While I was shopping at the Monoprix the other day, I happened upon a very large display of this:
It is sun cream (like sun screen), but it has absolutely no SPF in it. It’s actually for bronzing, rather than for trying not to get burned. Yet another sign that France is stuck in the 1970s. Not sure what the skin cancer rates are here, but I almost feel like I should get out my 8-track and put on some Steppenwolf just to fit in. So right after I wrote that, I googled Steppenwolf and found out that they are still on tour, more than 40 years since they took their first magic carpet ride. If you happen to be near the following cities, you may want to check out how time has treated them.
- Hot Springs, AR
- Durant, OK
- Toronto, ONT
- Shawnee, OK
- Fort Lauderdale, FL
Despite the fact that there is no apparent fear of skin cancer here, I actually love the “stuck in time culture” that exists, which centers around enjoying life right now, rather than waiting for an undetermined time, like retirement or a better job.
As far as I can tell, part of this appreciation of life is trip taking and there is no better way to see this than with the Euro “camping car” culture. In the US it seems that people work all of their lives and then plan to buy an RV upon retirement to finally take some time off and enjoy life. Here, people have camping cars when they are young and when they retire they move to a beach town and sit down. I kind of like that plan.
To clarify, the main difference between a European camping car and an American RV, is, not surprisingly, size. Camping cars here are usually like the smallest possible version of the American RV – either that or something not much bigger than some American cars, like VW busses, which are still as popular as ever. The other main difference is that camping cars are driven by hipsters and RVs are driven by, well, the less young crowd.
I know for a fact that the VW bus is well-loved in French culture because the movie Little Miss Sunshine plays on repeat on French TV. I’m fairly certain that the French don’t understand any of the humor of the movie, but I know they love the bus. True story: A French person recently said to me, “It must be so hard in the US for young kids because they are all forced to compete in those,…….what are they called………..beauty pageants?” I could not make this stuff up.
All of this camping car culture has gotten me looking on Ebay for a good VW bus. I’m thinking that we might have to take the initiative and revive the Euro camping car movement in the US. Even if we don’t exactly fit the Euro hipster profile, I know that at least I will fit in driving a VW bus in the US because my hair will be down to my ass unless I suck it up and get a haircut. If you know of any solid VW busses for sale in the US, let me know. Or better yet, buy one of your own so that you can join the camping car caravan. Can you dig it? I knew that you could.