It's Crummy Weather Season

photo: cafe terrace, ile saint louis

Sun on a deserted terrace, before clouds
joined the coolness.

The Laundromat Guy

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 19. November 2001:- There are sunny-looking photos in this issue because they were taken last week when it was sunny in Paris. It was not warm, but it was sunny.

Today, neither is the case. It is overcast, it is damp and it is cold. I think this means it is winter. TV-news has been showing certain types being very cheerful on mountains above a certain altitude. These people are the lift operators and they are cheerful because snow has arrived many weeks earlier than last year.

Overnight temperatures in Paris are supposed to rise from this morning's zero to about six above by Friday. Corresponding daytime 'high' levels are supposed to go up from today's six to 11 degrees. Not much sunshine is forecast for the near future.

All of this is very normal, and I can't think of anything funny to say about it. It is going to last for a couple of months too.

'Café Life' - Part I

My Laundromat's Fan

Familiarity doesn't always breed contempt, but after 30 months I am pretty used to the laundromat across the street. It is the first thing I see when I open my iron shutters and the last thing I see when I close them.

In winter, sometimes I don't bother to do either. On my 'weekend' on Tuesdays - take last week's for example - I finished the magazine so late - so early in the morning, I didn't know exactly what to do with the shutters. Open them, or sleep to five in the afternoon, leaving them closed all day.

But the outdoor marché on Tuesdays only goes to about 13:00, so I got up for that. To do this, I wasphoto: column, place vendome standing up, so I decided to do my washing before dark and in a fit of fancy, I decided to use machine number three instead of my old regular, machine number two.

Except for the machine change, it was routine. Until I went back to get the stuff out of the dryer. I was blearily piling the stuff together, when this tall guy comes in and started sniffing machine number two.

The Place Vendôme's column, pointed at a cool sky.

"This has crud in it," he said, and then he inspected machine number three's soap receptacle. From this he pulled some minor crud I had never seen before in my life, I swear.

I said, "There's about a dozen other machines you can use," using a free hand to gesture at the shoddy featureless landscape of the empty laundromat.

"Yes, I know," he said, adding, "But this set of three are my favorites." I didn't tell him I had just finished using machine number three, which he decided to use.

"These are the best machines in the place," he said. I thought they were 'good' because they are closest to the dryers - otherwise they are the same as all of the other machines in the place.

"Do you come here often?" I asked.

"Oh yes! I used to live near here, so I guess I've been using this laundromat for six years at least," he said.

"Oh? Where do you live now?"

"Near the Bon Marché," he replied.

How can I put it? The Bon Marché is about two kilometres away from my laundromat across my street, and there must be about 379 others laundromats between here and there.

The way this guy talked, he practically lived in this laundromat. He said he knew the Portuguese cleaning lady. "She opens it in the morning and closes it at night. But the owners have changed and they don't pay as much, so she doesn't care anymore," shaking his head at the thought of declining standards and increasing cruddiness.

He too, knew that the machines are old. Spare parts are hard to find for them. His favorite dryer is the number 22, but it is falling apart. "Sometimes you can get a free 'dry' out of it," he said.

He measured the water softener into the machine with an eyedropper. "You know," he said, "I don't think these machines even use hot water."

I disagreed with him, but he pointed out that the round front windows never even feel warm. "You can select any temperature you want, but the water is always cold," he said.

After I put the coins in the remote cash machine, I always listen for the sound of the water starting to gush into the machine I'm using. It has never occurred to me to hang around and see if it gets hot.

But, hey! This guy, so fussy about clean machines, didn't seen to care that they washed with cold water. I wanted to ask him about this detail, but I had everything folded and thought I had enough of my laundromat for the week. We shook hands and I left him, while he turned to help a lady with a big bundle of washing select a suitable, uncruddy machine.

The Rest of Café Life

For various reasons, this issue has no feature article. One of these reasons has been an excessive amount of 'Café Life' during the week.

If, for some reason, you have been wondering where to find the follow-up to the Buffalo Grass saga, you should hit this link to 'Café Life' - Part II. This page can also be accessed from the contents page of this issue.

Good intentions to provide full photo documentation of the Buffalo Grass saga came to nought, so most of the photos in this issue are misplaced 'good intentions.' And, despite the best of intentions, there is no photo of the 'Fiat 500 of the Week.' Please accept the image of a 1940 Chrysler 'yellow cab' below, as a substitute.

On the 'Network'

Nobody wrote during the past week to complain about a lack of a visible Metropole on the Web. This might be because readers got tired of doing it.

On the whole, getting the issue online has worked pretty well. The only hitch seemed to be the reluctance of the 'past issues' index for this year to be 'found.' Eventually it 'found' itself, I think.

For those who tried to access last week's club 'report' from the contents page, there was hitch, and it was my fault. I left a vital number out of the access-link code. I don't remember whether this was due to having my glasses on or off because sometimes I forget to look through them even if they are 'on.'

Café Metropole Club 'Updates'

You can catch up with last week's club subjects - about the 'Beaujolais Nouveau Day of the Year' for example - by reading this meeting's digest of a 'report.'

Before you stop reading now because you think you've read this before - there is some more 'new' news too, and it may concern you. See 'Location Alert II' below.

Meanwhile, the coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 22. November, but not at the café La Corona. See the 'Change -Location Alert I' below. See it again even if you've read it before.

Next Thursday will not be just another ordinary Thursday-type day called Sainte-Cécilephoto: sign bricolo cafe, bhv because it is the fourth Thursday in November, which also means that it will be 'Thanksgiving Day' in the USA part of the world.

Sign for the 'Bricolo Café, mentioned in Part II.

Metropole readers and those wishing to become club members can learn oodles more about this free club by looking at the 'About the Club' page which explains how to join it, its meeting time and so on, and other true facts such as being free. This page also contains a location map for the club's regular café, La Corona, which is in temporary suspension.

Café Metropole Club Change-Location Alert I

The coming meeting, on Thursday, 22. November, will be held at Le Café Lodi. Other weekly club meetings will be held at this café on the Thursdays of 29. November and are projected for the 6. and 13. December too.

Last week, Madame Naudan of the club's regular café told the club's secretary that La Corona may have its renovations completed ahead of time due to a change in its staircase plans. While 6. December may be cutting it fine, expect the club meeting on 13. December to be in La Corona.

Le Café Lodi is located at 24. Quai du Louvre. It is about 60 metres away from La Corona, towards the Pont Neuf, next to the pet shop. See the map on the special club page in a recent issue or take a look at last week's club 'report,' which also contains a map showing the location of Le Café Lodi.

La Corona's renovation is now scheduled to be completed earlier than Friday, 14. December. Watch this space for the latest news about the club's next meeting in its 'home' café.

Café Metropole Club Change-Location Alert II

Right after the club's coming meeting in the Café La Corona on Thursday, 20. December, the club's secretary is going to fly from Paris across the Atlantic Ocean to New York City.

The purpose of this transatlantic flight is to hold a club meeting in Manhattan on Thursday, 27. December.

All members, from anywhere, are invited to this meeting. And, of course, all readers who have found attending meetings in order to become members in Paris, inconvenient, are invited to come and sign the members' booklet too.

Today, the actual location of the meeting place in Manhattan is unknown. To nail this down, I will be relying on club members and readers to make suggestions for a suitable location, andphoto: billboard on hotel de ville an appropriate time for the meeting to be held.

The other purpose of this change of venue is to produce a 'Paris In New York' issue of Metropole Paris. All suggestions furthering this purpose will be welcome as well.

Paris' Hôtel de Ville now supports billboards, advertising city events.

If all goes well - I may have to use a PC! - with hidden or no French accent keys! - the New York meeting's 'report' will go online as usual, on the same day in certain selected time zones, mostly to the west of New York City.

The 'Paris In New York' features will appear in Metropole's issue 7.01/02, which is expected to be put online on Monday, 7. January 2002.

This project will be another 'first' for your online magazine about Paris. To make it a major 'first' I am relying on you, both readers of the magazine, and members of the Café Metropole Club. I am looking forward to seeing you in New York City.

Metropole's Affiliates

The following product or service providers have chosen Metropole because their offers may be of value to you and I agree with them.

'Bookings' has a reservation service for a wide selection of Paris hotels. Check out their offers and make your choice long before your arrival in France. Or, if all the other hotel booking services are 'sold out,' try this one. Other Metropole readers have.

'HighwayToHealth' provides a 'city health profile' as well as travel insurance for potential Paris visitors. If you've signed up for these services before you need them suddenly you will benefit from them. I hope won't be the case, but 'Things Happen.'

'Petanque America' imports quality Obut boules from France and will ship them to you anywhere in the Americas - which will save you the effort of carrying them all the way from Paris. Be the first on your block to introduce the game of pétanque - or boules. Nearly everybody can play this game, nearly anywhere, nearly anytime.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago, Again:

Issue 5.46/7 - 13. Nov 2000 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled, ''Ed' Does a Bunk' and the 'Au Bistro' news column was titled, 'Where's the Beef?' This double issue had two features, titled 'The Prince of Montparnasse' and 'Two Photo Exhibits.' Paul Babbitt sent an email concerning the election in the United States. The update for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 16. November turned out to be the 'Meat of the Week' Report. The second update on 23. November had the catchphrase, 'Vachement Cool!' The week's 'Scene' column was titled 'Besides Photos, Otherphoto: sign, bibliotheque pour tous Stuff.' There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Are You Blind?'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 4.47 - 22. Nov. 1999 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled 'We Gain Readers.' The 'Au Bistro' column was titled 'Speleologists Rescued.' Speleo what? This issue had one lone feature, titled 'Artist's Open Doors On a Freezing Day.' An email from Paul Babbit was answered with 'What To Wear In Winter.' Or, maybe this was the question. The Café Metropole Club's weekly blurb was called the 'City of the Week Program' and this was followed up by the club's 7th 'report,' which was summed up with 'More Odd Questions.' There were two 'Scene' columns, titled 'A 'New Look' and 'Christmas '99 and '2000.' The four 'Posters of the Week' appeared as usual and Ric's Cartoon of the Week had the racy caption of 'Roller King.'

The 'Count-Down' - Euro-day Minus Seven Weeks

There are 42 days remaining in this year. This means there is less and less time remaining until the 'euro' currency introduction day on Tuesday, 1. January 2002 at 00:01.

In France, for the remainder of this year you can safely use whatever good money you have, after it has been changed into francs, which may be real ones. If real and new - or extra old - these notes and coins may become collector's items.

Beginning at midnight on Sunday, 17. February, the euro will be the sole currency in circulation inphoto: model, yellow taxi France, and 11 other European countries. This allows for seven weeks from the beginning of the year for users to get rid of francs and get used to dealing with euros.

Between the start of the year and 17. February, francs can be exchanged at any bank for euros. The exchange rate is fixed at 6.55957 francs for one euro. After 17. February, francs can be exchanged for euros at any branch of the Banque de France.

The euro will also be in use offshore, in Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Réunion, St-Pierre-et-Miquelon, and Mayotte, in the Indian Ocean island group of the Comoros.

Until then, if you have some curious wish to learn more about the new European-style money, take a look at the French government's 'Euro' Web site for whatever it has to say about the arrival of the euro somewhat less than only two months from now.
signature, regards, ric

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