The 'Chili' of the Week

photo: l->r, marilyn, charles, ulrich, ronda

From left, Marilyn, Charles, Ulrich and Ronda - in La
Corona's 'grand salle.'

Belated Weather Update

Paris:- Thursday, 10. May 2001:- Newspaper and TV-weather news snookered me last Monday when I passed on the forecast for 'ugly' weather. On Tuesday morning there were real sunballs all over Paris' sky and the thermometre shot up to room temperature.

Parisians and visitors crawled out from under the dark places where they were 'sitting out winter' and filled Paris' open spaces. Where standing room became short, people lay on the grass.

In Wednesday's editions Le Parisien announced spring's arrival with triumph. Tonight's TV-weather forecast is for more sun balls and highs in the area of 23 or 24 degrees. Leave your winter duds at home folks!

Upon my arrival at the club's café today I note that about six whole people are crowding La Corona's terrace, leaving about 40 other seats free. Admittedly it is a bit overcast, but it is not cold.

Inside the café is nearly deserted. Fine with me - not so fine for all our waiters. At least Patrick has the satisfaction of being the club's 'Waiter of the Week.'

Stalwart club members Marilyn Burke and Charles Eitel turn up first, right on the dot of 15:00. The first orders a small pot and the second orders a big 'demi-pot' of wine - sort of as 'chasers' to their lunch pots.

Today's first new member arrives fifteen minutes later. When Ulrich Diederich says he is fromphoto: marilyn burke Houston, Texas, a couple at another table say they are from Houston too, but do not bother to join the club, reducing today's new member total by 50 percent.

If Marilyn thinks Charles may be 'right' for New Jersey, she doesn't say so.

Ulrich was born in Leipzig when it was in East Germany. His parents moved west just before the wall went up, and he lived in Frankfurt and Munich before moving to the United States. Because Houston has been chosen before, this makes Leipzig 'City of the Week,' mostly because of its big messe.

The club's second new member this week is Ronda Barton who is from Austin, Texas - but there doesn't seem to be anybody else in the café ready to leap up and say they are from Austin too. This is okay because Austin has been the 'City of the Week' at least once before. See? Leipzig gets it.

Charles is saying he wangled some kind of new Jaguar for a weekend test-drive. He says, "With its four-wheel drive, you can go into a corner posted at 30 going 80 and come out at 220 kph, with two gears left to go."

To understand what this implies, I invite all readers and members to read this week's feature, 'What's Better Than Walking In the Rain? - for a true appreciation of wretched excess, as well as being a good way to lose a good-for-life French drivers' license on the spot.

Before Ulrich and Charles get into serious car talk, Ulrich mentions that, topographically speaking, Houston is built on a swamp. Ronda is equally forthcoming about Austin, saying it is built on Texas' only hills.

Ulrich, who has brought girlfriends on his five previous visits to Paris, is without one this time. "Parisphoto: ulrich diederich is not stressful, if you don't bring a girlfriend." Then he muses a bit before wondering, "Why would anybody jump off a bridge here?"

"My wife owes me a pool table," Charles says. This is to substitute for the carry-around dog he didn't get, and because he has to go to New Jersey and look for a house to live in next week.

Is Ulrich looking for a girlfriend in Paris? Is it spring? What's wrong with Paris' bridges?

On the way over from Châtelet, I said hello to one of the parrots in the pet shop I passed. Ulrich says, "We've got 400 cats in our program," in reference to the Houston animal rescue group he helps out with.

Meanwhile, Paris' prices are getting a going over. "Expensive - compared to Austin," Ronda says. "Fifty bucks a night is okay, but not for two months."

Ulrich thinks 900 francs a night is reasonable, especially if the bathroom is on the same floor. Obviously he hasn't spent any time in the ritzy flophouses near where I live in the 14th.

Ronda has a myth to relate. "People sitting on café terraces in the afternoon drinking wine are all drunks," she says.

Ulrich, who knows Austin is the most expensive place in Texas, says, "Americans can't just sit down without ordering something - they don't understand the idea of killing time."

Ronda, who knows Houston is an ex-swamp, says, "Only drunks do it."

After somebody tells a story about a murder defendant paying his attorney with home-made tortillas after being found not guilty, I get today's handy-sized group to stand up for the club's 'Group Photo of the Week.'

Ulrich's second Orangina arrives atphoto: charles eitel the same time, and he holds it for duration of the tricky photo operation. "There's an Orangina shortage in the US," he says, "There's no similar drink available."

Charles is the club's only beatnik from Florida. He will be missed - and wasted on Jersey.

I am not putting in this plug for Orangina because the Orangina guys told me only kids drink the stuff, but because Ulrich is providing evidence that Americans, even if they have German passports, come all the way to Paris to get their hands on it.

The next conversational topic concerns choosing three foods to have on a foodless desert island. Ulrich says, "Peanut butter," and Charles says, "Chocolate," and Marilyn says, "Ice cream."

When Ronda hears what this is about, she says, "And tacos."

So there you are. While Ronda is swimming in the Gulf of Mexico which Ulrich says is "That brown stuff!" I am imagining what a peanut butter and chocolate-filled taco with ice cream on it might taste like.

Charles, who voted for 'Lower Taxes' in Tampa, wonders more about the Gulf's sharks, who aren't particular at all about what they eat.

Finally, Ronda puts a stop to all the food nonsense with the 'true Texas chili story.' She says, "No chili with beans is accepted!" I think she is referring to the famous Texas chili-cookingphoto: ronda barton contests, that Ulrich says, "Are held three times a day."

Apparently the most important of these contests are held in Lückenbach, which is in none of my atlases - possibly because one of them was made in East Germany.

While in Paris, Ronda will be searching for true Austin-style rock-n-roll.

Lückenbach also has a 'würst-fest' if you happen to be in the neighborhood. Kind of like crossing the 'T,' Ronda also offers the information that Texas' oldest dance hall is called the 'Grüne Halle' and offers to teach me how to spell 'barbeque.'

Other tips include, only taking taxis with '75' in their license plates if you want to be driven to obscure places in Paris, and that not all people seen drinking red wine on Paris café terraces in the afternoons are really drunks.

As usual, your club's secretary has learned more important facts than he knew when he woke up this morning around noon.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

'Unofficial' but 'suspended-rules' concerning your Café Metropole Paris Club - as opposed a 'chili' 'report' like this one - can be found on the 'About the Café Metropole Club page,' which is about your club, and has a link on each issue's 'home' page, in case you overlook this one right here.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

The next Café Metropole Club meeting will be held on Thursday, 17. May, which is a week from today, like all other Thursdays have been up until now since our current calendar was introduced.

If you are in Paris or not it will be Saint-Pascal's Day. Luckily, the following Friday will be just another ordinary Saint-Eric's day - no kidding! - which was on Thursday last year - just like since possibly before our current calendar was adopted.

The café La Corona meeting place willphoto: wine, orangina be open as it is all the time 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 'ZIPT' - and elsewhere known as 3 pm to 5 pm otherwise.

The club's 'Arty Photo of the Week' concerns the usual stuff of course.

The club's secretary, otherwise known as 'Ed,' - but not Eric anything - will be making some 'report' notes during the coming meeting, but there's no need to pay any attention to this because 'Ed' writes more notes than will be used.

Prepare your new 'Quote of the Week' or propose your own new 'City of the Week' - or even invent any other 'Things of the Week,' if you want to share them, it, with other members - and readers of this online magazine with the free Paris club for both.

The café's location is:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral de 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.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
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Waldo Bini