"Europe Has Better Gadgets"

photo: corona terrace

Some of the charter members wait here for
the club to begin today.

News from the 'Café Metropole Club'

Paris:- Thursday, 4. November 1999:- Like last week, it is a beautiful day in Paris; maybe even better than a week ago. The last thing anybody on a five-day visit would want to do is come to the club.

Since my 'visit' is now somewhere around its 8,335th day I do not think about this as I pack everything that I would normally forget to bring, except Le Parisien, which I always forget. I do remember to get some money from the fickle machine that wouldn't give me any this morning.

My watch says there is perhaps not quite enough time to take the bus, so I take the métro instead. This is so quick that I have time to windowshop on the Rue de Rivoli, make a blitz trip to Les Halles - 20 years old today! - with half its wrinkles hidden in inky shadows and the others - nah! - it's time to stop bashing Les Halles.

The old restaurant 'Le Chien Qui Fume' looks new - all the ones closest to Les Halles do - but back a block in the Rue Saint-Honoré some old types looking like old types, remain.

What with taking a couple of photos and rambling around a bit, I arrive at La Corona at five after three. Afterphoto: ric alone at club the customary handshakes all round by the bar I find nobody waiting for me in the big room behind.

Why did I forget to bring a newspaper again?

I pull out tables, I rearrange chairs, I sit on the fake leather seat, I take out the club's names' booklet and the club's non-official non-minutes booklet, and my over-fat official 'club' pen. When this is finished, I am still alone, surrounded by 20 empty places. Oh-oh.

But I don't have time to read Le Parisien I didn't bring, because Heather Stimmler and Claire Waddington have been sitting outside on La Corona's Quai de Louvre terrace in the sun, enjoying themselves.

Then the Shaws, Jan and Dana, arrive, with Jan's mother, Eveline Aron. Mark Kritz arrives without fanfare. They are followed by Kathleen Bouvier who has brought her mother too. In fact Veronica Tyrell Hendrie has just got off a jetplane and come from Roissy.

Coming straight from the airport to the club is a first, but there are others to come. Some of the club members who said they had lived in Minnesota or Santa Cruz a couple of weeks ago, now say that they have lived in Albany, New York too - or still do.

Mark Kritz even thinks Eveline Aron was a librarian at the university there and she says she was. Veronica Hendrie lives on top of a mountain near there, in a space cleared for helicopter landings, with a good view of another mountain top that would be good for the same thing if anybody had helicopters.

No club meeting can really begin before Patrick brings everybody's drink order and somebody makes a significant quote for me to note.

Heather says, "The drilling started at 8:30 this morning."

She doesn't know for certain that it is drilling; but it is something that makes a lot of noise, close by. Paris isphoto: waiter patrick, photo heather always being fixed up and with its often narrow streets the sound of it has no place to go except into your sleeping ear.

Patrick the waiter takes care of all club members' orders. Photo: ©Heather Stimmler.

Everybody except me and Veronica Hendrie have been to the recent Salon du Chocolat. I didn't go because I only found out about it when I saw bus ads for it on the same weekend it was taking place. Veronica didn't go because she was on her mountain top near Albany.

The chocolate expo was a big hit with everybody - having, as everybody said, lots of free samples. You know how it is - you get one taste and then you are supposed to buy a half-kilo of it, but if you've already been around the expo once you have already ha a half-kilo of 'tastes.' The same thing happens at the wine expos.


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