Chantal  Panozzo
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The Beggar of Baden

April 16, 2009 @ 2:25 PM | Permalink

I live in a small Swiss town of about 16,000 residents. Granted, this is big enough that you’ll never recognize some people at all and others just by their dogs. But there are certain people you just get to know.

It's probably no accident that these include the more colorful characters--the guy that sits outside the local bar gesturing, the cashier who wipes the belt down after each and every customer, and the girl that begs by day and parties by night. Yes, you heard me right. There is at least one beggar in Switzerland. And she’s living the good life.

Not surprisingly this Swiss beggar is not the real deal. She's not starving. She's not destitute. She just wants money for cigarettes. And what gets me is that people fall for her. She moves to the tunnel under the train station from 5-7 p.m. to profit from oblivious (and rich) commuters. But then she turns up at 8 p.m. near the fountain with her drinking and smoking cohorts, clearly spending her money on life necessities like nicotine and beer.

You'd think her begging would only be profitable for so long in a small town like mine before people figured out what exactly she was spending their money on. But she’s been at it for a year and people keep on giving. It must be all the out of town consultants who give money out of the utter shock value of seeing a beggar in Switzerland. And you have to give her credit. It is quite a sight. If I didn't know any better, I'd probably be a donator too.


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Love the image of a foreign guest running away from the party. Good stuff. Curiousity: Do the other folks in your building stick around, or is leaving during the noise ...

Saleem Reshamwala on Swiss Party Pooper 2009-02-16

That's a great question. I think the locals are more accepting of the craziness because these all-night parties are a part of their culture. For example, one night during a ...

Chantal Panozzo on Swiss Party Pooper 2009-02-17

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