'Five Buck Water'

photo: group, allan, ann, beth, marti, donna, bill, eva

Not the best 'Group Photo of the Week,' but the least
blurred one.

'Bird of the Week?'

Paris:- Thursday, 17. October 2002:- As if by magic last week's club 'report' appeared when it was supposed to. This week's will likely do the same even if my keyboard lost one of its handy functions about the time the telephone 'Joe' installed my new wire yesterday.

He didn't touch the keyboard of course. It merely saw no one was paying attention to it for a few minutes and decided to forget that it has 'magic' combo-keys that save unrolling menus for simple functions like blowing its nose.

So, tonight, to do this 'report' I want you to understand that I am tediously unrolling menus over and over and clicking on some of their standard items, one by lousy one.

For some reason for which I do not understand the connection, this is a good introduction to the weather. It rained yesterday. It has been raining off and on for most of today. According to tonight's TV-weather news, it is going to rain tomorrow.

It has not been raining steadily, but it has been raining enough to make it advisable to carry an umbrella or wear a hat, or all three. Temperatures are hovering around 14 degrees when they attain their peaks, but it doesn't seem this cold to me.

Saturday has sort of a sunny outlook, but Sunday does not. According to the TV-weather news dude, it is a few degrees colder than 'usual for the season,' and snow will be falling wherever it is above 1300 metres in the Massif Central and in the Alps. If you think you'll be in either of these places, be sure to wear chains.

This seems like an appropriate place in insert a timely public transport tip. If you intend coming tophoto: drinks of the week the club from the left bank via the métro line 4, its Cité station on the Ile de la Cité is closed for renovations and trains are not stopping in it. They do slow down so you can get a good look at nothing happening in the semi-darkness, but this doesn't rank as a 'thrill of the week.'

After all the café, some members switched to 'lots' of wine.

On emerging on the Rue de Rivoli, it looks like it usually does when it is wet. I take my semi-private centuries-old back-alley route to the café, and this looks like it usually does when it is wet too.

There are, frankly, not a lot of people milling around the Samaritaine department store or across the street, on the Pont Neuf. Nobody is sitting outside on any of the café terraces along the Quai du Louvre. It seems like Fall has advanced to its dismal low-point.

But at the café La Corona there are civilians in the 'Grande Salle,' almost in the club's place. There are others scattered about the room too. Fugitives from the humidity outside.

photo: orange card, ricI am busily writing the essential particulars in the members' booklet and preparing the 'reports' booklet for today's 'report' when I hear a purposeful tacka-tacka of heels approaching the club's area and before I can look up, Beth Sperry is sitting down and talking before she is safely installed.

Use old photos for the Orange Card if you want to stay young a long time.

She is a smart lady, getting in these initial words, because she is closely followed by member Eva Lee from Tranquility, New Jersey - and by new members Donna and Bill Lasker from Massachusetts. More exactly, they are from the 'City of the Week,' which is Worcester, which nobody can pronounce - or spell, if they can pronounce it.

"New Jersey has an undeserved bad reputation," Beth says, just to be saying something.

"Not undeserved," says Bill, who goes on to tell us that he forgets his one year of college French every two or three years. "But I get it back," he adds.

The club actually has a good number of members in good standing from New Jersey. But Eva, who is used to not saying anything about its 'undeserved bad reputation' because she lives in Tranquility, instead remembers that she has forgotten to make a sign saying 'Hallo Sally Dilgart!'

She says she wants to make an alternative 'Quote of the Week' but the secretary finds this impossible, because there has been no 'Quote of the Week' yet.

Donna has a Paris guide book she has borrowed from the apartment that the Laskers are renting. She is doubtful about some of its timely information, so she wants to have the exclusiveness of the unlimited Orange Card transport ticket clarified.

Contrary to what the guide book claims, Orange Cards can be used by visitors to Paris. Simply put, the RATP's ticket vendors don't bother to ask if purchasers of this handy weekly or monthly ticket are residents or not.

To use one you need an ID photo to put on the card, and you need to write the ID card's numberphoto: no photo orange card on the ticket. I demonstrate by hauling out my card and borrowing Beth's ticket. Looking at my card's photo, Donna says, "You never age."

Beth points out that she is truly ageless, because she has no photo on her card. Eva says some vending points don't even have the free card part to give out, but sell the tickets anyway. I warn all present that a ticket without its card number on it, is like no ticket at all - and the RATP doesn't treat ticketless riders with great respect.

Use no photo if you can get away with it.

This seriousness ends with the arrival of members Ann Warren and Allan Markowitz from Manhattan, along with Maricela Salinas from Santa Barbara, California - who says that she is supposed to be called, Marti.

Ann and Allan became members last November when meetings were being held at the Café Lodi while La Corona was being renovated, and they have member numbers about 100 less than Marti's new number of 419.

The trio were in Madrid, which they say was rainy and cold. If I overhear Donna and Bill correctly, they were on a Mediterranean cruise to see, as Bill says, "Piles of rocks," and they had a wonderful storm while at sea that many other passengers didn't care for.

I wonder about this. My times near the Mediterranean and in Madrid in October do not contain memories of fierce storms or rain or cold, but maybe that was in 'the old days,' which everyone knows were much better than today's days.

Bill sums it up as, "It was a year's worth strange experiences in one wek." Now that it is over, he and Donna are in a Paris apartment building with a tricky elevator, and if they are not careful they will end up at Château Rouge.

Continued on page 2...
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