"Europe Expands Your Curiosity"

photo: dinny, scoop, michelle, terri, steve, karen, berta, linda

The second 'Group Photo of the Week'
with no Crocodile Nigel.

On Beaujolais Nouveau 'Day of the Year'

Paris:- Thursday, 15. November 2001:- Crocodile Nigel, who is from Oz, skipped out of Paris when it was still fall and kind of warm. He headed south to Cahors and then went on to Barcelona. There, fancy took him to Ibiza, where fall was still happening.

He had the place to himself for a couple of days, but he waited too long to take the ferry over to Formentera. Winter rolled in from Africa, the rains came, and that was that.

All the same, arriving back in Paris, with its highs of five - about 42 degrees - has been a severe shock to his system. I keep telling him the lows aren't so low - aren't really below zero - but he says 'five' is Sydney's absolute low in the dead of winter.

So far he is handling Paris' highs without too much grumbling, mostly because he knows he is getting on a heated airplane soon, and will be in the southern hemisphere's spring in a couple of days.

All of this is very well, but back here in Paris we are having temperatures 'low for the time of the year' even if it isn't technically 'winter' yet, and the darn leaves are still on the trees.

I think the new greenies in the Hôtel de Ville are scrambling around the city in the dead of night, gluing the leaves onto trees. They aren't going to fall, ever. If you don't believe me, come and have a look.

To make a short story long, today's high of five seems to be higher, except for a persistent wind from the northwest - which is causing it to be a cool five during the day if you are standing in the wrong places.

At club time there are next to no people on the Quai du Louvre, and inside the club's substitutephoto: terri, steve flattem café, Le Lodi, Michelle Royston is guarding the club's area by camping on its hot radiator. She says it never gets as cold as it is here in Berkeley, which she makes sound like San Francisco's Côte d'Azur.

Terri and Steve Flattem, when asked, do not think Paris has particularly 'ugly dirt.'

New club members arrive. These are Terri and Steve Flattem from Burnsville, Minnesota. This suburb of Minneapolis becomes club's the 'City of the Week,' and not just because I have to verify these names with my atlas.

Neither Terri nor Steve notice anything unusual about the climate. They have been in Paris many times, and think Parisians are getting used to its weather too.

They wonder if they will keep the big wheel at Concorde like way they dithered so long about the Tour Eiffel, that it became too expensive to dismantle - on account of all the money it makes.

The club's secretary doesn't know, but the magazine's 'Ed' says the Min. of Cult. thinks the wheel is an eyesore, while Le Parisien keeps doing polls that show that the 'Parisians' they ask about it, think it is wonderful. I think most of these 'Parisians' live in Saint-Ouen.

Berta and Scoop Maginniss drop in to the club for a breather before tackling the Samaritaine for somephoto: interior lodi, towards terrace furniture for their new apartment. As I understand their situation, Berta is scanning the brochures and catalogues, while Scoop is trying to get his laptop to call up AOL-France, without much success.

The forecast calls for 'terrace weather' this coming weekend.

Karen Delaney, from Rochester, NY, arrives and it takes the club's secretary the longest time to remember this club member's name. Another club member, from Houston, TX, arrives and the club's secretary thinks she is Karen Delaney, but she is really Linda Gephart.

The club's area in Le Café Lodi has some acoustic problems, which get worse when Dinny Moyer arrives and wants to know where the 'streets are overflowing with wine' in Paris on account of it being Beaujolais Nouveau day.

While Steve refuses the 'Waitress of the Week's' offer of ice for his Coke - he wants it full to the top, and it is as cold as tap beer anyway - Linda decides to follow Dinny's example of getting bigger containers of Beaujolais Nouveau.

"It tastes better than last year's," Scoop says - without trying any - "Better than 2000!" he adds. He is in a grouchy mood on account of 'Internet deprivation.'

Right here I should mention that the club meeting isn't exactly like this, because the members keep switching tables to form little conversation groups - only to reform in new groups - and I am getting no photos.

Every time I try to do something about this, I step on Karen's knee. She keeps saying it is okay because she used to run 40 miles a day with it, which reminds Linda - I think - that driving around Iceland's edge is 2000 kilometres, and causes Steve to comment that Icelandair has four-motor jetplanes now, with very low fares from Minneapolis.

What happens - ah, I decide we should go outside for the week's group 'Photo of the Week.' This isphoto: beaujolais pot, beer taps acomplished after a fashion - the sun is blasting the shop-fronts while the streetside trees are casting great pillars of shadows, and more than half the photos have one-third or the other, in a totally dark zone.

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