Hong Kong has a dearth of al fresco dining but Paris has al fresco dining on almost every street. London has some areas with al fresco dining but it’s not as omnipresent as in Paris. As I said in previous columns, I was recently in London and Paris after not having been there for many years. Famous novelist Charles Dickens wrote about the two places in his 1859 book A Tale of Two Cities. The book was about London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. To me, London and Paris are nowadays a tale of two cities in many different ways even though they share the same democratic values.
The word “dearth” means not enough of something. The Italian expression “al fresco” means fresh or open air. Al fresco dining, therefore, means eating outside or in the open air. If something is “omnipresent” it means it is widespread or everywhere. A dearth of al fresco dining means not enough places or restaurants where people can eat outside. Al fresco dining is everywhere, or omnipresent, in Paris but not so much in London. I love al fresco dining. I also enjoy sitting outside a restaurant for a glass of wine. While in Paris, I had al fresco lunch with a glass of wine several times. It was a bit cold for me to enjoy al fresco dining in the evenings but most Parisians (Paris people) didn’t mind the cold at all.
It is common in Paris to see people sitting outside in the morning for a cup of coffee and a croissant and having drinks outside in the evenings. But London and Paris are a tale of two cities. Londoners (London people) prefer sitting indoors in pubs. I didn’t see many Londoners sitting outside having drinks in the evening nor did I see much al fresco dining in the evenings. Hong Kong has one of the world’s best waterfronts, and the weather here doesn’t get too cold. I can’t understand why we have a dearth of al fresco dining.
香港缺乏（dearth）露天或戶外（al fresco）餐廳，但在巴黎，差不多每條街上都有露天（al fresco）餐廳。倫敦的一些地區都有露天餐廳，但就不像巴黎那麼隨處可見（omnipresent）。正如我在之前的專欄中提及過，我已多年沒有到過倫敦和巴黎了，最近重遊兩地。著名小說家查爾斯．狄更斯在他那一八五九年的書《雙城記》中寫過這兩處地方。這本書是關於法國大革命之前與革命期間的倫敦與巴黎。於我而言，倫敦和巴黎在今天是兩個很不同的城市的故事，即使它們有着共同的民主價值。
Dearth的意思是某物的匱乏或不足。意大利習語al fresco是指清新的空氣或露天的；因此，al fresco dining就是在戶外或露天的環境進膳。若某物是omnipresent，即是指它很普及或無處不在。A dearth of al fresco dining就是指不夠讓人可以在戶外進食的地方或餐廳。露天（al fresco）茶座在巴黎處處可見（omnipresent），在倫敦就沒那麼普及。我很愛露天茶座（al fresco dining），也喜愛在餐廳外閒坐，喝杯酒。我在巴黎也吃過幾次以酒佐餐的露天（al fresco）午膳。傍晚要來個戶外（al fresco）晚餐，對我來說則太寒涼了，但大部份巴黎人（Parisians）卻完全不介意那份寒冷。
在巴黎，早上很常見到有人坐在戶外喝着咖啡、享受牛角包，傍晚則在外邊喝東西。然而，倫敦和巴黎畢竟是兩個城市的故事。倫敦人（Londoners）偏愛在酒吧內坐，我不見有幾多倫敦人（Londoners）會在傍晚坐在外面喝東西，傍晚也不見有露天（al fresco）食肆。香港的海旁是世界上最美的海旁之一，而且這裏的天氣也不會十分寒冷。我不明白為何我們就是缺乏（dearth）露天（al fresco）的餐廳。[email protected]
Michael Chugani 褚簡寧