Friday, July 25, 2008

The Arabs are in town

Apparently, every summer, lots of Arabs come to Switzerland, escaping the summer heat like Minnesotan's fleeing Florida in the summer. It's a very interesting crowd. You see lots of women shopping at the very expensive/exclusive stores, like Louis Vuitton and the other jewelry stores in town. I had coffee with some of the other students here this summer, and one person saw a limo pull up to one of the luxury stores, and a shopkeeper came out, presenting a bunch of different items. While staying in the car, the lady pointed to the ones she wanted, and the shopkeeper brought those items to her. Makes drive-thru shopping seem kinda posh.

And then you see cars like the ones above.. complete with license plates in Arabic. Sometimes you wonder whether they drove the cars here, or if the cars are flown here on their private jets, while they come to visit their private bankers in Geneva. It's simply a whole another culture that I've never been exposed to. I met a guy at the July 4th party that's managing funds for a Saudi family, something like $1.2b of assets under management. I'm sure they charge a 2.5% management fee, and there's a lot of money to go around.

btw - I always wonder if its too gaudy to be snapping photos of somebody else's sports car while i'm running around in my t-shirt and shorts next to the nice hotels in Geneva... There were all these other kids doing the same thing, so I guess it's OK...

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