I hate a lot of things that people love.
For one, I’m no fan of summer. I hate the heat and the humidity. I hate getting sunburned (thanks, English skin) and braving traffic in my little car, born in 1986, which has not been blessed with air conditioning since the late 90s. Fireplaces, chilly walks, pea coats, hot chocolate, woolly socks… I’m a winter girl at heart.
Another thing I simply cannot force myself to like is rides. I’ve been bungee jumping, I’d go sky diving and I’m not afraid of heights, but carnival rides make me tremble in my boots. Why on earth would anybody want to feel like they were going to be sick? Even more disturbing: why on earth would anybody want to feel like they were hurtling to their death?
Most people are baffled by my aversion to summer and rollercoasters. But what frustrates them most is my dislike, nay fear, of the sea.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not a completely failed Australian. On the rare days I decide to embrace summer, I’ll happily laze at the beach and dabble in the shallows. But any water deeper than I can stand in terrifies me. Indeed, being trapped in a submarine (or having to enter one at all) is my greatest fear, after being swallowed by a sinkhole or eaten by a Great White Shark (again, sea). So it was with some trepidation that I made my way to the Musée de la Marine, or Maritime Museum, in the 16th arrondissement of Paris.
However, it turns out I very much enjoy the sea when I’m just learning about it and am not actually in it. The pleasant Musée de la Marine admirably covers all things seafaring. There are model ships, majestic oil paintings of ocean scenes, centuries-old compasses, tributes to famous explorers like Columbus and Laperouse, and a fair amount of navy paraphernalia. There was also a lot of material dedicated to ocean liners. While travelling on a cruise ship sounds like my own personal hell, I did love some of the memorabilia collected from the Golden Age of transatlantic travel, in particular this splendid “transatlantic suitcase”:
“Transatlantic” seems like a terribly specific purpose for a suitcase, but what do I know about such matters? I’d be too afraid to put one to use.