Beware of Avalanches

photo: cafe george v

There are few avalanche warnings posted for the Champs-Elysées.

Peanut Guy Leaves Town

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 17. February 2003:- It was not so cold today if you weren't in the wind. But my door, facing the scant height and open spaces of the cemetery across the street, was definitely being whipped by a fair northeasterly breeze and it was not kind.

From my bedroom window last night a nearly full moon gave the room a blue glow. But if my eyes had not been watering so much I would have appreciated today's true blue sky. This is what is predicted for tomorrow. If you aren't in the wind, the high will be four degrees, up from three today and from below freezing at night.

Tuesday should be sunny too but the coming days will introduce more clouds and it will get warmer, with the temperatures doubling to about seven.

When this happens, the TV-news will tell us to beware of avalanches. I will keep a sharp eye on the lookout for them, and for re-opening boulangeries.

Café Life

Where's My Bread?

These are terrible times in Paris. It is the first occasion in many years that there is ample snow onphoto: deli's cafe, champs elysees practically all of the places that winter sports people fancy, so all of my favorite boulangeries are closed.

On Friday, my market guy told me to not bother stumbling up on Tuesday for food. My peanut guy was already gone. The two or three boulangeries left open are besieged by long lines of desperate bread seekers.

There are grey pasty-faced shoppers in the Monoprix staggering around in circles, trying to find edible food items on unfamiliar shelves. Even for the initiated the place is a hopeless maze.

Yesterday was even worse. Two of the three boulangeries were closed for Sunday. The Franprix closed at noon and it took until 13:30 for all the shoppers to get out. I thought they were supposed to be up in the mountains drinking hot wine.

Demo of the Week

The posters around the neighborhood announcing this week's 'Demo of the Week' to begin on Saturday at Denfert-Rochereau did not state that it was to be part of the world-wide conspiracy to annoy the MGT of a certain 'outer-Atlantic' funky western civilization.

Shortly before the launch time I wondered why police didn't bother to place their usual metal barricades around the place - were they expecting three guys and two girls with one balloon and a flag?

But half a hour before the scheduled blast-off, the place was full. All the streets leading to itphoto: no war poster were full. I tried to get to the front of it, but in a hour of twist-and-bump could only get three-quarters of the way around. From the slight rise in the centre, it looked like an army was approaching from the RER station.

The weather was cool but the sun was shining on the place with the big lion in the middle. Snack stands were all over and the smoke from grilling sausages gave the whole scene an essence of Woodstock, without the music.

A hour after the start-time, nothing seemed to have moved a centimetre. To get out of it, I had to walk against crowds streaming towards it. Several blocks away I saw that police had placed their no-go tapes across far-off streets leading to the place.

Radio news said at 18:00 that the parade's leaders were reaching Bastille, but that the tail end of the marchers still hadn't left Denfert. Some marchers took from 15:00 to 18:30 to get from the place to the Boulevard Saint-Germain. If it had been warmer they would have kept on going.

Strange Poster of the Week

On the poster front in Paris it has been an uninspiring week. There have been a series of unusual posters for McDo's. I am pretty sure they are not a hoax, but I can't figure out what they mean. The one shown on one of this week's poster pages has the text, "Je vous le présenterai chez McDo." The two or three others have similar sentiments. Something to ponder I guess.

Ups and Downs

My ambitions for the issue started the week at a low ebb and only slowly rose a few notches before settling back down to indecision about calling the whole thing off and hibernating for a couple of weeks.

As mentioned at the beginning of last Thursday's Café Metropole Club meeting report, I began the week with a code ina nodz. I do not have enough chicken soup on hand so I have been sleeping a lot instead.

With the outside temperatures the way they are, and sunlight streaming in my bedroom window, this has been a sensible way to spend the time convalescing. What has not been sensible is reading the papers - and a whopping lot of stuff coming in from the 'Net.

A few writers picked me to write to, to complain about France. The contents of their messages mainly fellphoto: bistro romain into the 'Is It True?' category, and to many of them I merely wrote back and asked them to confirm that they had written what they had sent. Some of them replied with confirmations.

Some of the emails contained hoaxes - texts attributed to people who never wrote them. In the main, there was nothing for me to say because none of the writers were regular readers or club members - and France was handily defending itself in world forums without my help.

Some real readers and club members wrote too. Since many of you are already 'friends of France' - I felt your emails should be kept confidential, because there is a mindlessly vicious campaign against France going on, and I see no reason to expose any of its 'friends' to needless vindictiveness.

But ploughing through the viciousness has taken its toll on my ambition for this issue, to the point that there is no feature article and a total lack of energy required to sift through 72 fresh pages of future events that would be required to produce a 'Scene' column.

On the other hand, the reason for the small issue may be 'none of the above.' Maybe there's not much boom-boom left in my gas tank.

'About' Café Metropoleô Blanc de Blanc

Last week Allan had time to muse about the Café Metropole Blanc de Blanc label and why it is like it is. How it got to be this way is also shown.

This week Allan is totally involved with the hoist he installed in 'The Shed' last week. He writes, "I have several high mileage cars so the hoist will be put to good use.

"The winery's '81 Toyota pickup recently passed the 250,000 mile mark. I bought it new in early 1981. It's been hit four times and 'totaled' twice. Young female drivers thinking of something besides driving plowed into the left front bumper each time.

"I had the engine rebuilt 100,000 miles ago. It is the long-bed model which is no longer made. Very useful for hauling lumber and lots of cases of wine. Older pickups are much easier to work on compared to the new models that have computers instead of carburetors.

"I conducted a winery tour on Saturday. Two couples from out of the area were spending the holiday weekend touring wineries. They followed the proper procedure by calling ahead earlier in the week."

So far Allan has announced no plans to re-paint the Toyota wine-colored and plaster it with logos like Mercier's Citroën van featured in last week's Café column.

Café Metropole Club 'Reports'

Lightly tap this link to last week's 'Where Are Chocolate Frogs?' club meeting report, which was graced by new members and familiar faces.

The 'Call for Beano 'List' - asking readers and club members for their favorite Paris restaurants - if they are willing to share their treasures - is getting a steady stream of responses. Although the 'list' is still not long, I need to put it together, even if I wrote this already last week and the week before.

This is to be sort of the Café Metropole Club's own guide, suggested exclusively byphoto: traffic, champs elysees its hungrier members. You might trust fellow members taste if you trust your own. And you do, don't you?

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 20. February. This - third! - February meeting finally marks the definitive and final end of second February meetings for this year. The Saint's Day of the Week will be Sainte-Aimée.

Nearly all of the four details concerning the club - actually only the club's address is useful to know - are handily placed on the 'About the Club' page. The virtual membership card may be useful, but it is not certain.

Extra-Super Forever-Time Offer V

Linda Thalman, occasionally known as the 'server-lady,' chattily comments in her newsletter about language, tourism news, events and stories from and about Paris, France and some very foreign places. The newsletter is sent by email every month.

Linda's 'Paris In Sites Newsletter' has been plugged here for several eons now. Linda also produces a companion Web site. Every free sub you order increases my 'credit' by one thimble of café more.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 7.08 - 18. Feb 2002 - This issue, like a lot of others began with the Café Metropole column's 'Low-Key Café Life.' The 'Au Bistro' column featured a question, 'Do You Remember the Franc?' There were two Email features, titled 'Hugo In New York & Count-Downs In Paris' and 'The French Can't Always Know.' The update for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 21. February was called the 'Drowsy Club Secretary' report of the year. The issue's 'Scene' column announced 'Beautiful Cows Coming On Friday.' The week'sphoto: sign, rue lalande four new 'Posters of the Week' were on view and Ric's 'Cartoon of the Week' had the caption, "These Are All FRANCS!"

This Was Metropole Five Years Ago

Issue 3.08 - 23. February 1998 - This week's Café Metropole column was headlined, 'Fake Spring Surprises Paris Again.' The 'Au Bistro' column's title was 'Papon Was In the Resistance Too.' There were three features, titled 'High and Wide in Trocadéro,' 'Looking for Elusive Facts in the Marais' and 'The Gare Saint-Lazare' On View At Orsay.' There was no Café Metropole Club update for this issue because the club didn't begin until the following year. There was no 'Scene' column for this week. Maybe there wasn't one back then. The four new 'Posters of the Week' were featured as usual and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Fast Watch or Slow Time.'

Three Count-Downs Forever

Jim 'Exciting Count-Down' Auman is beyond getting tired of his neighbors pointing him out and saying, "There goes Jim 'Exciting Count-Down' Auman! Why doesn't he shovelphoto: sign, lavazza the snow off his sidewalk instead?"

Music lovers will be delighted to learn that Hector Berlioz will have his 200th anniversary this year, on Sunday, 11. December. Hector is headed for permanent residence in the Panthéon too, on Saturday, 21. June - coinciding with the Fête de la Musique - which is 125 days off. Otherwise, Hector's 200th birthday is 298 days from now.

The number of days left this year is 310. This makes three count-downs without any new ones being added, including one anniversary, without a date. Other count-downs are 'on hold' until the weather improves.
signature, regards, ric

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