Vallette and Monnier

It was an interesting day in Geneva yesterday.

Being in the French part of Switzerland, I had a chance to practice my rusty French.

Eating lunch at a Korean restaurant I stumbled upon, I had an opportunity to use the few Hangul words remaining in my brain from 16 years ago when I lived in Suwon, South Korea.

My interviews seemed promising.

Visited a Starbucks near the Gare Centrale, buying, unsurprisingly, a dirty chai latte (chai tea with two shots of espresso) and a city mug.

Saw, serendipitiously, Geneva´s famous 455-foot waterspout in the middle of Lac Leman and the city´s famous Horloge Fleurie (floral clock).

Found the Museum of Art and History and the Philippe Patek Watch Museum without trying to.

I had to smile when I spotted a shop proudly promoting one Franck Muller as “the Master of Complications”. 

I was delighted by the station´s begging sparrows and a classic balconied, shuttered block of flats beside Voie 1.

Later, I enjoyed reading a book I bought at the Gare called Secret Geneva , which really makes the city feel vibrant and human.

In this book was the story of a statue I passed during my meanderings between the schools…

On the Promenade St. Antoine is a fountain commemorating an exceptional friendship between two writers who were contemporaries, living in the same city, but in every way, short of gender, completely different from one another, like Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Neil Simon´s The Odd Couple (Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon)…

Their physical appearance, their political and religious convictions, their temperaments as different as night and day.

“Monnier was a man of imagination, dreams and poetic enthusiasm.

Vallette was a man of critical thought and rigour…

Both of them died young…

Monnier at age 47…

Vallette, two weeks later, at age 48.

People said that “Vallette died because Monnier died”, but a friend of theirs saw them differently…

“You had to see them during their heated discussions…

Monnier crazily riding off on his grand ideas and utopias, with Vallette brusquely unseating him, throwing him down to the ground of hard reality, using precise and mocking words – a very level-headed Sancho Panza and a Don Quixote enamoured of beauty and moral distinction.”

What a wonderful description of a friendship…

It makes me happy that my friends are so completely different from me and from each other, and I am certain that they are happy about this as well!


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