A Little Wine for Breakfast?

photo:l->r, ken, p j, susanne, john

From left - Ken, PJ, Susanne and John begin
the 'cheese' session.

Napoléon III Is Closed On Club Days

Paris:- Thursday, 15. June 2000:- Coming out of the métro's hole at Châtelet, I do not find this week's métro paper and when I see the Rue de Rivoli, it is not bathed in bright sunlight.

This is fine light for photographing posters, but I don't see any good ones. I don't see any 'Fiat 500's of the Week' so you are spared this thrill too.

In the Mairie of the 1st arrondissement, I do see that it seems to have Internet access for anyone who comes in. You need some sort of 'card' to work the iMac just inside the door.

At La Corona, both the terraces are nearly deserted. The sky is a little gloomy, so I guess nobody is thirsty yet. Inside the big 'salle' there are no people, no pets, no food, no drinks. To liven upphoto: formidable leffe beer the club's corner, I put one of the little plastic menus on one of the club's tables.

After fifty minutes, a lady says something like, "If this is the club, it should be outside!" She is with three other people and they all seem to be wary about approaching the club's unofficial area.

The first hint of what will be the 'Drink of the Week.'

I coax them over; pooh-pooh the outside, with its noise and lack of bright sky. The four do sit down after thinking it over; each one leaving a empty chair between - so they take up the space of ten people, all facing me.

The nominal leader of this small mob is Susanne Charney from Fairfax, California. The other three are members of her 'four-pack' and they include her husband John, and PJ and Ken Martin who are from Birmingham, Alabama.

Susanne and PJ work for a government agency and they accidently got to know each other because of an email message that went wrong. Since then, they have become a 'four pack' and now they are in Paris together; because Susanne loved her adventures in 1968 here. It is the Martins' first visit.

On account of this, I declare Birmingham to be 'City of the Week.' Thisphoto: same group 2 makes the Martins lifelong Café Metropole Club fans, even if they've never read Metropole - which I'm not sure they have.

Not quite there, but getting close to the 12th 'cheese' in unison.

I notice Ken has a watch like mine. Unlike mine he is wearing his because its battery works. He suggests I 'pull the stem' when not wearing mine, so the battery won't run down. I wish somebody had told me this before it went dead while I was not wearing it

They have been in the Louvre next door. Susanne is annoyed because the shops in it were 'closed for lack of employees.' John says, "Napoléon III is closed every Thursday."

They all had a fine dinner last night and the best part was having the chef say hello to them this morning. "I survived French cheeses," John says.

"As a student, I had 'lost' years in Paris," Susanne says, after everybody has each ordered a different beer in different-sized glasses.

"At the Grizzly, a four-year old cleared our table," Susanne says. I make a boring speech about the French constitution and child labor laws and add all I know about the 35-hour work week.

John says, "You could easily get lost in the Louvre. Never see anything twice." Unlike their hotel room. He says,"If it was bigger it would still be small."

They tell me about some amusing adventures they've had with pickpockets in London. This has left them in the position of not worrying about their colleagues in Paris because there's nothingphoto: food of the week left to pick. Ken adds that pickpockets in the 'French Quarter' - I assume he means New Orleans - are pretty crafty too.

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