented.
Is it all it's cracked-up to be? Read on, and let me shatter your illusions.
1) THE MYTH ABOUT SNOW
When most people think about Switzerland, they think of snow. High, rugged mountains covered in snow. The truth is, it hardly ever snows. Nearly all of the 'snow' you will see is the result of a highly successful initiative by the Swiss National Tourist Board in 1971, whereby the country's residents painted Switzerland white. Periodical maintenance ensures the 'snow' continues to fascinate visitors throughout the year, even in summer, when temperatures often soar to around 30C!
Visitors to Switzerland often want to ski, but you should be warned: the Swiss hate skiing. It's like people from cold countries who like to sit in the sun and get a tan, whilst those with naturally dark skin tones try desperately to 'become white': people always want something different!
It's the same with the Swiss; they're sick of skiing, and much prefer to walk. Despite this, the Swiss wear skis all the time, even when in their houses, walking around the town, or on public transport.
3) NATIONAL COSTUME
National costume is an important part of the fabric of Swiss life, and the Swiss take it very seriously, indeed. Both men and women wear ski suits in loud, exciting colors, in order to brighten up their very dull lives. Sometimes, in extremely hot weather, they might wear salopettes, a sort of 'dungarees' version of a ski suit. Whether or not he is skiing, a Swissman will always be wearing a helmet, gloves and reflective ski goggles, and will be holding a pair of ski poles, even at his job at the bank.
Switzerland is the cuckoo capital of the world. In October, cuckoos start arriving from breeding grounds, and seek out empty wooden clocks, which they inhabit the whole winter, emerging on the stroke of every hour to announce their presence. It's not known how they achieve this, but their accuracy cannot be questioned, and is reliable to within a second in 1,200 light years.
The Swiss subsist on chocolate and muesli. But not on the same plate.
No, not 'pieces of time', but clocks and watches! The Swiss are renowned for their intricate and reliable timepieces. They sit at huge, wooden tables with special watchmakers' lenses strapped to their heads, and use tiny instruments, barely visible to the human eye, to craft the movements into superbly-designed clocks and watches from as little as £39.99, or whatever that is in dollars.
7) SWISS ARMY KNIVES
The famous Swiss Army Knife is just what it says it is - a knife used by the Swiss Army. Its multiple tools, such as scissors, tweezers and toothpick, have been proven indispensable in the eternal battle against paper, stray nose hairs, and tiny morcels of food. The bottle-opener version is a perennial bestseller.
Because of the need for ski instructors, many people do, indeed, fill this niche. Others, however, are involved in chocolate production, or become trained 'clockdoctors' (Swiss: 'clockendoktor'). Still more are painters, and a significant section of the workforce stand next to the cows in the fields and on the mountainsides, ringing those little bells that hang from the necks of the animals, to make rural Switzerland sound quaint.
The Swiss do not have a 'Swiss' language, but steal those of other countries. French, Italian, and German are spoken, as well as Romanisch. English is also widely-spoken - much better than in England.
10) RED CROSS
The Red Cross charity organisation has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland's capital, which is fortunate and a massive coincidence, because, as the Red Cross logo is a red cross on a white background, the Swiss national flag is, itself, a white cross on a red background.
It's almost too good to be true!
I hope you have found this guide to Switzerland useful, but bear in mind that every bit of it is fabricated from my imagination. TheSpoof.com will not be held responsible for any losses incurred as a result of believing what you have read.