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  #61  
Old 12.06.2011, 20:44
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Re: World's Most Expensive Cities 2011

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Mercer is American
Yes but the earlier comments that because it was safe, clean and well run here there was a good quality of life. It's the sOrt of view people come up with only in Switzerland. It's how your feeling while living here that matters.
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  #62  
Old 12.06.2011, 20:45
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Re: World's Most Expensive Cities 2011

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So, how does this work out with the extremely high suicide rate of this country?
Assisted suicide. EXIT.
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  #63  
Old 12.06.2011, 21:05
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Re: World's Most Expensive Cities 2011

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I'll start my answer with 6 crucial words:

For me and for my needs, Switzerland is a high quality environment. In my experience, the living accommodation is excellent; things usually get done efficiently and well; I feel no tension or fear of crime, even late at night in Zurich; the public transport system is extensive, well-priced, and rarely overcrowded; from my windows I see the lake and the mountains; the schools are good; the politics and politicians don't get in my way; food is good quality; the attitude towards recycling and sustainability aligns with my own; at the weekend we can be in the mountains in minutes on well-marked trails. And so on. Overall, there is an overwhelming sense of a nation in control of itself, and I like this.

Yes, if you are buying everything with US dollars, the place will seem incredibly expensive. But if you're paying with CHF, things are about the same price as I paid in the UK, or even cheaper (given that my salary has just about doubled, and taxes are much lower).

As for Hong Kong, I love many things about the place, but in terms of quality of life, it comes nowhere near Switzerland for me. HK is overcrowded, noisy and for the periods of the year I was there, the climate was unpleasant -- too hot, humid, sticky, and too much rain. Life on the islands and on the beaches could be great but unfortunately I was always working and living in the crazy places.

I can see that if I was in my early 20s and unmarried, I might be happier in somewhere less peaceful than Switzerland, but that's not my situation. I'm looking for quality of life, not social mania.

Life isn't perfect anywhere on the planet, and it follows that life isn't perfect here. But you have to be grown-up enough to work out a strategy for dealing with the shortcomings of any place. Maybe I used to have a choice of 20 breakfast cereals in the UK and have only 10 here. But if that sums up the worst problem with living here.... well, I reckon I'll learn to cope somehow.
Basically, your notion that Zurich has a better living standard than HK is based on misconceptions. As for instance, Zurich (and Basel as well) has a greater population density than HK.

http://www.demographia.com/db-zurward.htm (stats from 98..but most likely even denser by now)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...lation_density

The climate is definitely hot and humid and I agree, that for some people it is not suitable. However, saying that Zurich public transport isn't overcrowded or that Zurich is a safe city is somewhat based on your "pink shades".
This shows, that HK with a population of over 7million has less crime than Zurich with its 350k.
http://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/content/...A_017_2006.pdf (page 4)
http://www.police.gov.hk/ppp_en/09_statistics/csc.html

Now you've mentioined the quality of food. Did you know that Switzerland with its small buying quantities are usually the last ones to be able to chose from a vegetable/fruit lot; that means, unless it's produce locally, you'll be buying inferior quality fruits and veggies.
I don't mean to ridicule your statements/posts but rather show you, that perception is key to everything...and if people were to look at the right data, that a real ranking of cities based on living standards would fall much different that the silly mercer study.

Last edited by lost_inbroad; 12.06.2011 at 21:27.
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  #64  
Old 12.06.2011, 21:11
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Re: World's Most Expensive Cities 2011

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So, how does this work out with the extremely high suicide rate of this country?
Good question, but to be honest, not too relevant. Yes, Switzerland has a relatively high rate. According to Wikipedia (and I appreciate this isn't an ideal source but I'm too knackered to delve further ) in 2007 Switzerland was 23rd overall.

But look at the figures. 15 Swiss people killed themselves for every 100,000 in the population. The US and UK were 11 and 9 respectively. We should keep a sense of perspective here. It's still 'only' 15 per 100K which cannot rationally be taken as indicating a sense of national misery.

Another factor that may or may not be valid is that the Swiss apparently have a relatively very high level of gun ownership, which is said to contribute considerably to the suicide rate.
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  #65  
Old 12.06.2011, 21:27
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Re: World's Most Expensive Cities 2011

I find it interesting that in the article, almost all of the top 30 cities have a picture of modern architecture, high-rise skylines.

And the three Swiss cities in the top 10 have pics of very traditional (medievilish?) city styles.
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  #66  
Old 12.06.2011, 21:32
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Re: World's Most Expensive Cities 2011

Zurich and Basel are definitely no way as dense as Hong Kong.

Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Districts_of_Hong_Kong

Many districts in Hong Kong are over 40,000 people per km².
with Kwun Tong at over 52,123 people per km² according to
a 2006 census.

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  #67  
Old 12.06.2011, 21:59
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Re: World's Most Expensive Cities 2011

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Basically, your notion that Zurich has a better living standard than HK is based on misconceptions. As for instance, Zurich (and Basel as well) has a greater population density than HK.

http://www.demographia.com/db-zurward.htm (stats from 98..but most likely even denser by now)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...lation_density

The climate is definitely hot and humid and I agree, that for some people it is not suitable. However, saying that Zurich public transport isn't overcrowded or that Zurich is a safe city is somewhat based on your "pink shades".
This shows, that HK with a population of over 7million has less crime than Zurich with its 350k.
http://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/content/...A_017_2006.pdf (page 4)
http://www.police.gov.hk/ppp_en/09_statistics/csc.html

Now you've mentioined the quality of food. Did you know that Switzerland with its small buying quantities are usually the last ones to be able to chose from a vegetable/fruit lot; that means, unless it's produce locally, you'll be buying inferior quality fruits and veggies.
I don't mean to ridicule your statements/posts but rather show you, that perception is key to everything...and if people were to look at the right data, that a real ranking of cities based on living standards would fall much different that the silly mercer study.
LiB, have you ever lived in HK? I have, and I can tell you that it's a smidge more populated than Zürich and Basel -- put together, even. And more densely so. As pointed out above, districts of Hong Kong are incredibly densely populated, which is obvious when you note row upon row of 20+ storey residential skyscrapers. Additionally, almost the entire island and Kowloon side are continuously, relentlessly densely populated. It's only in the New Territories and bits of the far side of HK Island that you'll see the luxury of expanses of natural vegetation or agriculture. I haven't the time to check all the info in your links, but I suspect the Swiss population density figures are for the innermost sections of Zürich and BAsel, not for the extended cities as a whole -- and if you were to compare apples with apples, Hong Kong would come out by far the more densely populated.

As for crowded public transport, I had days in HK when it felt like the entire population of Zürich was riding the MTR with me. Believe me, it gets extremely busy underground -- they don't call it the Mass Transit Railway for nothing!

Finally, if you truly believe that Hong Kong has less than one twentieth of the crime in Zürich ... (issues such as the rate of reporting crime, and again comparing similar areas, come into play).
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  #68  
Old 12.06.2011, 22:01
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Re: World's Most Expensive Cities 2011

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Zurich and Basel are definitely no way as dense as Hong Kong.

Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Districts_of_Hong_Kong

Many districts in Hong Kong are over 40,000 people per km².
with Kwun Tong at over 52,123 people per km² according to
a 2006 census.
Certainly, but overall it has a lesser population density. In addition, there are certain parts of Zurich with over 25k inhabitants per km2. Another important factor to take into account is, that HK is built high (skyscrappers) with top notch infrastructure. Something, that Zurich is lacking.
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Old 12.06.2011, 22:06
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Re: World's Most Expensive Cities 2011

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LiB, have you ever lived in HK? I have, and I can tell you that it's a smidge more populated than Zürich and Basel -- put together, even. And more densely so. As pointed out above, districts of Hong Kong are incredibly densely populated, which is obvious when you note row upon row of 20+ storey residential skyscrapers. Additionally, almost the entire island and Kowloon side are continuously, relentlessly densely populated. It's only in the New Territories and bits of the far side of HK Island that you'll see the luxury of expanses of natural vegetation or agriculture. I haven't the time to check all the info in your links, but I suspect the Swiss population density figures are for the innermost sections of Zürich and BAsel, not for the extended cities as a whole -- and if you were to compare apples with apples, Hong Kong would come out by far the more densely populated.

As for crowded public transport, I had days in HK when it felt like the entire population of Zürich was riding the MTR with me. Believe me, it gets extremely busy underground -- they don't call it the Mass Transit Railway for nothing!

Finally, if you truly believe that Hong Kong has less than one twentieth of the crime in Zürich ... (issues such as the rate of reporting crime, and again comparing similar areas, come into play).
Yes, I've lived in HK. I assume, that you never had to ride the train to either Basel or Zurich from Olten standing up because there was no place to sit.
In terms of unreported crimes in Switzerland..don't even get me started. Domestic violence was declared an offence liable for public prosecution only since a couple of years now (since 2003 I believe) and many victims are still unaware of their rights. In addition, how many threads are started on this here EF stating, that somebody was robbed etc. and when they went to report the crime, the police didn't do much about it.
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Old 12.06.2011, 22:06
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Re: World's Most Expensive Cities 2011

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Yes but the earlier comments that because it was safe, clean and well run here there was a good quality of life. It's the sOrt of view people come up with only in Switzerland. It's how your feeling while living here that matters.
Mercer actually does acknowledge that. Thats the exact reason they why they call it "quality of living survey" not "quality of life".

The survey serves as the basis for the calculation of expat salaries in multinational companies.

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Basically, your notion that Zurich has a better living standard than HK is based on misconceptions. As for instance, Zurich (and Basel as well) has a greater population density than HK.

http://www.demographia.com/db-zurward.htm (stats from 98..but most likely even denser by now)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...lation_density

The climate is definitely hot and humid and I agree, that for some people it is not suitable. However, saying that Zurich public transport isn't overcrowded or that Zurich is a safe city is somewhat based on your "pink shades".
This shows, that HK with a population of over 7million has less crime than Zurich with its 350k.
http://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/content/...A_017_2006.pdf (page 4)
http://www.police.gov.hk/ppp_en/09_statistics/csc.html

Now you've mentioined the quality of food. Did you know that Switzerland with its small buying quantities are usually the last ones to be able to chose from a vegetable/fruit lot; that means, unless it's produce locally, you'll be buying inferior quality fruits and veggies.
I don't mean to ridicule your statements/posts but rather show you, that perception is key to everything...and if people were to look at the right data, that a real ranking of cities based on living standards would fall much different that the silly mercer study.
They also have a higher suicide rate...
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  #71  
Old 12.06.2011, 23:06
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Re: World's Most Expensive Cities 2011

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...but this is what I don't get. How can you call this a high quality environment? Please tell me, why you think Switzerland is better than Hong Kong?
Switzerland is a country, Hongkong is NOT a country. So, the comparison has to be Hongkong-Zürich, Hongkong-Geneva, Hongkong-Basel or Hongkong-Olten
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  #72  
Old 12.06.2011, 23:42
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Re: World's Most Expensive Cities 2011

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I assume, that you never had to ride the train to either Basel or Zurich from Olten standing up because there was no place to sit.
You're correct, I haven't. But many times, I have had to stand all the way from Chatswood to Wynyard (Sydney), and from Fulham Broadway to Haymarket (London). It happens in every hub of civilisation. Even in New York! (Chicago, Washington DC, etc. And it would in LA if they ever got around to putting in place a public transport network of any note.)
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  #73  
Old 12.06.2011, 23:46
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Re: World's Most Expensive Cities 2011

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I find it interesting that in the article, almost all of the top 30 cities have a picture of modern architecture, high-rise skylines.

And the three Swiss cities in the top 10 have pics of very traditional (medievilish?) city styles.
So why is that interesting ?
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  #74  
Old 13.06.2011, 00:33
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Re: World's Most Expensive Cities 2011

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Basically, your notion that Zurich has a better living standard than HK is based on misconceptions. As for instance, Zurich (and Basel as well) has a greater population density than HK.

http://www.demographia.com/db-zurward.htm (stats from 98..but most likely even denser by now)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...lation_density

The climate is definitely hot and humid and I agree, that for some people it is not suitable. However, saying that Zurich public transport isn't overcrowded or that Zurich is a safe city is somewhat based on your "pink shades".
This shows, that HK with a population of over 7million has less crime than Zurich with its 350k.
http://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/content/...A_017_2006.pdf (page 4)
http://www.police.gov.hk/ppp_en/09_statistics/csc.html

Now you've mentioined the quality of food. Did you know that Switzerland with its small buying quantities are usually the last ones to be able to chose from a vegetable/fruit lot; that means, unless it's produce locally, you'll be buying inferior quality fruits and veggies.
I don't mean to ridicule your statements/posts but rather show you, that perception is key to everything...and if people were to look at the right data, that a real ranking of cities based on living standards would fall much different that the silly mercer study.
I didn't even mention population density, so to claim that my view is based on a 'misconception' is plain wrong.

However, if you believe pop density should be considered, then fair enough. Looking at your links, the Wikipedia table shows HK in 4th place and Switzerland in 67th place, with a density 13 times higher.

Even using the table showing Zurich's figures alone seems to indicate that HK has double the rate.

Public transport in Zurich is really nothing like the cattle market of the MTR, where people with special sticks are employed to physically prevent more passengers trying to cram onto the trains.

There is really no comparison. As much as HK can be a vibrant and thrilling place to wander and socialise, it's quite wrong to claim that compared to Switzerland (or Zurich, or whatever) there is a high quality of life there -- unless you're one of the rich folks on the Peak. And I didn't even mention air quality, which is truly horrible in HK.

As for crime, I won't follow you down the stats route because these can be so misleading, and open to political sensitivity and manipulation (e.g. which incidents are officially recorded as crimes, what proportion of crime goes unreported, and even the different laws and different offences). This is a widely acknowledged difficulty when trying to compare crime internationally.

I'm not blind to crime here, but it's a simple fact that for me, I feel much safer than anywhere else I've lived -- which is an acknowledgement of what you say in your conclusion, that "perception is key to everything". Indeed it is. My perception is that I'm happier here than I have been for a long time. Your mileage may, and clearly does, vary from mine.

It's a shame you're so miserable here. What is the real root of your dissatisfaction? If we can safely assume that Switzerland will not change to help you, have you considered how you can try to change to accommodate this barbaric nation?
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  #75  
Old 13.06.2011, 02:51
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Re: World's Most Expensive Cities 2011

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=
Now you've mentioined the quality of food. Did you know that Switzerland with its small buying quantities are usually the last ones to be able to chose from a vegetable/fruit lot; that means, unless it's produce locally, you'll be buying inferior quality fruits and veggies.
I don't mean to ridicule your statements/posts but rather show you, that perception is key to everything...and if people were to look at the right data, that a real ranking of cities based on living standards would fall much different that the silly mercer study.
I buy almost exclusively local produce so that's not relevant to me.

But I agree these surveys are all skewed.

eta: And I mentioned above that the Swiss suicide rates are higher because of assisted suicides. Switzerland also gets suicide tourists which skews the statistics.

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Old 13.06.2011, 03:40
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Re: World's Most Expensive Cities 2011

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So, how does this work out with the extremely high suicide rate of this country?
Good ! The suiciders are not UNhappy but gone, and no longer count
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  #77  
Old 13.06.2011, 04:07
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Re: World's Most Expensive Cities 2011

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Switzerland with its small buying quantities are usually the last ones to be able to chose from a vegetable/fruit lot; that means, unless it's produce locally, you'll be buying inferior quality fruits and veggies.
.
Fruit and vegetables are NOT bought by countries, but by companies. While the size of purchases may have its importance, it is noteable that small Turkish or Indian or Arab or Iranian shops often have a far better choice and variety and quality than MI-CO, and not more expensive. A capable purchaser even if not being the representative of a big company has NOT to be "the last one" to chose. Take Marinello, whose prices are generally a bit higher than MI-CO, but where the quality of fruit and vegetables is heavily better. Looks as if their purchasing agents simply do a good job !

And, as an add-on, both MI and CO are linked up with other European companies in alliances. You may mention with whom COOP is linked up ?


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I find it interesting that in the article, almost all of the top 30 cities have a picture of modern architecture, high-rise skylines.

And the three Swiss cities in the top 10 have pics of very traditional (medievilish?) city styles.
Do not forget what a Stuttgarter once told a group of chaps here, that Zürich and Basel and Bern are the only "culturally German" cities of that category who in WWII were not heavily bombed.

The picture for Bern however simply is wrong as it does not picture Bern but one of the small towns east of Thun in the Oberland As Bern does not have a lake !


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Certainly, but overall it has a lesser population density. In addition, there are certain parts of Zurich with over 25k inhabitants per km2. Another important factor to take into account is, that HK is built high (skyscrappers) with top notch infrastructure. Something, that Zurich is lacking.
Amazing is that you did not mention Geneva. In Greater Geneva (also in the political city) the average height of houses is some 30% above the average of Zurich and it is similar with the population density. This is the reason why the road-traffic problems in Geneva are as they are. Add to this, that the public support for public transport in Zurich is acceptable, while it in Geneva is meagre. What Zurich and Geneva have in common of course is that as nice and beautiful the lakes are, trafficwise they present a problem.

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  #78  
Old 13.06.2011, 16:10
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Re: World's Most Expensive Cities 2011

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So why is that interesting ?

Just a noticed trend. Each of the other expensive cities have new modern 'expensive' architecture. They look expensive, the have the feel that a lot of money goes through, they are fast paced, and you have to be fast paced and spending money to live there. From the photos, the Swiss cities resemble more touristy cities with a slower old world feel to them (regardless of how much gold is under paradeplatz).

Wolli has a point though, they are few of the major european cities that didn't undergo bombing
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Old 13.06.2011, 18:24
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Re: World's Most Expensive Cities 2011

I don't know about statistics but I lived in Hong Kong for years. The only time its pavements looked like Zurich was at the height of the SARS epidemic when folks were literally scared off the streets. Having said that, Hong Kong has the capacity to carry it's population, which is more than can be said about a lot of places.

As for crimes rates - Hong Kong's incredibly safe - especially in the central areas where tourists and expats hang out. But then again the policing presence in these areas is much heavier than anywhere else I've lived. The population density of cops per sq km puts Zurich to shame. And on top of that you have a huge private security industry.

My apartment block employed ex-gurka soldiers as private security guards. Never felt safer in my life.
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Old 13.06.2011, 18:38
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Re: World's Most Expensive Cities 2011

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Just a noticed trend. Each of the other expensive cities have new modern 'expensive' architecture. They look expensive, the have the feel that a lot of money goes through, they are fast paced, and you have to be fast paced and spending money to live there. From the photos, the Swiss cities resemble more touristy cities with a slower old world feel to them (regardless of how much gold is under paradeplatz).

Wolli has a point though, they are few of the major european cities that didn't undergo bombing
Whether they are old or new has nothing to do with how expensive they are ...

Munich, London, Edinburgh, Barcelona, Rome, Madrid, Stockholm all have great old centres to them - even though many were bombed heavily - ok , not Paris, as they surrendered at the first sound of pistols being taken out of holsters ....
The only issue here is the current currency issues - the yen and the CHF are stupidly high - hence the cities are the most expensive. Hardly a shock TBH.
CH is very expensive to live in. TBH quality of life can be good, but it is about as much fun as a morgue ! Whilst the Swiss revel in the CHF getting stronger , how long will it be before it affects exports and tourism ... and the financial sector. Sure everyone was happy to move money here ... but not when it is worth pish all against the CHF....
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