Season In Various Countries

There Is A Season…

Our daughter has returned to the States after two weeks holiday in Panama with us. She’s shopping for first-term books and working out her roommate situation before the start of her fall semester.

Here in Panama, too, we’re buying books and supplies, preparing Jackson to start the year at the city’s Paul Gauguin French school next week…

Le rentree they call it in Paris…the return to school and to work after two months of travel and sun. This is my favorite time of year in that city. The tourist throngs thin along the rues along the Seine…their lines shorten at the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay…

The days begin to shorten, too, and the gloriously long evenings of summer move toward the cozy, cooler ones of autumn.

As I write, Parisians are returning from the coast and elsewhere on the Continent to reclaim their city and to get back to business. The ladies are wearing short skirts and sleeveless dresses to show off their summer tans…the shops are re-opening after, in some cases, eight full weeks en vacances… Never let it be said that the French allowed commerce to interfere with a summer holiday.

Every place has a cycle, but perhaps nowhere more so than Paris. The whole of this city moves through the seasons as one…from le rentree to Toussant (the extended holiday around All Saints’ Day)…from Noel to the annual January sales…

Learning to move according to the local cycles is one of the pleasures of discovering a new place.

Here in Panama, we’ve arrived mid-rainy season, meaning you schedule outings for the morning if you can, for the skies open and the rains fall heavy most afternoons.

But only, typically, for a couple of hours. The streets flood…within minutes, Avenida Balboa is a river…then, again, within minutes of the rains stopping, the water’s gone…the sun reappears…and everyone (including the ever-present road crews) goes on about his business.

Correspondents Paul and Vicki Terhorst are weathering the wet season, too…in Thailand:

“Our advice,” they write from Chiang Mai, “forget the high season. Come now instead, during the rainy season, from May/June through November. Especially in May and June, and again in September and October, you’ll have the place to yourself. Rain, often at night, keeps the air fresh. Temperatures are only slightly higher than in the cool season, and, anyway, who wants to have to wear a sweater in the tropics? You’ll enjoy better prices, fewer, if any, crowds, and locals who try harder.”

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