The Plage… (not Plague)

I was so excited for summer in Geneva. Last summer, Forest and I lived in the AC in Houston. And the summer before that, when I was 6 months pregnant, Houston had its hottest August ever- 30 of 31 days had temperatures of over 100F. For the most part, Geneva’s summer has been mild- temperatures in the 70s and 80s and sunny. Occasionally it storms but for the most part, it has been very nice. Until this week. This week it decided to borrow a page from Houston. Every morning, it is cool and comfortable when we take a walk. By eleven am, we are all sweaty and grumpy. And unlike Houston, we do not have air conditioning. 

But, all this heat has driven us to explore all the swimming opportunities in Geneva. My favorite spot is the Geneva Plage (rhymes with garage not plague). Built in 1932, the plage oozes retro European cool. They have one area for lake swimming, a large pool (with space for lap swimmers), a tall water slide and a toddler area with fountains. I love the toddler area. I can stand in the fountains and Forest can play and everyone is cool and happy. The only issue is that to get to the fountain pool, we have to walk by the giant sandbox/play area. Forest likes the sand box much more than the pool. I have become very creative in how I cajole Forest into swimming rather than sitting in the hot sun, driving his cars along in the sand while we all sweat much more than we would at home. 

The other mothers at the Plage seem to be very low key and are for the most part Swiss or at least French speaking. I’m still learning but am able to understand and answer the “How old is he?” question. And when a mother was describing her daughter swimming like a little fish, I completely understood it, while listening in on their conversation. One mother came up to me to remind me to put sunscreen and a tshirt on Forest since he was a “petit rouge” (I understood that too!) But he was not and I had just lathered him up with SPF55 so I said “merci” and ignored her. She came back again to tell me how “rouge” he was and then offered to let me look through her sunglasses since I would see how burned he was. I did not really know what to do and accepted the glasses only to realize they were pink so of course my bright white child looked burned. I smiled, put more sunscreen on him (just to escape the judgmental looks) and laughed as I told Josh’s cousin Laura the story. At least she was trying to help.

Below are some pictures of the Plage. I really wish I could see it in its early days. Though I think I have seen some of the original patrons. They are the 80+ year old women lounging in the sun by the changing rooms, happy as a cactus in the sun (and looking like ads for skin cancer prevention). They’re more than “petite rouge” but they are very happy. It’s a pretty good place to spend the summer.

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