'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 biggest 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.

Paul also tells us they saw a 'pot-bellied' pig in one of the pet shops on the Quai du Louvre on the way to the meeting - and this is obviously a seldom-seen 'first' if ever there was one.

With some members attending consecutive meetings, a few conversational subjects carry over from week to week.

Thus we learn what happens to dead Parisians between the time they become dead and the time they become in the ground - and Eva Lee tells us she's found out how to get legal advice without bothering to sue somebody first.

Charles, who prefers new subjects, tells us he's talking his wife into letting him get a Yorkshire Terrier, and driving her bats by pointing out every one he sees on the street while driving her to work.

Paul Rupert says he's getting hungry because all of his favorite items are being withdrawn from menus in France - which reminds Henry of a close encounter with a sirloin steak he had recently in Texas.

Charles drops the terrier business and asks, "Was it medium?"

"Mesquite grill," Henry says.

"Ahh! How big was it?" Charles, panting, asks.

But Henry would rather talk about the original bathing-beauty photos from the '20's and '30's - "From Atlantic City!" he adds. Probablyphoto: henry vogel, houston tx seen in the Rue de Seine, is my guess, because Henry is a bit jet-lagged from the speed run in from the airport to the parking space.

This leads indirectly to one member admitting that he never looks at Metropole's photos. I assume this means other readers only look at the photos and don't bother reading the text - and there is pretty general agreement about this notion.

Charles is envious of Henry Vogel's recent meeting with a sirloin steak.

Without any warning, everybody simultaneously looks at their watches , which causes me to look at mine for the second time this week. And what do you know? It is 17:00 and this is the end of this week's Café Metropole Club 'report.'

The Final Repeat Shopping Tip, Is Over

[See Paris' Winter Sales, for last week's out-of-date details.]

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

Historical details about your Café Metropole Paris Club, a few of them true ones - as opposed to concocted 'reports' - in Paris, can be found on the 'About the Café Metropole Club page,' which is about your club and has a link here, and on each issue's 'home' page, in case you forget the one here.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

Ignore the 'about the club' stuff if you must but you should read this about the next Café Metropolephoto: beer Club meeting - it will be held on Thursday, 15. February 2001 - which is not part of the magazine's regular 'count-up.'

Regardless of whether you are in Paris it will be Saint-Claude's Day anyway - which will be followed by Friday, which will be just another ordinary Sainte-Julienne's day.

This beer is not a club sponsor - but temporairly posed as a club beverage.

The café La Corona meeting place will be open as it is every day and every Thursday. Your club's meeting time will be from 15:00 to 17:00 in Europe's Central European Time Zone - 'CET' for short and not 'FFOPIR' - and elsewhere known as 3 pm to 5 pm otherwise.

The club's usual secretary, which is myself, will be taking 'report' notes during the coming meeting. New club members with new conversational subjects will be highly welcome. Bring a 'Quote of the Week' or a new 'City of the Week,' even if it isn't one in Alaska or Norway.

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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