LAST Saturday night, we were in Switzerland. The elevation stood over 300 meters high. The wind howled and the cold penetrated our skin. Red seats and red napkins adorned the table as we dined on Swiss cuisine: sausages from Switzerland and a fondue set, which required us to pierce cutlets of bread that we dipped into melted Swiss cheese.
Ahhh, delicious. We were in the company of Dr. Fritz Strolz and his charming wife, Pearle. The location was their fabulous home in Alta Vista where Cebu’s blinking lights glimmered below, punctuated by the SM Seaside City tower.
Dr. Fritz Strolz is Cebuano. Well, he was born in Switzerland and studied in the same school as Albert Einstein in Zurich but since he married a Cebuana, then he’s one of us. The couple have been long-time friends of my wife’s (Mendez) family.
When Jana, Jasmin and I visited Switzerland two years ago, we stayed in their home in Basel. Dr. Strolz toured us in his Alfa Romeo as we drove hundreds of kilometers to visit Geneva, Lausanne, Mount Rigi and even took day trips to Germany and France (to see the French National Car Museum). One highlight? Uncle Fritz brought us to TC Boys Club, the red clay courts where a young boy learned to hone his volleys.
That’s Roger Federer. The other day, he defeated Stan Wawrinka. Dr. and Mrs. Strolz got to see the same all-Swiss encounter at the Australian Open last January. In a month-long trip Down Under, the couple made sure to watch the two men’s semifinals. It was Nadal-Dimitrov in one half; the other was the all-Swiss duel.
Back to last Saturday night, we were eight guests: Dr. Ronnie Medalle and his two sons, Dr. Stevee and Santi; Dr. Ron Eullaran and his boys, Rayne and Yani; plus me and Jasmin. It was a night that ended past 11:30 that included plenty of jokes. Rayne Eullaran conversed in German. His father, the top rheumatologist Dr. Ronald, made us a laugh the whole evening. Dr. Stevee Medalle showed us a photo of his room in Manila where, hanging above his bed, was a Swiss flag.
We learned plenty about Switzerland: their population of 8.5 million; the nurses who earn P300,000/month; the requirement for each home to build a bunker. How timely for this weekend, we thought, dining on Swiss food (including Swiss ice cream dessert) with our Swiss hosts, as the Swiss lord over tennis. Said Dr. Strolz in a message yesterday: “Pearle was never so proud to be a Swiss. We are the strongest tennis nation in the world at the moment!”
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 21, 2017.
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