Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Batten Down the Hatches

Spring should be showing up any day now but for now it is still fr-fr-freezing in Paris. It's hard to say if it is colder here than in Seattle or if it just seems colder since I now spend more time in the elements. Growing up in Seattle, one of the rainiest places around, I never owned an umbrella and owned a few warm coats but never needed to use them on a daily basis. The 10 steps it took to get from my front porch to my car, then my car to my office and back again could be done with a light weight jacket. However in Paris, you are constantly exposed to the elements! A 10 minute walk to the metro, a 20 minute jaunt to work or to the shop, then outdoors again at the market, not to mention the daily 5 minute walk to the wine shop. All this adds up and all of this requires a warm jacket, a hat, gloves, and a scarf.
Parisians have adapted well to the winter weather season. They break out their furs, start mulling wine and wrap their necks up tight with never-ending layers of scarf. During the winter Parisians are willing to give up some of thier habits, like sitting along the banks of the Seiene or playing chess in the park but they are not willing to abandon the sidewalk café. The cafe owners prepare their terraces for the season by rolling down flaps made from tarp, revving up the heaters and handing out thick blankets to its clientele. Not quite inside and not quite outside these toasty little café campsites are warm and welcoming. Hauled up in one of these little tents I am happy to watch the world go by through the wavy tarp flaps and wait for spring.

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