'Douce France' Day

photo: the sunday cafe

In the Rendez-Vous, for Sunday morning café
and the racing news.

Because Oman Is Where the Warm Is

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 19. February 2001:- Last week's weather in Paris was not quite as wonderful as the forecasts for it, but it wasn't too bad although it was a bit chilly.

So, the TV-weather news forecast I passed on last week wasn't all wrong and it wasn't all right either. On days when it was clear, there was an average of an extra four minutes of daylight each day, which is average for this time of year.

Beyond this, I am not going to make any TV-weather news-based predictions. Instead, I am going to cross my fingers and hope that the mini-Arctic climate that is lurking in my courtyard and blowing through my place, gets tired and goes elsewhere soon.

Café Life

Douce France

For the French, Charles Trenet's songs evoked a France the whole world dreams of - optimistic and hopeful. During a 70-yearphoto: rue de la bonne, montmartre long career, this was a soft France unrelated to history that Charles Trenet created in words, lyrics and music.

'Douce France,' in winter, on Montmartre.

Charles Trenet died at 87 last night. By this morning, even the news station radio France-Info had reformatted itself into the 'Charles Trenet Show,' and this continued tonight as France-2 TV chucked out its prepared Monday night program of talking heads, to continue the video version of the 'Charles Trenet Show.'

Every once in a while, even the world in France stops to contemplate the way it should be - in 'Douce France.'

Down and Up In Oman

As 'douce' as France may be, even in winter, for the server-lady Linda Thalman sometimes it is not 'douce' enough and she has to go where it is - even if it means going to the Sultanate of Oman to see some camel races, buy some flying carpets and become 'pink like a shrimp' from pure sunshine.

Oman is not particularly close to Paris in any way, but Linda Thalman has sort of a 'douce France' approach to tourism - optimistic and hopeful - so that, as she has put it, she can save the best of a good thing for the last.

Tired of Metropole in Paris? Treat yourself to 'Hanging Out In Oman,' in this issue.

Dimitri's Carburetor II

If you read this column last week you may recall that Dimitri bought a new carburetor for his 2CV at last year's Rétromobile old car show. It made his antique car go faster, but the car didn't like it.

On Friday he went to the show just as it was closing, but they let him in - and for free. He found the carburetor dealer and the dealer agreed to exchange the 'slightly-used' but wrong carburetor for a brand-new but right carburetor - which has made Dimitri very happy.

So happy in fact, that he went back to Rétromobile yesterday and paid to get in. Last night he showed me this year's prize 'find' and asked me if I could figure out what it was. I couldn't - maybe it was the next season's oyster-opener or the latest in corkscrews.

This wire thing in its cellophane bag, "Sixty-five francs, can you believe it?" Golly - sometimes I'll believe anything. "I should have got two of them - damn!"

After letting us guess some more - we were at a dinner party featuring guessing games - he finally said, "You know how the 2CV's front-door windows pop out and up and snap into a doodad at the top of thephoto: dimitri's frame delivery window?"

Nobody else was listening, but I said I knew about this. "These - this, I mean," he said, "Keep the window only part-way open, so you can drive with your elbow hanging out, resting on the window sill."

To ship a frame, Dimitri knows the limits of his 2CV and uses a truck instead.

Try this with a new car and the window has to be wide open. "But!" he exclaimed, "It's not designed right. The way it is, it'll interfere with the steering wheel. But not on the passenger side, of course."

It is truly amazing the things that the French invent. The 'Inventors Show' is usually held during the Salon de Paris, and it is always swamped with visitors - many of whom buy the latest model of magic no-work oyster-opener.

The guys who do open oysters outside restaurants or at fish stalls, do so with simple knives and their bare hands. They stick their bare hands into mounds of ice, grab an oyster and pop it open in a jiffy, and I haven't noticed their hands cut and bleeding, or falling off, frozen.

Meanwhile, when I had the chance, I forgot to ask Dimitri if he'd ever tooled his 2CV down the 'Route Nationale 7,' made more perfect than it was, by Charles Trenet.

Café Metropole Club 'Updates'
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