When In Paris

photo: l->r, neil, edna, bob, priscilla

From left to right - Neil, Edna, Bob and Priscilla
fill up today's group photo.

You are Supposed To Have a Good Time

Paris:- Thursday, 14. June 2001:- For those who have been anxiously waiting for a true weather update from Paris, all I can say is, what is actually happening has no relationship to local forecasts.

This isn't the 'plus or minus' 500 kilometres thing - it is totally wrong weather. However it is working out well for us because all of the predictions for gloomy dark grey clouds with high chances of rain that we've been getting, have been wrong - except for a short, sharp downpour about 19:00 yesterday.

The predictions for temperatures have been widely off too - with balmy highs around 24 or 25, instead of 18 or 19. But these strange predictions persist, with gloom and highs of 19 forecast for the coming weekend. Again.

With this out of the way, I take off my 'weather-hat' and make my way to the club in the Café La Corona much as usual - without an umbrella and without getting any stray gushers of rain sliding down the back my neck inside my collar.

For the first time in several weeks none of the 'Waiters of the Week' tell me 'il y a du monde' waiting for the meeting to start, and they are right because no one is. The tables are more or less linedphoto: club drink, football up, with less or more grains of salt or sugar still on them. Nothing is perfect, especially not at this club.

Club members show up like clockwork at 15:00, slightly before I can write the date in the 'reports' booklet. New member Neil Trembley, from Minneapolis, Minnesota arrives slightly after Priscilla Garcia, and Edna and Bob Bradley. Add all the 'slightlys' together and they aren't more than about three minutes' worth.

One of the club's 'Drinks of the Week.'

I don't give Neil much of the usual blather about the members' booklet formalities, so he tells me he 'collapsed' today after running around Paris for the past three or four days. He says the Place des Vosges is good for collapsing or for 'cooling out,' which reminds him to tell me the winter in Minnesota was more severe or longer this year, or both.

Edna has a 'Question of the Week' and it is this - "Did Bill Clinton, accompanied by 'eight gorillas,' have dinner at the 'Paris' restaurant at the Hôtel Lutétia?"

Apparently Mr. Clinton was in Paris especially to see Andre Agassi lose to France's Sébastien Grosjean in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros eight days ago.

A day earlier the former President of the United States played a round of golf at Reuil-Malmaison before spending the evening with 400 dinner guests who forked over a million francs - according to Le Parisien - to hear his thoughts about the geo-political situation in the Middle East. The following evening Mr. Clinton shared these thoughts with Président Jacques Chirac, in return for a free dinner at the Elysée Palace.

It is possible that he also found time to dine at the Lutétia, but I do not know this for certain.

Priscilla has a question almost as good as the 'Question of the Week.' "Are there clean-air places in Paris?" she wants to know.

When I point out that the club does not hold meetings out on La Corona's terraces unless car drivers go on strike, she says that 'people should sit outside if they are only here for two weeks.'

Everybody thinks about this for about seven seconds, agrees, and then Edna says, "We were thinking of changing our apartment-hotel for the Napoléon III apartment in the Louvre."

This launches a general round of favorite 'Louvre' stories. Some of these involve jumping the drearyphoto: terrace tables, lines of visitors by having a museum-pass and others are about the sheer size of the place, and the advantage of making visits in the evenings.

Some of La Corona's terrace tables and chairs, with a ringside seat on the Quai du Louvre.

'You can get lost in there,' the members agree. The only thing I am sure about is that motion-detectors will lead search parties to people who really get lost in it and can't find their way out before closing time.

"The view from the Pompidou centre is better than its contents," Neil says, adding that he hasn't seen the current exhibition featuring 'Pop Art' along with the '50's and '60's that sawned it. I have heard from other quarters that 'hippiedom' itself was a true form of 'Pop Art,' according to the exhibition.


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