'Pot-bellied' Pigs Spotted Near Club

photo: terje johansen, school group from aalesund norway

Terje Johansen, surrounded by his six students,
all from Ålesund, Norway.

Lots of 'Students of the Week' Too

Paris:- Thursday, 8. February 2001:- Today is typical in two ways and atypical in another. It is a winter day - what else would you expect for early February? - the 'strike of the week' is a flop, and today's Café Metropole Club sunshine did not make its weekly update.

This means I may have to return my weather-oracle badge to the society of independent weather-oracles, and I also get a black spot beside my membership number. Two more of these and I drop back into my old place in the weather-idiots' club.

With the flop of the 'strike of the week,' my métro ride to Châtelet is uneventful - until I try to leave the métro by my regular exit. It is taped shut with plastic bags - no doubt on account of the rave reviews I gave to last week's 'total' strike.

But enough of this miserable grumbling - on to club news!

At the beginning of today's meeting there is no 'club news,' because only Patrick, the 'waiter of the week,' is present. The grande salle in La Corona is about a quarter full though - with people who have eaten lunch and look as if it's time to doze off.

While I am busying myself with club-secretary rigamarole - which includes trying to figure out the date - whichphoto: eva lee the little window on my watch's face tells me when I remember to look at it - a small herd of teenage schoolgirls suddenly appears before me.

Eva Lee comes to the club straight from finding out legal facts at the nearby Mairie.

I am up and shaking hands with them one-by-one until the last one turns out to be Terje Johansen, who turns out to be their history teacher and leader for a week's worth of school visit in Paris.

The whole gang of them are from Ålesund, Norway - in town to check out the local history and culture - and as soon as this club nonsense is over with they intend to start in the nearby Samaritaine department store.

Ålesund, is on about the same latitude as Anchorage, and since the club has a member from near there - Chad Wagner - this latitude is not so unknown as Greenland, which is about as far north too.

Terje tells me he visited Paris for the first time in 1969 and it was so cold he had to buy winter clothes at the 'puces' out at Saint-Ouen. I well remember the winter of '69 too, but I thought it only happened in Munich. About winter, Terje also tells me all Norwegian shipping tycoons now live in Greece.

After all the soft drinks are consumed, the girls are impatient for Paris' glories and we re-run through the handshake routine again as they file out to begin their search for great 50-percent off shopping adventures.

Before leaving, Terje also says he's sorry he's missed the server-lady, Linda Thalman. He assures me Linda is nearly as famous as the Café Metropole Club in Norway's lower geographic third. For this, Ålesund is clearly the 'City of the Week.'

Paul Vogel from Barrington near Chicago and Henry Vogel from Houston, Texas, must crisscross with the exiting girls because they're sitting where I've left the rest of the club's members - whophoto: paul vogel, paul rupert now include Marilyn Burke, Charles Eitel and Paul Rupert, who close-reading readers will remember as the golfing kingpin of 'ChezVous' from a couple of weeks ago.

While Paul Vogel knows where his Citroën parts will be from, Paul Rupert is uncertain about his next meal.

The Vogels, Paul and Henry, have arrived in Paris this morning in order to stock up on spare parts for Paul's mini-fleet of old Citroën cars, at the Rétromobile old-car and spare parts salon which begins tomorrow.

To do this in style they have rented the iggest car Citroën has and have found an extremely rare and large parking space for it near their hotel, all since arriving in Paris today and escaping from the airport.

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