What Is a Paris Monsoon?

photo: monsoon on corona terrace

This is a Paris monsoon.

And An Update to the Last Meeting

Paris:- Thursday, 11. May 2000:- For once the weather prediction is right on time. In fact, it is 'on time' about once an hour. It is pouring, it is hosing down; it is smashing weak umbrellas, making them look like sodden hibernating bats.

Last night the same weather sunk Rouen. The night before it was Calais - finally ending the longest fourth-division football loser's party in the history of the world.

Walking to the métro, it feels like lumpy rain is pounding on my cap. It is bouncing off and lying like white pebbles on the glistening sidewalk between the lakes. It is about 25 degrees celsius and the pebbles are hail. By the métro the hail is bouncing.

At Châtelet, as my eye becomes level with the sidewalk, it is no different. Rangoon weather on the Rue de Rivoli. Car drivers are steam-bathing in their tin rickshaws. Shoppers are huddled in doorways, watching for bargains to float past.

At the club's café La Corona, there are even two heavy-rain fanciers sitting outside on the Quai du Louvre terrace - well back from the floods - watching the traffic barge past. I should write 'flow,' but the traffic never does this here, even when it is dry.

While taking photos of this unusual scene - photos of wet murk - Monsieur Ferrat comes outsidephoto: l->r, kay, doug, marion and tells me there is a club member waiting. Then the new member comes out and I assure her I'm coming in - but first I have to make the handshake round of the bar.

Kay Thompson, Doug Fuss and Marion Nowak; all safe and dry inside La Corona.

With this done, I find the club's area of the café is mostly full of civilians, cowardly seeking shelter from the elements. I take off cap, coat; take out the unofficial members' booklet and 'reports' booklet, and the club's two unofficial Bic pens.

Kay Thompson borrows one of them to sign in as a 'real' member. She has come straight from a 28-hour stay-awake trip; which included getting kicked in the airplane seat-back all across the Atlantic, by a hyperactive little girl.

Kay is dying of hunger too so I order a 'croque provençal' for her because it has Mediterranean stuff in it. When I see it has a fired egg on top, I order salt and pepper too.

For Kay - who is also known as Ms. Nomer, of 1985 BBS fame - she ran the 'Dr. Who' club - on her first Paris visit, her hometown of Sweetwater, Oklahoma gets the 'City of the Week' award. No question about it.

You see, before coming she wrote as Ms. Nomer and I suggested shephoto: cafe corona decor have lunch and catch a bit of sun in the Tuileries while waiting for the meeting to start. She has wisely not done this; so I declare the 'croque provençal' to be the club's 'Food of the Week.'

Other than calling this a bit of La Corona's decor, I don't know what it is.

'Real' club member number 59 Marion Nowak comes in, wearing the Zorro hat she wore last week. If she wears it again it'll become 'Hat of the Week.' No hat or umbrella will get this distinction today.

Kay tells us about nearly being pegged as a shoplifter by Larry McMurty at his bookstore in Archer City. She also says she has been through Paris, Texas - and is still sorry she didn't buy any of their Paris, Texas souvenir Tour Eiffels.

Thieves get a going over by Marion. 'Not Paris,' but London, Florence, Rome - Marion says some people have "Rob me!" stickers on their foreheads.

Doug Fuss wades in. He is a 'Charter Member' - which means he is 'real' - number 28, and he is back in Paris after getting 'cabin fever' in Georgia all winte long. "Bucolic fever," he calls it, adding "The only known cure for it is Paris," and thus we have our 'Quote of the Week.' Or is it two?


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