Beiruti summer. Photo credit: time.com
So this July we have been blessed with an abnormally hot summer here in Sweden, providing not only a few but several sunny days when the water has been almost usable for swimming. The average temperature usually reaches around 18 degrees during July in my city so if spending your vacation here you might need a jacket and sneakers to survive in the evenings, in this cold little place on earth. Still when sun is up and sometimes even when it’s not, Swedes throw off their clothes and hit the beach, and lit the BBQ in the coldest of the summer evenings, as traumatized as we are by the long and dark winters. As a child I and my family sometimes even went swimming when it was raining – the climate here triggering the most bizarre behaviors.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Sweden. My city is surrounded by a free, clean, public beach within biking distance from my flat, which makes for beautiful summer days even for the poorest of the inhabitants. The public authorities also provides all school children with summer camps to very low costs which makes it possible for everyone to send their children on vacation.
But have you spent a summer in for example Lebanon, you know what you are missing out in your own country. In Sweden we won’t have pool parties, Sky Bars, swimming pools glimmering with tanned, beautiful people. You won’t be able to get in the car and go to the cooler mountains for a getaway, for example to Batroun with its crazy nightclubs and amazing scenery, the same day as you have spent a hot afternoon at the beach. There’s a feeling you might be in LA or New York during those most intensive summer months in Lebanon.
Where I am we’re just doing our best to stay alive. Photocredit: aftonbladet.se
Sure, in Sweden as a woman you’re allowed to swim topless even inside the swimming pools, an internationally very strange phenomenon, and you don’t have to pay for the beach. But in Sweden you’re lucky if you are able to get even the slightest tan, and you won’t feel like you are a part of the glamorous life, the way you will when you’re in Lebanon, mixing with the always so good looking men and women. Any Lebanese out there wanna switch passports this summer?