Only At This Club

photo: group l->r, dennis, eva, alena, dinny, michael

Today's 'Band of Five' - Dennis, Eva, Dinny, Alena and Michael.

Dinny Moyer Meets Dennis Moyer

Paris:- Thursday, 13. December 2001:- Our usual 'Azores High' has taken some time off, possibly to have a holiday in South America, and the northwest's Greenland and Iceland areas are temporarily out-of-order, so the rest of this week's weather is being brought to us courtesy of the weather folks in Moscow.

No doubt this is great news for fresh-air fans. For residents and visitors to Paris, the coming days will display some bright blue skies and nothing as a temperature. That's right - nothing, null, zero - will be the 'highs.'

To cope with this I suggest dressing warmly but loosely, and be sure to have an métro daily pass ticket or Orange Card handy. This will enable an order of march along the following lines - walk between two métro stations, and then ride the métro to the next one.

If the outside air seems extra bitter, don't hesitate to ride the métro for two whole stations before being brisk on the street again.

Under grey skies that are not holding any heat near the ground, I get through the hordes of out-of-town Christmas shoppers on the Rue de Rivoli and go out of my way to go past La Corona, to see how it is doing.

The owner, Monsieur Naudan, spots me peering in, and we do a quick tour of a totally unfinishedphoto: club food? construction site. He wants me to see the shambles of the new refrigeration downstairs too, but it is clubtime again. Nevertheless, he assures me La Corona will be ready for next week's club meeting.

Whatever the substantial 'Food of the Week' was, it didn't last long.

At Le Café Lodi, I stop at the bar to moan about the weather with the club's petite waitress, Alexandra. As I am doing this Michael Curtis introduces himself as a new member from Saint Louis, Missouri and I invite him up to the club's slightly raised area in the rear of the café, and offer him the chair closest to the radiator.

Which he wisely takes. But it is only a minute or two later that Dinny Moyer arrives - without any motorcycle lid - and she is closely followed by Eva Lee from Tranquility.

Alena from Prague, who knows all about sitting close to radiators, arrives soon after and Michael moves over, but not that far away from the source of heat.

Eva says she has been to the American Express bank near the Opéra. There, she says, they will issue traveller's cheques in euros in exchange for francs until 31. December - and at the official rate.

It must be because of the weather and the relative warmth of the café, but everybody is quite jolly - although at first the tables seem to be hosting a collection of water containers.

Eva talks everybody except the club's secretary - who is in the office writing this instead - into going to a jolly self-service place called the 'cave of bone-marrow' for dinner.

This causes Dinny to happily order a pot of white wine, and somebody notices an orphaned glass of red, that Michaelphoto: balloon of calva ordered to go with his 'Food of the Week' because he thought it was white. When it turned out not to be yellow, he orphaned it.

There is a fair amount of talk about euros - about how old banks with their vaults on the second floor are having them cave in due to the double-weight of two kinds of coins.

Dennis is working his way through all of France's traditional drinks. 'Calva' is a current favorite of his.

Then Dinny tells us about some animals she saw in Nebraska - "The state that takes days to get out of, and when you're out of it, it looks the same!" - but this farm talk is slightly beyond of the Paris frame of reference, and besides kids read these 'reports.'

Everybody agrees that Nebraska is like this, but nobody can say where it is for certain. Mostly, they can pinpoint where it is not. It is not in Montana for example.

About this time Dennis Moyer turns up to become a member. For the first time in the history of the club, two members who are not related to each other or anybody else at the meeting, have nearly the same names - which are pronounced the same in French.

However, Michael takes our minds off this curiosity of a 'first' by telling us about Missouri voters electing a dead senator - with his wife acting as living stand-in.

Isn't there a saying, that if it happened in Missouri, then it must be true? But at the meeting I forget to ask this because Dennis has been Christmas shopping, and decides to show us his wonderful 'finds.'

He shows us the finger puppets he got, while mentioning all the circuses he's seen lately. He has a smallphoto: bird peeper, dennis wooden trumpet-like bird tweeter too, but isn't sure which bird it is supposed to sound like. He has a crank-operated music box, which plays the 'March of the Flowers,' from, he says, "The Nutcracker."

"Poot!" 'What bird does this sound like?'

But the absolute marvel is the genuine blinking-light belly-button 'plug.' "You glue it in, I think," he says. All of this stuff come from the toy shops in the Passage Jouffroy, just off the Boulevard Montmartre.

After this illuminated 'nombril' gizmo, I find I can take no further notes. The meeting's time is up anyway, so we all troop out, bundled up to the ears, and idle our way along Amiral de Coligny to a joint called the 'Fumoir' - which turns out to be reasonably full of smoke and some real hard-core cocktails.

When these are finished and the gasps over the tab for them dies away, the remaining club members aim themselves towards the bone-marrow cave - and whatever further adventures are available in that part of the chilly 15th arrondissement.

Saturday is 'Euro' Day

This coming Saturday - the day after tomorrow, or tomorrow even - banks in France will be selling demo packets of brand-new euro 3 signuros for the first time in the history of the planet.

I am pretty sure these will cost 100 francs, which will give you 15.24euro 3 sign in Europe's new currency. This seems like a reasonable price for a valuable souvenir, unless it is 100euro 3 sign - which will set you back 655.95 francs.

Just remember one thing - if you spend any euros before 1. January, your change will be in francs, which will put you back where you started from.

Kee In Mind - Paris' 2002 Winter Sales - Will Be In Euros
Continued on page 2...
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