Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A little bit of French culture

It's now Wednesday evening here, time till race day is speeding by. It's hard to believe I've already been here almost three full days. Yesterday was a light day of training--just a pool swim and a run, so spent a little time in Antibes walking around, which is just the thing Coach Paul would love to hear. . .I've been getting the "stay off your feet" lecture lately. But it was only Tuesday, so I decided I could handle a little time walking around to absorb bit of the culture. I checked out the markets and a few local shops, one of which sold the most delicous smelling soap you could ever imagine. Also explored a cathedral. From the outside, anyway.

Truthfully, the most interesting experience was probably the pool. That's the thing I love about travelling--even very normal activities take on the local flavor. For example, I think I've discovered the genesis of the French men in speedos phenomenon:

Am I misinterpreting this, or are non speedo swimsuits not allowed?

Also, this pool had a very unique way of organizing the lanes. It wasn't by speed--or self-proclaimed speed, which as anyone who has ever marveled at the old lady swimming sidestroke in the fast lane knows can be a less than perfect system, anyway. No, here was by equipment. There was a lane for paddle users, a lane for fin users, a lane for buoy users, and two lanes for non equipment users. So, if your set included a bit of kicking with fins, a bit of pulling, and some normal swimming, you would need to switch lanes 3 times. This resulted in a lot of people crossing back and forth under lane lines. It was. . .interesting and perhaps contributed to the tendency of everyone spending about 80% if their pool time hanging on the wall (I knew I liked the French). From this angle you can't tell, but there were at least 10 people huddled at the wall at all times, which is why the it looks almost empty, although it was anything but.

Also, at the risk of sounding sophomoric, I will mention the topless ladies again. Turns out that they swim at the pool topless, as well as the beaches. Did not realize. This cohort, however, was much younger and--not that I was trying to look, but I was swimming alongside several of them for over an hour--less. . .saggy. So, there you go, guys. Women you don't want to see at the beach, women you may want to see at the pool. Sorry, no photo evidence to go with this blurb. That would make me pretty creepy.

Similarly, no photo evidence of this morning's gorgeous ride, which saddens me because the riding here absolutely has some of the most spectacular scenery you will ever experience. I did remember my camera, even made our little pod of riders stop for what was to be a perfect photo op, then discovered I'd left the media card in my computer. Oopsies.


  1. I LOVE France. LOVE LOVE LOVE it. When I was 16 I lived there for a summer - and spent time there with I was working on my degree. Such a wondeful lifestyle! Thanks for sharing the great fotos - good luck this weekend!!


  2. mmmmm. antibes is my favorite...and that's my kind of pool! extra rest.

  3. Oh my gosh, you have me wanting to go to France, SOLD! That looks beautiful and I would be with you for sure (on the feet exploring), no wonder my racing sucks-everywhere I go I explore!!

    Thanks for all the fotos, it truly makes for some great views of places in this world I may never see...
    Have so much fun racing Katya, its what you do best! Go get it girl...

    BIG HUGS!!
    Ps, hope you will make a detour to Canada on your way home...


  4. Too funny! I love the "speedo only" sign!! The swimming pool is always an adventure travelling! Even in North America!
    Bonne chance on the weekend.

  5. haaaaa. I love the speedo sign. see, now we know. before it was like WHAT IS UP with the speedo craze?

    You should talk to Rebecca about her adventures in swimming when she lived in Japan. She found that the pools she visited had a mandatory rest time when everyone had to get out of the pool and literally rest together. hmmm. I think that's even more curious than the switching of lanes.

  6. Nowadays is very important to know about different culture specially because many people travel from differents country. When we have some knowledge about the cultures we can understand better the people and we can understand ourselve in a simple way, and is easy to forget any taboo that impide the enjoyment of our life.
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