Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ninety-degree nostalgia

Things that I miss about summertime in America:
  • barbecues (the food itself as well as the communal dynamic and outdoor eating)
  • lightning bugs
  • iced tea and coffee (that nasty peach iced tea that comes in cans has caught on since I was last in France, but you still can't order a normal iced tea at a restaurant)
  • crab feats
  • ribs (for some reason, Europeans don't seem to eat this part of the animal)
  • corn on the cob
  • being in/on/around the Chesapeake Bay
  • Slurpees and Rita's Italian Ice
  • minigolf (don't judge)
  • ...and then, the obvious: air conditioning

Summertime delights in France:
  • free outdoor cinema (which is also a fun way to discover new corners of the city. So far we've been to the Parc St. Cloud on the western side of the city for "Liaisons Dangereuses", and to Parc de la Villette in the North for "Auberge Espangole". A new series of outdoor movies, starting this week, will bring one to each neighborhood park in the city on a different night, so we're eagerly awaiting the chance to haul our blanket and a bottle of wine to our favorite parks near us.)
  • plentiful gelatto
  • Paris Plage (a program that turns the banks of the Seine into a "beach" with sand, umbrellas and lounge chairs for communal use, bars, kids activities, boats/kayaks to take out, concerts, dance lessons, and petanque sets/table tennis gear/foosball/badminton)
  • cheap public pools (3 euros a visit, including the pool literally on a boat on the Seine. However, the French are oddly anal-retentive about "hygiene" in their pools--everyone is required to wear a swim cap, all boys/men must wear tight Speedos (sorry fellas, no swim trunks allowed) and everyone is expected to shower *before* getting in the pool.)
  • Happy Hour cocktails on a café's street-side "terasse"
  • free public activities (Jazz festival in Parc Floral, Chopin Sunday concert series in Luxembourg gardens)
  • a really long vacation

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