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Steve Nahn | USLHC | USA

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Halloween approacheth

Ah, a fine Sunday in the Boston area – bizzare, in that it was ~75 F (25 C) and sunny in late October, but no one is complaining. It was a good day to carve pumpkins, something we didn’t get to do last year in Geneve. Halloween over there was quite uneventful – the boys’ school had a “trunk or treat” where a bunch of expatriate parents put candy in their trunks (“boots” to the British, and “couche” in French) and met at the school parking lot, where the kids went around visiting other people’s trunks. It was weird. No kids were wandering around our neighborhood. Turkey day too is a different affair- over there you tend to have to hunt down a butcher to supply the bird, and the day itself is of no importance. As a consequence, people tend to spread their parties out over the week and abutting weekends, meaning you can often have a Thanksgiving meal twice or three times that week – and then you don’t have to eat until Christmas.

What the Genevois do celebrate is “Escalade”, dating back to the day in early December (night of the 4th?) back in 1602 when the people of Geneve joined with the soldiers to repel the dreaded Dukes of Savoie from taking the city. Legend has it one particular lady (the “Mere Royaume”) dumped a pot of hot soup on the bad guys coming up the ramparts on a ladder, thus saving the city. Today the Escalade is a big party, with lots of soup and hot wine, roasted chestnuts, and a big running race which I think half the city partakes in. Last year I ran, as did my wife and one of my kids, and fellow blogger Pam and her husband, plus a bunch of other friends. The race is a few times up the hill into the old town and back, and the biggest problem is the narrow cobblestone streets and wall to wall crowd of runners- it’s more of a mobile game of human bumper cars than a race, but it is fun. The final heat is the “fun run” where people dress up in crazy costumes, sometimes multiple people per costume! Sad to say it doesn’t look like I’ll make it to CERN for Escalade this year, even though it is right before a collaboration meeting. Good luck runners!

Ah, now my wife tells me we did carve pumpkins after all, although it is still true that no one came to our door. I stand corrected. Better quit while I’m not too far behind…

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