...Continued from page 1

Anyway, Tom tells me he has been in Paris before. He's here this time because he got up one morning in Birch Bay a week ago and heard a radio commercial or saw an announcement on the Web, for a one-day special on round trips to Paris for $249.

"I couldn't not go," he says. I guess if they had deals like this here, half the Parisians would be in Rio this minute.

Instead the French airline Air Lib went belly up today, and 3000 of its employees are going to be out on the street soon. Not to mention thousands of passengers with tickets who aren't going anywhere today either. The radio was saying the planes are 'nailed to the ground.'

But Tom isn't interested in this. He wants to know where 18th century Paris is so he can photograph it. It is not easy within the space of a club meeting to explain that 18th century Paris is thoroughly intertwined with the 19th century, the 17th century, the 16th century - right on down to the zeroth century. Where to begin?

But my secretary's neck is doubled-saved by the arrival of Don Smith, who nominally lives in Seattle, and has never heard of Birch Bay, even though it can't be more than 90 miles away. Most people I ever met in Seattle were pretty vague about Canada's exact location too.

Don's little specialty is taking people on photo-tours. He knows where to go to get photos 'off the beaten paths' that don't look like postcards. In addition to this, he can explain how a camera works.

Don also recommends the Musée d'Orsay's new photo exhibition space, which has shows of somephoto: simple, double cafes very interesting early Paris photos from its own vast collection. Don mentions one shot he has seen, taken of revolutionary barricades in 1848.

Shown for first time - the difference between a 'double' and a simple, or thimble of café.

Member Anita Bennett arrives, after I have ordered my double-jolt and Don has ordered a simple café. Not that anybody has to explain why they are fashionably late - not in Paris - Anita still tells us she was hung up playing 'Alchemy' and decided to come to the club to escape from it.

If the club had an award for the 'Excuse of the Week' this one would probably get it, but the club doesn't have an award like this because it doesn't have any rules. I don't think this qualifies for an 'exception' either.

Three members make a quorum for a 'Group Photo of the Week' and since the low sun is washing the café's front with faintly warm light we do it on the Quai du Louvre terrace. Nobody wants to do any Mardi Gras steps, even though it is the time of year for them because Chinese New Year is nearly over.

Don tells Tom about a free entry this evening at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie near Saint-Paul, which is also near a 16th century alley I've told him about.

This might be the same alley that he was in where some woman pretended to find a huge solid gold ring lying on the roadway and seemed to offer to sell it to him. He declined this one-day special offer he says.

Getting back to the members' booklet, I ask Tom where he lived before he moved to Birch Bay. He says he travelled around the United States in a van for four years. This is a good answer, but I still harass him until he tells me that he started out in life in Eugene, Oregon.

When I tell him the server-lady, Linda Thalman, will be thrilled to read this - Tom says he really does intend to read a bit of Metropole Paris, if he can find the time to do it.

Paris' Winter Sales Start Date

The 'Soldes d'Eté' this coming summer will precede next winter's 'Soldes d'Hiver' by about six months. If you cannot wait, it is possible that 'Soldes d'Eté' may be happening in Australia just about now.

Repeat Call for Your Favorite Restaurants

The 'Call for Restaurants' is receiving a good response, but if you haven't sent yours in yet, please do so before 2005. If you do not know what this is about, do not look at last week's club 'report' because there is a horrible typo in last week's version of this paragraph.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

If you think you want to become a member of this club it might be a good idea to read thephoto: pitie pour nos bronches 'About the Café Metropole Club' page. It explains a bit about the club, like about it being free. You can learn other things from this page too, but not too much.

A rare and obscure café La Corona artifact - a plea from the staff concerning their health.

Skip this 'About' page if you want to. But the club's secretary doesn't have it memorized, so it's not much use asking him for details. All you need know is that you can become a member of this online magazine's live, free and real club by simply being at one of its meetings in Paris.

There are already about 440 members after 171 meetings, and more club 'lore' has been forgotten than ever existed. Luckily it is all to be found in past club 'reports' if you are willing to plough through them all.

What, Why Not, Who, When, Where, How?

This club's meetings begin - mostly promptly - in Paris at 15:00 on Thursdays and continue until 17:00, inphoto: club is here, pont des arts Europe's Central European Time Zone - which is 'CET' for short and not 'iBOM' - and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm in other worldwide areas, even though club meetings are usually only held in Paris.

Come equipped with your own new 'Quote of the Week' or mention your hometown as a possible 'City of the Week' or fabricate any other 'Things of the Week.' New true 'firsts' will be exceedingly welcome too, with 'first' usually having preference over 'true.'

An unmistakable pointer to the club's café La Corona on the right bank.

'No-names' is an option you can also opt-in for if you prefer to be 'not found' on the Internet, or 'out-opted.' 'No rules' have creased being an 'exception.' They are not a 'rule' either anymore. There are some other 'exceptions' so it pays to keep on your toes, maybe.

What you have to say may be truly appreciated by the other members present, and there almost always are some, and if they are listening which they do sometimes - and by all readers of this online magazine, if you ever read this - if it should happen to be written here, as happens sometimes, surrealistic or not.

The café's location is:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny - or - 30. Quai du Louvre
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre-Rivoli, Pont-Neuf or Châtelet.
Every Thursday from 15:00 to 17:00.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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