'Starving In Paris'

photo: l->r, alan, carmel, linda, marion, stan

Full-house at the club; from left: Alan, Carmel,
Linda, Marion and Stan.

'City of the Week' Is a Melbourne Suburb

Paris:- Thursday, 13. April 2000:- A Brit pal who has just had a great stuff-up and trinkfest in the Schwarzwald, has noted my preoccupation with the weather. I don't know if he thinks I am doing a good thing or a bad thing by mentioning it.

I have been doing it on purpose, because all the best Web sites have weather, news, sports, stock tips and their Web cams - all blinking and winking, to appear lively even if they are only 'virtual.'

I toyed with the idea of putting up a daily photo of the coin laundry across the street as sort of a Web cam's substitute, but I don't get up early enough to do this even though it is open until 22:00.

While I'm at it, I'm going to forget the weather too. Life is beautiful; the weather is fine in Paris. No matter what it's doing, it's not doing any extremes. That'sphoto: sky over corona terrace yesterday's, today's and tomorrow's weather report. It is always beautiful.

And besides, I, we, have our Café Metropole Club. This is lively, especially when 'virtual' members show up in person to become 'real.'

The is not a 'weather' photo of the sky over La Corona's terrace.

Like just now. Before I even get in, while I am looking at some extremely black-looking clouds over towards La Défense, I turn my back to the stiff wind and the server-lady Linda Thalman is in my face. She is on time! She looks at the dark clouds too.

Inside La Corona, amid the handshakes, Patrick says new members are waiting; even before being on time. This is not strictly necessary - being on time is good enough even if it isn't always easy to pull off in Paris.

First we have Carmel McKenzie and Alan Savage. Golly! It is the same Alan Savage who wrote the email about the lack of kangaroos in South Africa. He gives me a kangaroo pin so I will recognize them the next time I'm in South Africa.

I didn't know he was going to spend 26 hours in a jet to come to the club today. He didn't know the server-lady was going to be here today, but he has a kangaroo pin for her too!

This is Carmel and Alan's third visit to Paris. They are stayingphoto: alan becomes member quite a long time on this visit - so they've found a plain and simple but charming hotel somewhere out east near Oberkampf that costs about $30 a day. This is with TV too.

Alan shows Carmel how to become 'real' member, by reading fine-print darn carefully.

Later on, they are going up to Denmark to have breakfast. Alan says he will be able to sit on one airplane seat going back, after having a lot of Paris' breakfasts.

Because of the kangaroo and everything, this week's 'City of the Week' is designated Wheelers Hill, which Alan says is the name of a Melbourne suburb, in the Oz state of Victoria.

When they came into La Corona, he says there were some Americans in the club's area, and he overheard that they were from Melbourne too - but they've gone. Actually, there are two Melbournes in the United States, and we don't know which one it was. All the more reason for Wheelers Hill to be 'City of the Week.'

While Alan is carefully filling out his particulars in the 'real' member's book, Marion Nowak shows up by surprise. 'By surprise,' I mean she emailed earlier today to say she couldn't come. In the meantime Marion lost her shopping list, so here she is.

Pinning her down to a hometown gets me little more than, "I was in Bamberg for 12 days," but since she now lives temporarily in Bures-sur-Yvette - which is close to the Cadillac Ranch - Marion and the server-lady exchange tales about the RER's line 'B' service down there.

With so many new members the server-lady is anxious about 'getting the photos.' I am anxious too, becausephoto: club drinks the little battery symbol is flashing, which means it is saying, "I am nearly empty, you jerk!"

Then, when Marion says "Munich is just a village," a suntanned Stan Fleener rolls up from San Diego - well, actually Leucadia - after a much shorter flight than Carmel and Alan.

Today's club drinks - all approved 'for every audience,' from zero to 108.

The server-lady is drinking Schwepps with a lemon slice but without gin - does gin exist in France? - while the rest of us are having different-sized cafés - again! - but Stan opts for La Corona's orange juice, which comes in a little bottle called 'Joker.' Everybody agrees this can be 'Drink of the Week' because the server-lady is sans gin.

Stan's big tale was about the exciting time he had flying out of Paris on Sunday, 26. December, just before Roissy was shut down for the big storm. Linda says, "It was pitch black and the TV didn't work!" At this moment, there is a downpour on the Quai du Louvre outside.

Either Alan or Stan - my notes are hazy - says the Musée de la Musique is a great museum after Stan tells us about a concert he went to that featured Yo-Yo-Ma and Mark O'Connor. The way he tells us about it, I wonder why it's not in the 'Scene' column.

The server-lady wants to sign the official 'real' members' booklet. She has already signed it, long ago. I tell her the original sign-up is 'for life,' but she looks disappointed all the same.

Stan is amazed at the price of Carmel and Alan's hotel room. He says he tried to talk his wife into coming over 'on the cheap.' "How cheap?" she wanted to know.

Stan told her, "A hundred bucks a night."

"Yukkk, no thanks!" she said.

Alan tells us all about the fantastic, light-sensitive windows at the Musée de la Monde Arabe; also mentioning that there's a great view from the roof there. Marion remembers the time she came back to Paris from Ireland and ended up in Wales, where "All the town names were full of 'L's,' 'W's,' and 'G's'."

Then we discuss what one actually gets for a breakfast in Denmark. Yeah. Cheese, ham, maybe even fish. No soup bowl full of weak coffee. Yeah. No "Starving in Paris!"

I think this gives everyone a huge appetite, because shortly after five we all file out - to look for a snack to tide us over until the next real meal before breakfast.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

The date for the club's next 'real' meeting is Thursday, 20. April. Come to the meeting if it seems to bephoto: window la corona Thursday and you are in Paris. If you don't happen to be in Paris on this day, wherever you are you should say "It must be Café Metropole Club day!"

One of the café La Corona's colorful windows displays, reflecting the Left Bank.

The café La Corona meeting place will be open as usual inside and out next Thursday, so the time for your club's meeting remains from 15:00 to 17:00 - which is also known as 3 pm to 5 pm in certain un-universal time zones.

Come as you are, especially if you can. If you do not expect to be present you can read the regular - this week's - Monday page for your last week's club's news.

Instead of PR, instead of an account of last week's meeting, it now features a string of words unrelated to any club affairs, minus whatever contest-of-the-week I've run up to see if anybody enters. I've quit having 'schemes of the week' after last week's fiasco. The café's location is:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral Coligny
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre-Rivoli or Pont-Neuf

A bientôt à Paris,
signature, regards, ric

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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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