'New Orleans Mardi Gras 'Zulu' Beads of the Week'

photo: group foto of the week

Getting rarer - having few enough members to fit into
the week's group photo.

Competes With 'Saint of the Week'

Paris:- Thursday, 22. February 2001:- For the first time in some time, today's club weather is not fit for sunbathing - it is fit club weather, especially for photos. Like it was fit for the photos of the beautiful cows yesterday at the Salon de l'Agriculture.

So fit, in fact, that the camera's batteries may die during today's club meeting. If this happens, there may be heavier gauntlets thrown down and more than just heavy-duty baloney flying around.

Like Patrick - today's 'Waiter of the Week,' often does - he whispers, "Il y a du monde!" - already waiting for me. He says this as if I'm late, as if new member records have already been set.

Don't members know this is supposed to be the 'February doldrums?' When I come like usual, readphoto: robin wagner the papers, doodle, twiddle my thumbs, hum to myself and make a café last from four until five.

However, as usual, Patrick has exaggerated. The new members are Robin Wagner and Bob Watkins, from New Orleans, Louisiana. When I ask the people sitting at the next table if they are 'club members' too, the man says "Non!" quite definitely.

Seasoned Paris visitor Robin Wagner does not seem to be sensory-overloaded.

And when they see Bob get up and haul out eight strings of genuine plastic and official New Orleans Mardi Gras 'Zulu' beads, they finish whatever it is they are doing in La Corona and get out as fast as they can.

Elizabeth Krekorian is already sitting at an opposite table with Louis Riethmann, from St. Louis - I swear this is true! - so of course, when she sees the 'Zulu' beads she knows the club is in 'action' and we rearrange the tables to suit the usual club layout.

It is Bob's first time in Paris, and he arrived thisphoto: bob watkins morning and is woozy from the flight. Robin has been to Paris before, so she has been alert enough to see two McDo billboards on the way in from Roissy. I don't think these caused the 'sensory-overload' Bob says he is having.

Marilyn Burke arrives, with her cheerful 200-watt New Jersey voice. When Liz says she and Louis have come to the club via the métro, Marilyn says, "Really slumming now - I came by bus!"

Dur to being in France for the first time, Bob overlooked the McDo billboards enitrely.

Louis - pronounced 'Louie,' which is the way you are supposed to pronounce 'Louis' in Paris anyway - not to be outdone, says, "I've used 24 métro tickets so far."

As if in explanation, Liz says, "My sense of direction doesn't work too well." When I want to know if this is underground or on the surface, Louis plugs the red sightseeing buses while saying they are too cold - even downstairs and inside.

Marilyn, who claims we've all been having a great-weather week, notes that it has not actually been freezing. This develops into a heated discussion about the difference between temperatures under 32, and metric ones, under zero.

Under '32' is colder than under metric 'zero.' Holy mother of pearl! I know I'm not going to win this one so I put on the authentic New Orleans Mardi Gras 'Zulu' beads, and everybody helps me with the shorter plastic ones - which I know I will eventually have to be cut off.

By this time - do I write this phrase every week? - the server-lady Linda Thalman has arrived. Shephoto: louis riethmann says she's late because of bad traffic, and parking far out of town at a free space she found by chance, and riding the métro in.

She hasn't brought any baloney, but she does 'throw one of her gauntlets down.' To find out what this is about, you have to read this issue's email feature, as well as last week's club 'report.' To find out even more about it, we'll all have to read the coming issue's new email feature.

Louis from St. Louis, beings today's 'Saint of the Week' to the club.

Oh, golly! I've almost forgotten Carol Pelletier's arrival, and long-time member Doug Fuss wanders in from Savannah, Georgia as if he only missed last week's meeting instead of several weeks' worth of them.

Carol has been in Paris so long she can't precisely remember which of New York's boroughs she originally came from. She doesn't want this mentioned, and if I think about it - forget that I wrote this if you live in any of these five places.

Instead, you will no doubt be overjoyed to learn why Warson Woods is this week's 'City of the Week.' Louis photo: lomo spy camera tells me this place shares its patron saint with Paris, Sainte-Geneviève 'Du Bois' - formerly of Nanterre.

Readers may remember the mention of Sainte-Geneviève a few weeks ago, as being the visionary heroine who saved Paris in 461 from Attila and his 700,000 rampaging 'Huns,' by somehow tricking them into ravaging Orléans instead.

Bob Watkins' neat 'Lomo' spy camera, fits inside a sleeve or under a hat.

What I forgot to mention is that Sainte- Geneviève saved Paris again in 461 when ill-mannered Franks arrived to beseige the town. She slipped through their lines and gathered food - and possibly drink - in Champagne, and slipped back into town with it. She lived happily ever after until 512, when she was buried beside Clovis.

Just so there's no mistake about it, there is a town named Sainte Geneviève just south of St. Louis, and it has been very thoughtful of Louis to bring all of this up at the meeting, plusphoto: carol pelletier mentioning that he has meaningful navigational conversations with his late model talking Cadillac.

Meanwhile, as usual, other club members are having their meaningful conversations too, and ordering things from Patrick, or paying for them and leaving - and even once, sitting still for 15 seconds for the 'group' photo.

Camera-shy members cause the club's camera to bungle portaits - allowing only a profile of Carol Pelletier.

Bob shows me his unusual camera, which I don't really think is so unusual because it looks a bit like a Minox I have. His Lomo 'LC-A' is a 'spy' camera, with a very sharp lens. It is very simple with nothing much automatic, and it must be made of steel, because it is a lot heavier than my Minox without being much bigger.

After discussing the advantages of this sort of device, when I look up I see all the other members have departed. This meeting must be over.

I take off all the Mardi Gras beads I can, and leave on the rest to be admired by the métro's other evening passengers - but next Tuesday I'll be wearing all of them again.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

Historical facts about your Café Metropole Paris Club - as opposed a concocted 'report' like this one - 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 to click on the one here.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

Ignore the 'about the club' stuff if you must but you should read the following about the next Café Metropole Club meeting - it will be held on Thursday, 29. February 2001 - which is a week from now.

Regardless of whether you are in Paris it will be Saint-Aubin's Day - which will be followedphoto: club secretary by Friday, which will be just another ordinary Saint-Charles le Bon day like it is every year.

The café La Corona meeting place will be open as it is daily as well as 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 'ITPEP' - and elsewhere known as 3 pm to 5 pm otherwise.

Ordinary blurry photo of the club's secretary, wearing the club's mostly plastic 'New Orleans Mardi Gras 'Zulu' Beads of the Week.'

The club's usual secretary, which is myself, will be making some 'report' notes during the coming meeting, but do not pay any attention to this because it is pretty harmless. Bring a 'Quote of the Week' or a new 'City of the Week,' or even a 'Camera of the Week' or any other 'New Thing of the Week' you want to share with other members.

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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