Siestas Are Good For You

photo: cafe au pere tranquille
Later on this terrace will be sun-blasted if
it isn't rain-lashed instead.

NewsFlash! Free Parking In Paris. Not a Joke!

Paris:- Saturday, 1. August 1998:- Medical evidence made by the same doctors who present toothpaste on TV, is tending to show that siestas are really good for your health.

The siesta is being promoted as a simple and natural way to keep in good shape. It reinforces the digestion, prevents cardiac troubles, increases productivity, counters stress and is even a good cure for insomnia. Best of all, unlike toothpaste, it is free.

Take a look at how babies behave. The average baby wakes up to eat and then goes to sleep again until it gets hungry. Gradually it is able to eat more at once so it is able the stay awake longer, and this evolves into a day with three siestas, then two, then at about age five, one.

Trouble starts when siestas stop. Without a siesta it is almost impossible to force the kid to do his kindergarten homework. In grade school it becomes torture. This is the reason kids act as loony as they do.

Now some expects say the ideal siesta duration is fifteen minutes. Some extra experts even take little naps while waiting for red lights to turn green.

Scientific types who have studied the question say there are three official types of siesta. There is the 'flash' which lastsphoto: the sleeping man no more than five minutes. Then there is the 'relax' which is more than five minutes but no more than 30.

This is a true 'siesta' photo, showing how an expert does it.

Finally, there is the siesta 'royal,' which is more than 30 minutes and can be as much as two hours. There is also an 'emergency' siesta which you are supposed to take if you are in danger of passing out anyway.

Obviously, if you are an active type or have a boss who wishes you were more active, taking siestas might not be easy. But siestas can be learned like any other thing if you try hard enough.

If you can get to the stage when you can pull off a 'flash' siesta at will, then you are in siesta dreamland. But this is not a gift to be abused.

You should always be conscious of the difference between taking a uninterrupted series of 'flash' siestas and taking one solid 'royal' one.

In re-reading this, it is painfully clear that I forgot to take my siesta today.

New Rotten Weather Record Beats Old Record

If you've been in Paris since the end of the World Cup on 12. July or the final pop of Bastille Day on 14. July, you may have noticed that the sun don't shine here no more.

This has also been noticed by the weatherphoto: statue louis xvi boffins, who usually say something totally untrue like, "It's been a bit cooler than usual, but not abnormally so."

Well, this time they've counted the sun's rays and they've discovered that Paris has had the fewest in fifty years. For July, Paris clocked 140 hours of sunbeams, as opposed to a normal 240 hours' worth.

There were only 160 hours in 1980 - remember that year? - but in 1959 there were 352 hours, or about 11 hours and 30 minutes per day.

Louis XVI certainly knew about rotten weather too.

In this dimness were we cold? Not so, says the weatherman. If we had an average 22 degrees this July, this was only two degrees short of the normal for the north of France.

One Story Leads to Another Department

It starts off with, 'There's no reason to be more depressed in France than anywhere else.' However true this may be, France holds the world record for anti-depressant consumption.

This record could make other stressful countries depressed because France managed to raise its consumption by seven percent between 1991 and 1997.

It can do this because 11.3 percent of everybody over 18 has taken one or more types of psychotropes regularly, for periods of at least six months. With age this increases to about 18 percent.

French ladies take twice as much as men and control 70 percent of sales by themselves. It is thought that city doctors are under pressure from their patients to prescribe anti-depressants.

Since the doctors are incapable of saying 'no', the government is thinking of stepping in and cutting everybody's ration by 10 percent. How depressing!

Unhappy Fun Fairs

Europe is an odd place in the sense that regular events take place, that have an origin so old nobody can remember how they got started. I always wondered why big fun fairs were regularly held in big cities, and I still don't know why.

In Paris, an annual 'Fête Forain' in the Tuileries Gardens is in current operation. You know it is there, because it has a very tall ferris wheel - and you might have seen it when the Tour de France was shown making its final run to the Champs-Elysées.

'Fête Forain' means public party organized by the 'forains.' These used to be the merchants at regular fairs, but now the two words go together to mean a fun fair - with merry-go-rounds, ferris wheels, and the modern flying, whizzing, roller-coaster rides, plus the shooting galleries and the cotton candy, or 'papa's beard' as it is called here.

In the spring, the Foire du Trône is installed on the 'Peouse de Reuilly' and in the early fall the Fête à Neu-Neu usually camps in the Bois de Boulogne. In addition to the one in the Tuileries, there is the Fête Des Loges currently under way in the forest, just west of Saint-Germain-en-Laye.


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