The only time you might want to witness someone tucking in to fistfuls of caterpillars is if it’s a washed-up soap star on a TV show.
But no, we’re not talking I’m a Celebrity – this happened at EuroAirport outside Basel, Switzerland.
A 47 year-old man was attempting to take 15kg of the dried delicacy back from Togo when customs stopped him.
However, rather than hand them over, he began to munch his way through as many crunchy critters as he could. The man claimed he was addicted to caterpillars.
“Even border guards hardened by the bizarre things we have had to deal with were shocked by this particular case,” Patrick Gantenbein, a border guard spokesman, told reporters.
“The man obviously knew he shouldn’t have been trying to bring them into the country as they were hidden under a false bottom in his suitcase and only discovered with an x-ray.
“He tried to tell us that it was a special type of root, but some of them were still moving. Then he claimed that, as they were for personal use, he should still be allowed to bring them into the country because they were a snack, and he was addicted to them.”
Thanks to 4Hoteliers.com for the heads-up
A vast array of weird and wonderful items from the Swiss rail network’s lost-and-found department is now on sale, including butt plugs, dildos and worn underwear.
A dildo, for example, is going for 19 francs ($21), a butt plug for just 10 francs ($11) and a kilo of women’s second-hand underwear for 30 francs ($33), as recycling reaches a whole new level.
The goods are available through the website, Fundsachenverkauf.ch, having been obtained from the lost property departments of the SBB rail operator and from Zurich and Geneva airports.
“People probably do not dare to go to the lost and found when they lose certain movies or dildos,” Roland Widmer, CEO of Fundsachenverkauf.ch, said.
Widmer said he receives approximately 20,000 items per week, some 95 percent of which come from SBB.
Many of the products found are for adult use only. These are washed and disinfected by the company before being put out for sale.
“Sometimes there are whole suitcases full of toys and latex clothes,” Widmer says.
When questioned about the re-sale of used underwear, Widmer replied that business was quite good, although the garments remain unwashed for cost reasons.
His main customers for underwear are usually families with little money, he said.
Switzerland’s highest court has ruled that local authorities can impose fines on people hiking nude in the Alps. The federal court threw out an appeal by a man who was fined after hiking past a family picnic area with no clothes on.
Judges said the eastern canton (region) of Appenzell had been entitled to uphold a law on public decency. They said the ban on naked hiking was only a marginal infringement on personal freedom. Although Switzerland does not have a law against public nudity it does have one against public indecency.
The man had been fined 100 Swiss francs (£69; $109) after he walked naked past a family with small children at a picnic area and a Christian rehabilitation centre for drug users in Appenzell. “It is not overly high-handed to qualify naked hiking as a breach of decency customs,” the court said in a statement. Naked hiking is an increasingly popular pastime in Switzerland.
However, Appenzell is a deeply devout and conservative canton – it only granted women the right to vote in 1990 – and the influx of naked hikers has offended many local people, she adds. The new ruling applies to the entire country. Naked hikers may now have to look for another country which offers them a warmer welcome.
If you live in Switzerland and own two guinea pigs, and one dies, you will be falling foul of the law.
Swiss law was recently tightened and now it is illegal to keep a single guinea pig. So what to do if one dies?
Don’t worry about it, just call Priska Küng, who runs a ‘rent-a-guinea pig’ service to provide companionship for grieving, lonely animals in the twilight of their years.
She lives with around 80 of the furry, squeaky little creatures, in addition to six cats, a number of rabbits, hamsters and mice in the village of Hadlikon, some 30 kilometers from Zürich.
Küng, 41, rents out her guinea pigs, a service that has been in high demand in the Alpine nation ever since animal welfare rules were tightened up a few years ago. Switzerland has forbidden people from keeping lone guinea pigs because the animals are sociable and need each other’s company.
As a result, the sudden death of a guinea pig, shocking enough in itself, can also place the hapless owners outside the law if they only had two of the pets.
That is where Küng comes in.
“Because they hardly ever die at the same time, even if they are exactly the same age, people who don’t want a new guinea pig and lose one of their two animals need an interim solution,” she says.
Without her rent-a-guinea pig service, the owner would have to purchase a new, probably younger guinea pig as a companion to the ageing survivor, whose eventual death would force the purchase of yet another guinea pig, locking the owner into an endless cycle of guinea pig purchases in order to adhere to Swiss law – even though he or she may only ever have wanted one guinea pig in the first place.
She charges 50 Swiss francs (€41) for a castrated male and 60 francs for a female, “as a deposit,” Küng explains.
In effect, she sells the animals but pays back half the purchase price when they are returned. The job of the leased rodents is to cheer up companions in their twilight years.
Some return after just a few poignant weeks, others after months, but some stay away for years.
“Sometimes people realize that they still get so much enjoyment from the guinea pigs that they want to go on keeping them and come back for another one once their supposed last pet has died,” says Küng.
Sometimes she rents out a young guinea pig, sometimes an old one. She gets two to three enquiries per week.
“It’s important that none of the rental guinea pigs just keep getting passed on,” says Küng.
“If an animal has been hired out once, it either stays with me for the rest of its life or it moves somewhere else for good.”
Naked clients and sex workers were forced to flee a brothel in Aargau, Switzerland as it burnt to the ground.
The owner of the Club Savanah brothel tried to drum up business by offering customers a free sausage with every visit. It was this barbecue that caused the blaze when they lost control of it.
The blaze started in the courtyard before spreading to the main building before local firefighters could tackle it.
Last year a base for transsexual prostitution in Basel was engulfed by flames, leaving one customer literally caught with his pants down.
The man, simply known as ‘Memeth J’, who was asleep when the fire broke out, had to climb naked onto the window ledge.
Local newspapers got pictures of his exposed rear but failed to get his face – which was probably just as well as he feared his family would identify him.
The man said at the time: ‘I just hope my family can’t tell who I am from my bottom.
‘I’m gay, but my family don’t know about me so I couldn’t show my face.’
People are wondering whether burning brothels is going to become an annual event in Switzerland!
Trust a government to ban any form of fun!
In Switzerland it will soon be illegal for people to offer free beers as a part of promotions. Restaurateurs will also have to refrain from offering any free drinks to customers.
Swiss weekly, Sonntag, quoted the director of the Swiss Alcohol Board on Sunday as saying an existing ban on promotions involving other alcoholic beverages would be extended to include beer.
He went on to say however that publicans would still be allowed to offer “spontaneous” rounds to regulars.
Free beer promotions are common in bars, restaurants and at public events around Switzerland and the hospitality industry is strongly opposed to the new law as they say it will have adverse effects on the economy.
AP reported that Gastrosuisse chief Bernhard Kuster likened the new law to prohibition and said it would do nothing to stop alcohol abuse.