Wonderful Weather Is Not Here

photo: cafe l'ambassade

Beat the glooms in any handy café.

Everything Else Is

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 14. January 2002:- If you are a fine weather fan I do not want to spoil your week because you may have wonderful weather where you are, unless you are in or intend to be in Paris.

If you are in Paris or intend to be, fine weather is not something that should be extraordinarily high on your 'wish-list.' In January we have the middle of winter here in these regions. This means it will be grey with low clouds and it will feel damp even if it is not exceptionally cold.

This is partly the reason for having the winter sales now. All shops have to be open no matter what the weather is like and so long as they are open, they may as well be selling stuff.

But if shopping is not your favorite activity, there are plenty of other warm and dry places to pass the days here, and some of them are in cafés.

If cafés are not places where you would care to spend a day, there are also dozens of museums, galeries, libraries and other culturally-uplifting places that are also well-lit and heated.

If none of the above appeals to you, there are some theatres and cinemas too, and many of these have plays or movies that you probably have not seen before. Both of these types of places may be a bit dark, but they are heated as well.

I could go on like this for a long time - and I probably will, for months - but I do not want you to mistakenly think that Paris' beaches are open or that it is waterskiing season on the Seine.

It could be several months before the weather permits these pleasures, so you should know that there are plenty of other things to do - without me actually having to tell you exactly what the weather is like right now.

Who cares? It is not snowing, and this is the main thing. Of course if you are planning on a winter sports holiday in Paris, you will be coming to the wrong place.

Generally speaking, Paris is always the wrong place for winter sports. I am as sorry about this as you probably are, but there it is. You, we, Parisians, me - can't have everything.

'Café Life'

'Bollywood' Chez Moi

No sooner do I write all sorts of facts and lore about the New York borough of Queen's famous Bollywood, than I open my window shades to see my gloriously boring street view blotted out by a ultra-black film-production truck.

The night before at my end of the street, I thought all the parking spaces had been blocked off for some new large-scale building cleaning operation, but this fear was premature.

At the café Dimitri said they were filming on Daguerre and the Rue Boulard - with many American 'stars' - who are they anyway? - "Nobody looked like Bruce Willis," - before he continued his grumble about the euro and its 'facelessness.'

It looked like a snack table had been set up last Wednesday in front of the coin laundry - no doubt by 'Ritz Film Catering' - so I went over and did my nosy reporter act.

I learned that the film's title is 'Cravat Club' - an entirely French production, with no Bruce Willis inphoto: film buffet, cravat club it at all. Wednesday's shoot, requiring four trucks, a wardrobe bus, a generator and the picnic table - was for the final day's exterior scenes, according to the film's assistant director, Jerôme Dassier.

Jerôme Dassier trys out 'Bollywood' catering, Paris style.

He invited me to come back for the wrap-up shoot at 16:00, but after going to the Paris Tourist Office for events futures, shooting Concorde's about-to-disappear big wheel, and 'testing' the first day of the fabulous winter sales, all I got to see was the wardrobe bus chugging out of the street just after sundown, going the wrong way.

I learned two things from this episode. Paris' winter sales did not have the coat I should have bought at Queens Mall when I had the chance, and I have not thought up a French equivalent for 'Bollywood' yet.

'Buffalo Grass' - Part 22

Both Dimitri and Dennis were in the Bouquet café the other evening and I was glad to see them because I thought they would be thrilled by the effort I had put in, in Brooklyn's Brighton Beach neighborhood, to find buffalo grass.

But it didn't turn out this way. Dennis had a 'cat-that-has-eaten-the- delicious-canary' look and Dimitri was peering into a plastic sack that contained another plastic sack of - of buffalo grass.

According to Dennis - Dennis with his 'top this' smirk - Oleg was dismayed at the reaction here to the Russian herbal tea he inadvertently sent from Kiev for flavoring vodka, so he went to Kiev's open-air market and finally ended up at the only stall with buffalo grass for sale.

Some bunches of this were being closely examined by Dimitri. He let me have a smell, and I can say that it was certainly buffalo grass, no doubt about it.

No immediate plans have been made yet for the next flavored-vodka party because the arrival of the real buffalo grass has been so unexpected. But I haven't seen them for a couple of days, so it is possible that they have already flavored some flavorless vodka, and used up all the grass.

I hope not. Because my 'surprise' has been to come back from New York with a three-page description of it, written by Richard L. Duble, who is a turfgrass specialist with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service.

In the paper he says Buffalograss is great for lawns in certain parts of Texas. I wonder how many Texans have flavored their vodka with lawn cuttings, but he doesn't mention anything about this.

In Russian it is called 'Perovskia,' or 'Russian Sage' if you are not familiar with Russian. If the boys in the Bouquet are not too impatient, mayb we can co-produce a Buffalograss party with the rites of spring, if there is any spring.

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