"Lido" is a somewhat literary noun in Italian, meaning "shore", or "sand bar", "beach." The Lido island reef bordering the lagoon of Venice was the site of a well-known resort, and "lido" passed into several European languages as a word for a fashionable resort or swimming area. Though few people know the origin of the word, it still seems to be associated with leisure activities the world over. There is a Grand Lido chain of Caribbean luxury hotels; a Sandford Parks Lido pool complex in Cheltenham, England; a Ruislip Lido Railway in northwest London, apparently named after the reservoir it borders which used to be popular swimming area; a Centro Lido hotel in Caracas, Venezuela; a Lido Hotel & Health Spa in Miami, Florida; a Swedish music publishing company ; a Belgian Best Western Hotel Lido; a Dutch restaurant/waterskiiing center; a Dutch dance club called City Lido in the city of Groenlo; a Hotel Lido in Geneva, Switzerland; and a Lido Key off the coast of Sarasota, Florida. A theatre in Paris is named "Le Lido," and its web page says that its original interior design was based on that of the Lido in Venice. Denmark and India also have independent Lido Theatres. And that's just the web sites I found in English or some language I could puzzle out a few words from!

Perhaps the oddest Lido is a project of Lee Iacocca's with Western Golf Car: a "neighborhood electric vehicle" meant for short trips and errand running on roads where the posted speed limit is 35 mph or less. Iacocca says it was "designed to be more versatile than a golf cart, more practical than a car, while helping to clean up the environment and improve our quality of life." It's available as a coupe, sedan, or runabout, goes up to 25 miles per hour, and has a 40-mile range before needing recharging (which takes 4-6 hours). It has a lot of the features of a standard gasoline-fueled car, but the list of dealers contains locations in only 11 U.S. states and many of the dealers seem to specialize in golf carts rather than more vehicles with a more wide range of uses.

http://www.lidospa.com http://www.lidomusic.com

Another mysterious Lido is "The Lido", a shop of doubtful purpose in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on West Broadway. Peering in the windows, one sees rack after rack of dented cans, offbrand cans and boxes, and faded name brand cans dating back to the 80s.

For years I assumed it was long-since shut down, but the other day they were open very briefly on a Sunday. (I saw the open sign at 11 while passing on the bus; when I returned two hours later they were locked shut as usual.) Whether anyone bought any of their dubious merchandise is a mystery; the remaining stock looks as dusty as ever. I've interviewed several long-time Vancouver residents about it; none had ever actually been inside, but apparently the Lido has been there very occasionally peddling skeevy food for some 30 years.

They don't bother to list themselves in the business phone directory, they're not a member of the better business bureau, they don't advertise, there is no regular clientele. Currently my best theory is that the owners have some sort of spiritual attachment to the site, perhaps for the purpose of performing secret rituals to align the chi of the city to prevent earthquakes, and, unable to obtain a building permit for a church in an area zoned for commerce, maintain a false storefront to comply with by-laws and merrily continue geomancing in the back room. Possibly they make enough in side sales of botulism toxin from bulging cans to the producers of Botox to pay the annual leasing fees and property tax.

Meanwhile the cruise ships with luxury "Lido" decks that pass through haven't sued for copyright infringement. One only hopes the Lido doesn't supply their larders.

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