"Look for Our Photos!"

photo: l->r, cindy, rob, jeanne, gayle, scott, pablo

From left: Cindy, Rob, Jeanne, Gayle, Scott and Pablo - to name but a few.

"Approximately Real Beer"

Paris:- Thursday, 28. December 2000:- For some reason, a good-weather club day follows a crummy-weather ordinary Wednesday - just like last week. If the club had a weatherman inclined to statistics, it might be interesting to learn if club days in Paris have better weather than other days.

If they did, I'd sell Paris the concession for having club days on all the other week days. But the newspapers are saying that 2000 has been the hottest year on record, so Paris might want to skip the offer.

When I arrive at the club's café La Corona, I am surprised to see it is jam-packed with civilians, who probably got rained on enough yesterday. Even the club's section of the 'grande salle' is nearly full and I only manage to occupy two tables right in front of the 'non fumeurs' sign.

Within five minutes of the meeting's begin, there are more new club members present than will fit this tiny bit of real estate, but two more adjoining tables are quickly cleared for club action.

The club welcomes Gayle and Scott Moseley from Washington, DC; who have just got off a jetliner from a wintry New York together with Jeannephoto: jet lag cure glasses and Pablo Perez, also from DC, where it is also sort of wintry. Most of the members of this group have no idea of what sort of club they're joining.

Some of the 'approximately' real beers.

As they are fighting off their extreme jetlag with beers and putting their particulars in the members' booklet, two more new members arrive ten minutes later and occupy half of the secretary's space. The newcomers are Cindy and Rob Walsh, who live in Wales, Massachusetts.

I begin to get the idea there are a couple of dozen other new members waiting in the wings somewhere to make their entrances at ten-minute intervals when the third group of one arrives - non-stop after a 22-hour series of flights from Sterling, Alaska.

Gol-darn! This surely makes Sterling the 'City of the Week,' if for no other reason than Chad Wagner claiming it to be less wintry - other than some thick ice - than the lower 48 - except Hawaii of course.

Chad trumps the first quartet of new members by claiming to have first read Metropole 'a couple of days ago.' Chad has also brought a CD-ROM with some Alaska photos, showing 45 or 68 of very big Wolverine Peak mountains with little snowphoto: chad wagner on them - and some of pipe-laying machines in traffic jams.

"How do you get to the Champs-Elysées?" Pablo wants to know. I tell him to go in the direction of the Corona's bar and keep going until reaching the Arc de Triomphe.

Chad Wagner doesn't mind the lack of ice in Paris.

New members take a pause in arriving while Cindy tells me the reason for the club's popularity. "I told everybody to look for our photos - to see if we arrived okay," she says.

Meanwhile, about the time that Scott and Pablo notice that their rounds of beers cost 16.60 euros, long-time member Stephen Nowak arrives. This week he is a lot happier because he's figured out his DM-Franc problems - which were not caused by Marion, who shows up a long time afterwards.

Almost everybody has decided to drink beer to combat jet-lag or last night's wine-lag. As the only Bavarian beer expert present, Stephen offers his expert opinion of the French beer littering several of the club's tables.

"As a physicist, I'd say it's a good approximation of a real beer," he says. After hearing this good news, everybody orders some more of it - except for some who are switching to café so that they can keep going for the rest of the day, and night.

Either Scott or Pablo are a bit confused with Paris' street layout. "DC is better designed, with its grid and its diagonals," Scott claims.

Apparently the streets there don't have names; they have letters or numbers. When they tell mephoto: greg holt, phyllis rembert there is no 'J Street' between 'I Street' and 'K Street,' then I think Paris is fine with its 5000-odd different street names, some of which change occasionally.

True Manhattanites Phyllis and Greg are looking for Paris dark-to-dawn 'action.'

Halfway through the meeting two more new members roll up, to fill the expansion of the club's tables, which is nearing two digits-worth. These are Phyllis Rembert and Greg Holt from New York. I always ask about New York now, and learn that they are from the Manhattan part of it.

Greg sent an email a couple of days ago, so his actual arrival at the club is a small surprise. In his message, he said there are no kids in Manhattan - and today he says he hasn't seen many in Paris.

There is a real kid sitting in a booth right behind Greg's shoulder and I point this out. But he is right, it is school vacation time and a lot of Paris kids have been shipped out of town to keep their grandparents amused during the holidays.

Cindy or Scott ask me 'how to get to Orsay,' or the Orangerie to see Monet's water lilies. I'm really glad most members don't ask me hard questions - like how to find posters that were on view last May.

There is such a lot of talk flying around thatphoto: cuban cigar in corona I don't find out if Chad and Greg learn that they're both looking for jazz, or music places in Paris - but Chad has told me there's a club in the same street as his hotel.

Even dented cigar tubes still work if they are made in Cuba.

The real reason for Paris is something Greg has to show us all. It is a dented metal Churchill-sized tube with 'Romeo y Julieta' lettered on it. Pablo unscrews its cap and a half-smoked cigar the size of a small log slides out.

This is Greg's big discovery. "It's legal!" he exclaims, adding, "You can even smoke it in a restaurant, with a cognac!"

This makes me take a close look to see what the new members have written in the members' booklet. Usually there's a grumble or two about Paris' smokey atmosphere, but this week it's all very upbeat.

Chad has merely made a lowkey wish that 'bars add some smoke-eaters.'

I take this to mean that today's group of new members are here mainly for their New Years' parties. Some wiggly Paris streets without numbers or letters for names and a little Cuban cigar smoke in jazz clubs is not going to seriously stop anybody from having a good time.

Shopping Tip

Paris' Winter Sales - 'Soldes d'Hiver' - begin on Wednesday, 10. January - the day before the club's Thursday, 11. January meeting - and continue for six weeks afterwards. First come, first served, but don't forget to take a rest at the club's meeting on Thursday.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

Actual real historical details about your Café Metropole Paris Club - as opposed to plain weekly gossip - in Paris, can be found on the 'About the Café Metropole Club page,' which is about your club and is accessible here, and from each issue's 'home' page.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

But if you choose to skip the 'about the club' stuff you have to read this, because it is about the next Café Metropole Clubphoto: alaska, photo c wagner meeting. It will be held on Thursday, 4. January 2001. If you are in Paris it will merely be the first Saint-Odlion's Day in the next millennium - which will be followed by Friday, which will be an ordinary one as usual.

A typical Alaskan traffic-jam involves pipe-laying vehicules.
Photo: Chad Wagner©2000

The café La Corona meeting place will be open just as it is every Thursday of the year. The time for your club's meeting will again be from 15:00 to 17:00 in Europe's Central European Time Zone - 'CET' for short and not 'TIMEX' - which is also known as 3 pm to 5 pm elsewhere.

The club's regular secretary will be taking notes during the coming meeting as is becoming usual again. Since the date for it falls after New Years is over and after 2001 has finally begun, the meeting may be one of Paris' few lively events if there are any awake as well as active members left in town.

The café's location is:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral Coligny - or - 30. Quai du Louvre
Paris 1. Métro: Pont-Neuf or Châtelet.

A bientôt à Paris,
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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