Summer is here, finally.
Last year, in the same period, I was still working during weekends and the workload only eased off at the beginning of July. No weekends for 2 whole months. Seriously. But this time, I was spared the agony and the frustration of not having the weekends off thanks to the current economic slowdown back home.
In Switzerland, and in every other four seasons country (I think), summer is the best time of the year, where schools are closed for nearly 3 months, employees are given holidays and offices get by with only skeleton staffs. Even the United Nations Office here in Geneva, which are always crazy busy through out the year with meetings and conferences, stop their activities during summer.
Weather wise, its hot, dry and berbahang. I found it funny sometimes when meeting other Malaysians here in Geneva, being the friendly and concern lot they are, will offer thousand pieces of advises on how to survive summer time, "Eh you kena minum air banyak tau, nanti dehydrated" said one guy, "Sini panas bukan macam kat Malaysia, kering, nanti you tak tahan nanti" advised another, assuming of course this is my first time abroad. I just nodded and thank them for the being so considerate. And when they asked me whether this is my first time living in a four season country, I'll always feet guilty for making them a little embarrass since I have been doing this (living abroad) for quite a while. But thats how Malaysians are, always trying to help in any way they could.
The days are getting longer and nights are becoming shorter. Sun rises at 5.44 am in the morning and sets at 9.27 pm. At the height of summer it will be as early as 4.30 am and would only be completely dark at around 10.15 pm. In my first summer abroad, in Zagreb, Croatia, I remember that I had to hang a thick blanket over the window to block the sunlight, because the sun was already shining brightly at 5.00 am. (I am still doing the exact same thing).
The city of Geneva holds its annual Fetes de Geneve during summer at the shore of Lake Geneva. This year the festival will be from the 29th July - 8 August 2010. There will be free outdoor concerts, fireworks show, hundreds of stalls selling everything from food to souvenirs, amusement parks and thrill rides. This should definitely be fun.
Switzerland is a tourist friendly country, and they flocked here from everywhere. But the most prominent of them would be the those from the Middle East. They came to Geneva in droves. Some would even bring their own bulletproof and custom made cars from their country. Its no surprise to see a car with, let say, Kuwaiti registration number on the road here.
Parks and public places are full of people enjoying the excellent weather. Children took advantage of the longer daytime and stayed outside for as long a they could even if its already late and time for them to go to bed. People are exercising, running or cycling till late and determine to enjoy every bit of sunlight before its gone for the day.
Summer is the time to have a picnic outside, be it in their own private garden, or in an open field and public park. Barbeque is a must, and sometimes smells of grilled meat could be noticed from far away. People would find any excuse to hold a barbeque sessions. It is time to gather all friends and family members, enjoying the good weather, good food and good company.
One thing for sure is, people wear thin and loose clothing. Colourful shorts, skirts, and singlet is the theme of the current season. After almost 6 long months covered in thick, heavy winter clothing, it is the time for people here to expose themselves. And of course to get some tan for their pale skin. And yes, they like their skin tanned. And yet others would go to the extreme and sunbathe naked in the open, in the public park and on those many yachts and boats in Lake Geneva. It is attracting and jaw dropping to see them flaunting all of their private assets. especially for those who came from a conservative society like us Malaysians,. To the people here its nothing more than a normal accepted behavior every summer. They dont even bat an eyelid.
As for me, I will explore more of Switzerland this time, since last year I just arrived and did not have the opportunity to do it. I am planning to travel by train with my family, to see for myself the famed beautiful Swiss countryside. I will also ride the roadbike and follow the many available cycling route scattered all over Switzerland.
Its summer time!