"See? There's Nothing To It!"

photo: priscilla garcia, sign hello bob & edna, corona terrace

Priscilla Garcia, holding the 'Hello from Edna and Bob'
sign on the Corona's terrace.

Another Double-Meeting 'Report'

Paris:- Thursday, 10. January 2002:- It has turned out to be somewhat warmer than Monday's forecast for the week suggested, and the 'partly cloudy' part has been partly a no-show. Therefore I start off for today's meeting without my usual cap - feeling light-headed.

But not so much so that I stay on the Rue de Rivoli for the regulation distance. It is properly clogged with Winter Sales shoppers and they all seem to have tunnel-vision and over-sized elbows.

To get leveled, I check out the parrots in the back of the petshop that faces the alley-like Rue Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois, but they all ignore me. Sunny light floods the Pont Neuf as I pass it, and most shoppers are inside Samaritaine rather than lounging around outside it.

The entire length of café terraces onphoto: new menu, corona the Quai du Louvre is empty of sun-bathers, and so is Le Café Lodi when I stop in to say hello. Intensive shopping can be bad for some businesses.

At La Corona, the New Years' and other greets are passed all around. The club's café is wide open for business and it looks fine, even though there are still some cosmetic renovations still to come.

A couple of civilians are sitting in the club's reserved area so I go outside to catch a sunny photo of the terrace. While I'm doing this a lady steps out of the quay-side door, holding a sign saying, 'Hello from Edna and Bob Bradley.'

The Corona's new menu 'look' with its new 'euro' prices.

I know this lady - she IS a club member! - but the sign confuses the dickens out of me, because I can remember the Bradleys as being club members too.

Total confusion is a perfect way to start a club meeting, but I decide to get rid of it quickly by asking Priscilla Garcia who she is.

She doesn't mind answering at all and this makes the puzzle pieces come together with the club meeting on Thursday, 24. May 2001, when she joined the club along with Ray Garcia.

We pretty much have the café to ourselves after the last of the luncheoners clear out. The winter's low sun is blazing in, the heating is on, it is comfortable - and Priscilla keeps getting blinded, and we keep edging in and out of a constantly moving narrow shadow thrown inside by one of the window frames.

Priscilla has been living in Paris for about two years - and not seeming to miss California too much. But there are still some thing that puzzle her about Paris.

For example - 'Why is it necessary to jump out of the way of motorcycles charging down the sidewalks?'

The answer to this is relatively simple - some of these motorcycles are very big and powerful. Why their drivers can't go around the block to avoid going the wrong way on a one-way street is a mystery though.

Since I have picked up a lot of New York lore since the last meeting, I tell Priscilla that unnecessary honking there can cost a $350 fine, but everybody does it with gay abandon.

Not only this, all police cars, ambulances and fire trucks are equipped by 'Star-Wars' warning devices, that make foreign people like me want to lie flat on the sidewalk and cover my head. Priscilla says California is very backward in this department.

Another thing she wonders about is why there are different length lines at cashiers in department stores that arephoto: 2 empty cafes having Winter Sales. I don't know the reason for this, but I suggest that she avoid the '10-items-or-less' so-called 'express' lines because everybody thinks they are faster.

Two Paris-sized thimbles, which held about $8-worth of café before being emptied.

She says her supermarket unfairly switched the 'delivery' checkout to another cashier without warning her, and let her stand in the wrong line for two hours before telling her she was in the wrong line.

The next thing she wants to know about is the 'Galette des Rois.' Specifically, she wants to know why she got a 'good' one from a department store and a 'bad' one from another department in the same store.

These went on sale throughout France last Sunday on account of Sainte-Epiphanie. The 'galettes' are a sort of flaky pie containing gobs of butter, some almond paste and a 'fève.' The lucky person who breaks a tooth on one of these - there is only one per 'galette' - gets to wear the 'crown.'

Sainte-Epiphanie is also on the day I believe Russians celebrate as Christmas. For this and other reasons, I do not know all of lore surrounding the custom, and tend to agree with Priscilla that the best of these 'galettes' may be found in bakeries.

Since we are lacking other members this week, we decide that Priscilla should be 'Member of the Week' - and this may possibly for a 'first' - of which there will be few today.

But I am wrong because when Patrick - today's 'Waiter of the Week' of course - brings a tiny slip of paper that suggests I pay 4.40euro 3 sign for my double-espresso, I think this is truly a 'first' - although it is not a great deal more than the New York price.

Priscilla says she has to leave 'early' - I suspect to try out the Samaritaine's 'Galette des Rois' - but she only does so at about 16:45.

This gives Patrick the opportunity to give me today's 'euro' lesson. This mainly consists of saying my fistful of change is worth next-to-nothing and I should give him a 20euro 3 sign note instead.

I think I have a 10euro 3 sign note,photo: priscilla garcia but I think the 20 is a challenge Patrick prefers, so I let him do it. First, he says, "Give me a 50 cent piece," and then he turns his back so I can't see what sort of slight-of-hand is going on.

Temporarily out of the low sun's blazing rays - Priscilla Garcia.

Then he dumps a wad of notes and coins in my hand, saying, "See? There's nothing to it!"

The only thing 'to it' - he's had a week's more practice than I have, and he can practice with it all day long.

To calm me down he tells me La Corona is the best job he's ever had in twenty years in the business. As the cashier's ticket says, Patrick is the Corona's number one waiter besides being the 'Waiter of the Week' quite often.

Continued on page 2...
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