Geneva’s Flying Tiger

Geneva, with its Swiss-mountain backdrop and snow-fed lake, makes for an achingly beautiful postcard–or just the right setting for a high-end show of gorgeous new jet flying machines. It had been decades since I’d been there–and just passing through–so I welcomed the days I was there for EBACE (European Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition) in May 2016.

Late spring sees the town at its best. I ran from the hotel to the lake by the Palais des Nations, and watched the boats rock in the wind and the bees land on new flowers. I ran in the other direction the next morning, around the airport’s runways to the nearest border with France. Then I ran into France, just because I could.

Out at the convention’s aircraft display, where a billion dollars’ worth of airplanes stood next to red carpets and well-dressed sales folk, the clouds hovered, darkening the skies. But the shiny aluminum still caught what little light there was, and made me long to take one of the new planes for a test flight.

Back at the hotel, the cheapest option for happy hour beer in a ragingly expensive town was the Tiger in our minibar. I smiled as I popped it open, knowing the 12 Swiss francs it cost would be nothing compared to the prices in the lounge downstairs. At least it wasn’t a Heineken. At least I could watch those jets take off from my window while I savored it in near silence.