Who Could Have Guessed...

photo: l->r, robin, willy, mary, bill, debbie, elizabeth, max, doug

As much as this may look like last week's 'Group Photo of
the Week,' it is this week's 'Group Photo of the Week.'

...That 'Cacolac' Would be the 'Drink of
the Week?'

Paris:- Thursday, 19. July 2001:- Nearly everybody who was talking about the weather that was not especially friendly to Bastille Day party people, has left town in disgust. This has left only the people who are still in town and who are just as disgusted.

Both Le Parisien and the TV-news people are telling Parisian viewers and readers that they almost have reason to be proud that this year's weather is well on its way to setting a new record for rottenness, which was recently set by 2000.

This enlightening news has even reached some people on holidays out west who were hammered by a storm over the weekend. In disgust some of them have decided to brave the elements in their own Paris apartments instead of in flapping tents.

Despite all this, I decide that it is safe enough to walk to the club today. Willy and Max, who are visiting me for a week from an island in the North Atlantic, care not a fig. They think Paris is having a heat wave compared to where they come from.

They try to step on all the pigeons they can while we going through the Luxembourg, until I tell themphoto: frites, food of the week they are the Senat's personal birds. At the Boulevard Saint-Germain they ask, "Are we there yet?"

Featured for the first time - La Corona's 'frites of the week,' with colorful but optional catsup.

The Buci corner looks different so they ask the same question. I tell them we are two-thirds of the way. When we get to the Pont Neuf Max says he remembers it because he was on a boat that went under it once upon a time.

Beside Samaritaine Willy spots the best 'Fiat 500 of the Week' I have ever seen. Because I am on holidays, it is the only 'best' 'Fiat 500 of the Week' that will not appear in Metropole - it will be like the huge fish 'that got away.'

Since it is not pouring buckets when we get to La Corona, there are not many civilians in the 'grande salle.' After such a walk, the two excursionists deserve the 'frites of the week' - which cost three francs extra with two cents' worth of catsup. Salt and pepper are free.

In a fit of wild abandon, Willy even tries mustard on one chip. He decides it is 'disgusting' after eating half of it, but not as disgusting as the liver and onions served on the plane coming over.

Just about the time I am beginning to wish I'd brought some cards so we could have a hand of poker or two, Mary Rudolph shows up from Washington, DC. She says she has been sent by Berta Maginniss.

Roberta Morris, who joined the club last week, arrives 10 minutes later - followed by Doug Fuss, who Mary has come to meet on account of Berta. As the small world of club membership gets bigger, it gets a 'its-a-small- world' feeling through non-present members sending in new members to talk to old members who are present.

"What can I have fast?" Roberta wants to know. She has been up until 02:00 and it has made her powerfully hungry. She also chooses 'Cacolac' as a beverage - at club 'first' - easily qualifying it for 'Drink of the Week.'

photo: mary rudolph Doug Fuss wants to put up Saint-Ouen as the 'Un-city of the Week' because it is not easy to find parts for antique vacuum cleaners there. This is actually 'Part Two' of his personal vacuum cleaner saga - which began in Paris last week.

The club has never had an 'Un-city' before, and since no members actually come from there, the secretary sees no real popular demand for this new distinction, and votes it into oblivion without calling for a vote on it.

"I don't drink cola, not in real life, and not here either," says Mary Rudolph.

After a whole 50 minutes of 'club life' today last week's new members Debbie and Elizabeth Foster breeze in. "We're all shopped out!" Debbie exclaims.

While I am thinking of asking whether they've left anything for other summer sales shoppers, Debbie asks Willy how long he's been here.

"Since the beginning of the meeting," he politely replies - just about when somebody asks about the opening times of the Catacombs.

This, I have heard on radio France-Inf - or think I have - is now 9:00. New electricity has been installed in Paris' underground but visitable boneyard, so the opening hours have been lengthened on account of the five months people have been waiting to get in to see it.


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