Mittwoch, November 15, 2006


When I was in Switzerland in September, I went hiking with a friend for some days. Our proudest moment was when we arrived on top of the Schilthorn after an ascent from 1500 to 2970 meters altitude - no, not spectacularly climbing sheer rock walls, just walking slowly but steadily uphill for a few exhausting and exciting hours.

The Schilthorn has a steep path on one side and a cable car on the other, that's going all the way up to the summit. At the top there is a souvenir shop, and a revolving restaurant as well as a terrace with some benches to enjoy the very spectacular view.

And for those soft-legged tourists who go up there by cable car instead of their own feet, there's a signpost with this sign at the entrance to the very rocky mountain path my friend and I came up on.

I loved it for its absurdity (who on earth would want to wear high heels on a steep mountain path?). At the restaurant I asked why they put this funny sign up, and was told: It's necessary, since some accidents have already happened. With Indian tourists mostly, and because of Bollywood movies. So often has romance been shown to Indians in form of fashionably (and impractically) dressed movie stars dancing on Swiss mountaintops, that it's become a habit for honeymoon couples to go to Switzerland for some romance and dance. Preferably on a mountaintop, of course; and often also dressed in their most elegant clothes and footwear, totally disregarding the rough terrain and unpredictable weather conditions at almost 3000 meters altitude.

So this sign has been put up by exasperated Swiss personnel who got tired of telling all the happy tourists please not to try and walk on the rocks and ice in high heels, thin sandals, slides or slippers.

I went back to it in my walking boots and made a photo of it. Then I made it my avatar in my favorite forum for Bollywood films. This silly sign represents me, now. Not only on a practical level, because in everyday life I like comfortable boots and jeans a lot better than fancy shoes and dresses. I also don't believe in the ideas of romance and eternal love anymore, which movies or romantic novels show us. Like high heels they are pretty, but become dangerous in rough terrain; and like high heels they seem to elevate women, but cripple them in the long term.
Have you ever noticed how easily a woman in high heels looses her balance? A woman like that can neither run away nor fight.

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