Chocolate Frogs?

photo: group, eve, eva, jim, marilee, dinny, anita

Three new members, three already members and one 'BonJour Sally!' member in Chicago.

Well Sure, But Where Are They?

Paris:- Thursday, 13. February 2003:- Little did I realize when I made the non-prediction of the week on Monday that I was about to be laid low by a stray bug that was working its evil ways on my system even as I wrote, and it did not wait a long time to make its presence known.

In short, I have a code in 'z nodz. It is better today after being a bit violent, but the outside temperature has fallen off a lot and I could feel it getting through all my coat, gloves, scarf, hat, socks, t-shirt, shoes and - well, this morning it was 'fresh' all over, a bit like it was in New York a month ago.

Tomorrow, a bit colder is planned and then it should go up gradually, a degree at a time, to maybe reach a high of four next Sunday. Between now and then I should be out and aboutphoto: glasses, bottle, colors taking the photos for the coming issue and I am kind of hoping I will be able to do it within about 500 metres of homeplate.

The good news is that two little radiators in my apartment keep it pretty cozy all the time. When I get out on the street it surprises me how cool it is, especially if there is a breeze.

Keeping the breeze in mind, I change my trajectory towards the métro and head for the entry at Raspail, because I get a wind-break by taking the road that splits the cemetery in two and I don't come out of the shadow of it until I have to take the corner at Edgar Quinet.

Underground in the métro there is no breeze. The thing bats along from stop to stop, skipping Saint-Michel, and brings me to Châtelet with a minimum of fuss. The métro's exit on Rivoli is sucking in a hurricane of frigid air and I crunch upwards through it as quick as I can.

On the surface I take my back alleys, right, left, right, left and then right on the Quai de la Mégisserie. I have to wait for the light at Rue de la Pont-Neuf. Luckily it never takes long and I cross it as quick as ever so I don't get run over.

Further on I cruise the newspaper kiosk to get as many poster shots as possible - without actually stopping to aim good - because every one I get now is one less to look for next Saturday or Sunday. The score is not brilliant, with only one good one out of three. The poster further along by the café La Corona is a dud because I got it already in front of Samaritaine. In either place it is a dud anyway.

In La Corona there is a lady civilian complaining very loudly about the price of a half-litre of Dutch beer, to the café lady who runs the tabac sales. I notice the upset customer has not forgotten to drink two-thirds of it first.

Young Monsieur Naudan tells me I've had a phone call. As he explains the details of it, it sounds pretty complicated. He says the lady will phone again, so I forget it. I'll handle it if and when it happens.

These diversions eat up my advance time of arrival, but it doesn't matter because no one is here before me today. Maybe I'll get to read a bit of the paper I've gotten from Monsieur Naudan.

If this ever happens it'll be a foggy Thursday. It has turned 15:00 and Jim from New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, is introducing himself to me. I explain the drill - not rules! - and luckily Marilee McClintock arrives - from Agadir, Morocco - so I don't have to do it twice.

Jim has opted for 'no names' in case you are wondering why his family name isn't here. I think he has 'opted' for this simply because it is an option. Jim tells me he comes to Paris often.

Some club members have told me that they don't bother telling their neighbors that they are coming to Paris. For the first one or two visits they do, but after that the neighbors want to know why they keep coming back here, without really wanting to listen to any reasons.

Marilee solved this problem by joining the Peace Corps. She says older people can do this and are really welcome. The Peace Corps is operating in 77 countries these days.

Depending on age and ability, new recruits are given a choice of countries, and then they have to go through an in-country training period. "They really try to make you quit during training," she says.

She won Agadir, and stayed on after her two year Peace Corps tour. "It's like San Diego, at five percent of the cost," she says. It you are a map person, Agadir is on the coast of Africa southwest of Marrakesh, on about the same latitude as New Orleans.

The next new member to arrive is Eve Guezennec who says she is from Puteaux next to La Défense, but whosephoto: cafe cup name says she is from Brittany, from near Roscoff. Eve is the first Parisian or French member who says she is joining the club so she can listen to English being spoken.

From listening to her, I don't know why. I hope we won't ruin her English. If the club had any rules I would tell the other members to try to speak English correctly - but who can do this anyway?

Then a whole passel of regular members arrive not together, but more or less about the same time. There is Anita Bennett, Dinny Moyer and Eva Lee - who has brought a paper plate with 'BonJour Sally!' written on it.

Dinny says it is a genuine American paper plate. Eva hardly needs to explain that Sally Dilgart is stuck in Chicago - ooh, Windy City! - and the message is for her, to be broadcast via the 'Group Photo of the Week.'

A number of members know each other already and Marilee is talking to Jim and Anita about raiding the art department of the BHV for watercolors and other art tools, so Eve tells me she takes Brazilian Capoeira lessons in Marly-Le-Roi - 'a sort of martial arts-and-dance' - which is judged by a 'master' who comes from Brazil to hand out 'belts' to those who are up to snuff. Eve's belt is green so she has a bit of a way to go yet.

This activity is on hold though, while Eve is studying cinema in Paris. She has yet to meet the Marx Brothers with farce-and-laugh I learn.

I am taking a photo of an unarranged group - cup, wine glass, glass with drink tickets in it - and Marilee says it is a still-life. In French this is 'nature-morte' according to Eve. How 'still' or 'morte' it is I don't know, because somebody is going to lift the glass soon.

At this point today's 'Waiter of the Week' signals that the phone is calling me so I zip off to the bar area of the café and have a difficult - because of the café and street noise - conversation with a lady who wants to contact a club member. Who is a friend that the lady on the phone hasn't seen in 40 or 50 years.

This does not happen all the time. The Internet brings people together, like magic. I think this is going to be a fairly easy 'missing person' deal, but I am going to wait until all the parties are contacted. There may be more about this if I am permitted to mention it.

Meanwhile, back at the meetingphoto: still life, with bills the secretary keeps on taking notes like a automatic scribbler. Dinny says she went skiing and got rescued after straying off a 'green' path. "I hate the cold, that's why I only stayed a week!"

'Why are the métro tickets purple now?' Dinny wants to know. She thinks they always used to be green. When I say they were yellow for a long time - 'Le Ticket Choc!' - she says yellow was only for first-class.

Dinny was here for years before the yellow tickets, when she wasn't here. I tell Dinny there are yellow tickets in old cartoons I did in the '70s. Eve remembers the yellow tickets. I don't think she is old enough to.

When we are doing the 'Group Photo of the Week' Eva has her 'BonJour Sally!' paper plate. I ask her to stick it up high so Sally can see it better, virtually. So she can be virtually present at the meeting of this virtual club, Eva says.

There is a bit of feeble sun on the terrace of the café La Corona. We all shout, " Hello Chicago!"

Then it is club overtime time. "Where can I get chocolate frogs?" Eva wants to know.

"Salamanca," Jim says. They are the symbol of the city. For this, the club's secretary decides that New Wilmington and Agadir should be the 'Cities of the Week.' Salamanca's turn will come.

Repeat Call for Your Favorite Restaurants

The 'Call for Restaurants' is receiving a continuing trickle of candidates. Jim asked me about the 'list' and I said I hadn't figured out how to do it yet. He agreed that it should only include restaurants where members have actually eaten, especially if they can say something about them.

I know this is a bit much to ask for, but I think the 'list' will serve everybody better if it is more than just names and addresses. Some of you have already gone this step further. I think it will be worth it.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

If you have made up your mind tophoto: cafe, water, sally's plate become a member of this club it might be a good idea to read the'About the Café Metropole Club' page first. It explains a bit about the club, like about it being free. You can learn other things from this page too, but not overly much.

Skip this 'About' page if you want to. All you really need to 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 443 members after 172 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 in a week or two.

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

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

Come with your own new 'Quote of the Week' handy or mention your hometown as a possible 'City ofphoto: new metro, bus ticket color the Week' or invent any other 'Things of the Week.' New true 'firsts' will be welcome too, with 'first' often having preference over 'true.'

'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 pay attention occasionally, 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, fairly often.

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

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini