Sunday, 19 August 2012

English Summer ( Part I ?)

British Summer is one of those things that finally happens when you stopped expecting it. Like France winning the Eurovision ( still has not happened yet though) or anything you really want in life

Have you noticed? Whenever you want something REALLY bad you do not usually get it. The minute you realise you can do without it ? You get it. I try to do the same with money and convince myself that I do NOT need 5000 pounds. Failure so far but I still try.

This time last year I was living in a Buddhist monastery in the South of Thailand. Being ''the only tourist in the village'' after everyone left. I felt quite isolated amongst the nuns . I did consider becoming one of them at some point. It's the lack of social contact that stopped me ( yes, that's sad) 

This year , my wish of more people around me was granted at last :I tested my love for crowds to the maximum yesterday. I went to an English beach

So in Summer , in the South Hemisphere you naturally go to the beach. Over here , you start complaining about the heat and THEN you realise you can go to the beach and actually do like in the movies : chill out in the Sun.

So I drag my 60 year old friend from New Zealand with me to an English sandy beach. It was her first time on a beach on this side of the world.

It s a sandy beach but we could barely see the sand from the distance . It looked like THIS : 

It took us about 10 minutes to get over it.We were staring at the beach in the distance. Can we cope? Or not? 

  Although it should be natural for me , ze European who used to build castles on the packed beaches of Southern France as a kid , it was also a shock.

When you lived, even for a little while, in a country where there are more beaches than people( Australia) you are allowed to be in shock. So when you come from a country where there are more sheep than people AND  beaches together ( New Zealand) , it's even harder. 

'' You're alright darling?''  I tell her

No answer. Let s go get an ice cream.

The guy next to us is from Brazil. He's also speechless and even asks us to take a picture of him with the beach in the background. That must be his new facebook profile picture.

We finally get to the beach. Time to find a parking space 1 hour. Time we have remaining before getting a ticket 40 minutes. I'm telling you , 40 minutes is way enough to go for a swim over here.

Why? Because we're swimming in ... the North Sea! As in '' freezing cold water''

Very cheeky I decided to not tell my friend about the temperature of the water. I wave at her as she goes into the water ( someone has to stay behind to watch the bags)

She comes back

'' Mate , it 's freezing. You have to go in straight away. No time to think what day of the week it is , DIVE IN!''
She loved it. 

I can't believe how close to me other people are.

The woman next to me is chain smoking while reading yesterday's copy of the Sun. She is telling off her teenage son who's building a castle on my feet.

He looks at me raising his eyebrows to show me that he 's annoyed by her. She shouts louder. 

To my left there is a baby who is obviously walking for the first time. He comes straight to me and I end up cheering with the rest of the family. They speak indian but I understand what they mean.

No one could disturb the lady behind me. She's reading '' 50 shades of Grey''.

A bit further you've got Italians arguing ( or are they just talking?)

My turn to go in the water. People playing beach volley kick the ball in my direction for the 5th time.  1,2,3  dive in.
1,2,3 get out because 1/ it's frezing 2/ the parking ticket is no longer valid, we need to go now.

People in England get in line for everything . '' They are so polite''  , my Romanian friend told me the other day as a male car driver stopped to let us cross the street . I agreed although I knew he mainly did that to check out our bottoms while we were crossing . French male drivers should be that smart. Instead of swearing at you, they could just check you out looking polite. I love English Men. 

SO yes, to get out of the beach in England , you have to Queue too. You can spot the french and the italians straight away. It's the only people who totally ignore the system.

Queue? What queue?

I'm still french. But partly English too now. So I jump the Queue... politely. I invite my kiwi friend to do the same. She was saying something about bloody pommies anyway.

What an experience. A whole blog post about going to the beach. In Europe, everything is an experience. There are so many people , everything is a book , a story in itself. What a paradise for the writer that I am.

Where else can you walk past Charles Dickens' House in your Bikini anyway?


And walk past a pub full of English men trying their best to not look like they're checking you out . ( I do love them) 

I got back home last night and was eager to share my experience of English beaches . I was a tour guide that night . One of my favourite events of the week. Taking a bunch foreigners around Canterbury and tell them about its history and customs like I was born here.I just love it.

Last night , my foreigners were mainly….. British. Mmmm that’s another story. Me , my made in France tattoo and my strange accent gathered enough courage to do the tour anyway.

I tell them about the tour I usually give to foreigners and they tell me they are so curious about what we ( ze foreigners) thinks about them that they ask me to pretend they ‘re not Brit.

Mmmm a wee bit risky. It showed me how much I know the culture anyway. 

‘’ You are so funny’’ they told me at the end of the tour.

In British English it means '' we had a good time'' . They are the only people I know who can take this sort of humour. Why? They invented it.

My answer was simple ‘’ I learn my humour from you guys.

The people. It's what I 'm interested about in the end.  And there is nothing like England in terms of multiculturalism. England is the country where we all learn to live together with our differences. It might be crowded, busy but …. Who would we be without each other?

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