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photo: club food and drink

Club food without flames and totally ordinary club drinks.

Stretching the Club's So-Called Rules

Paris:- Thursday, 20. April 2000:- Passing out of the pastoral airs of the 14th arrondissement, the city centre seems to be jittery. Easter pilgrims are trying to jam themselves into all of Paris' available space.

Given the coming long weekend - and longer weekends in general due to the 35-hour work week - motorists add to the jitter by all trying to squeeze out of town together - against the tide of tour buses pouring in.

Despite the nervy air, I remember to look for the Hôtel de Ville of the 1st. This has remained longphoto: r c cofer undiscovered, on the same short street as the club's café; but sitting on a previously unknown 'Place du Louvre.' Oh, wonder of a surprise! It is indeed here. I thought it was a church.

I pick up a few local-event brochures and then ritually photograph all the Fiat 500's I can see between the Maire and the café.

Paris enthusiast, R. C. Cofer can't get enough of it.

There are more people than usual outside and inside the café La Corona when I arrive; but no club members. I can't believe there will be no new club members today. I didn't bring anything to read, so I read the menu.

You know the croque-monsieurs the café has? There are actually a variety of them, and one is a 'Le Croque Special.' It is made up of 'two toasts, jambon, fromage' - so far, nothing unusual - but also has 'oeuf and two Frankforts!' This jumbo costs a measly 50 francs.

With the people the café has in it, it smells like everybody is having either a croque-monsieur orphoto: will towler a hot-dog. Is this Easter's smell? Before I can decide, a monsieur is asking the waiter if this is the right place for the club. I forget the smells and try to look alert; like 'Ed.'

This works, and leather-jacketed R. C. Cofer is introducing himself and two close friends he met 10 minutes before; Mr. and Mrs Towler, otherwise known as Anne and Will.

About Metropole? "Don't know yet" is what Will Towler is writing.

Since the café has more customers than usual, the club's tables have to be pushed together, sacks and bags stashed, and R. C. Cofer started in on signing the 'real' members booklet - while I explain to the Towlers what is supposed to be happening here.

About this point, last week's Carmel McKenzie and Alan Savage show up; to interrupt R. C. Cofer explaining where Tampa, Florida is - but he was born in Melbourne, Florida, and this makes a link with the newcomers' other Melbourne in Australia.

Luckily, Anne and Will are passing through Paris on their way to Seattle, WA - from several years' residence in Shanghai, which is in the People's Republic of China.

I consult with Carmel and we decide that this calls for 'elastic' rules, which makes Shanghai the club's 'City of the Week.'

The rules - such as they are - require elasticity because Annephoto: anne towler and Will are not even 'virtual' club members by virtue of reading Metropole; the very first they've heard of it was 10 minutes ago. Thank you, R. C. Cofer!

Then R. C. Cofer, who is the fastest talker south of Brooklyn, who has also just had a 'great lunch' Chez Max, wants to order 'something on fire.' What with the usual orders for three different kinds of café, one sort of beer and one of wine, the poor waiter becomes completely boggled.

Anne Towler wrote the same thing in the Metropole members' booklet.

When he's got it straight, R. C. Cofer asks for water. This causes the whole order to be re-confirmed. I wonder if it is because of Easter.

The 'crêpe flambée au Calvados' arrives without flames and before anybody can propose something else I say it is the 'Food of the Week.' However, R. C. Cofer is dubiously inspecting it for flames.

The waiter and I agree 'flames' in the 'salle' are against fire regulations. This is R. C. Cofer's third visit to Paris, but he accepts this explanation. Without flames, the crêpe reeks of Calvados anyway.

Carmel and Alan tell us about all the wonderful people in the Montparnasse cemetery. The Towlers show us theirphoto: carmel mckenzie photocopies of travel book sections - going from Shanghai all the way to Seattle via Europe has had them reduce their payload.

R. C. Cofer says he is without guide books because he hates to rip them apart; to toss away used bits as he travels. The Towlers - who seem to be very astute - produce a photocopy list of all the open and closed museums and other sights in Paris over this Easter weekend.

Charter club member Carmel McKenzie says the club's rules should be 'elastic.'

It is two pages long. The problem is with the national holidays falling on a weekend, and running into the various Paris Monday or Tuesday weekly closing days.

According to the list, everything is mostly open - even the places usually closed on Mondays - except for the places that are exceptionally closed. It also includes 'O' and 'F' notations for the coming May Day weekend.

The best I can do with it, is say that places marked with 'O' forphoto: alan savage open, may in fact be open. The places marked 'F' for fermé I would avoid. A lot of the places normally closed on Monday, I would personally avoid, but this is too complicated - I am not going to suggest phoning every one of them for verification.

"Will trains to the Loire Valley be running?" R. C. Cofer asks. These are not on the list, so I say yes.

Alan Savage thinks Monparnasse has a great cemetery with wonderful people in it.

And there you have it fellow club members, both 'virtual' and 'real.' Although Shanghai doesn't know it, it has become 'City of the Week' by proxy. A crêpe without flames becomes the 'Food of the Week.'

The 'Quote of the Week' comes from R. C. Cofer. Apropos of I don't know what, he says, "The other thing I ran into drove me insane!" After this we throw a variety of cash into a pile on the table and all go our different ways.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

The date for the club's next 'real' meeting is Thursday, 27. April. Come to the meeting if it appears to be Thursday and you are definitely in Paris. If you don't happen to be in Paris on this day, wherever you are you can say "It must be Café Metropole Club day!" if you remember.

The café La Corona meeting place will be open as usual inside and out next Thursday, so the time for your club's meeting continues to be from 15:00 to 17:00 - which is also known as 3 pm to 5 pm if you have a clock that only goes up to 12.

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.

As hard as I can, I can't for the life of me remember what I put on Monday's regular 'club' page. I remember writing but not what. However, the café's location is still:

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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