The Return of Bongo

photo: group, bob, barbara, chabli, maureen, terry

From left, the 'Group of the Week' - Bob, Barbara,
Chabli, Bongo, Maureen and Terry.

Faux-Pizza 'Food of the Week'

Paris:- Thursday, 10. April 2003:- Scattered reports from North America - some snow in New York, worse in Chicago, 80 in California - tempt me to skip the weather here because it isn't too extreme for - January. At noon the pharmacy's green neon sign said six degrees above zero in red neon.

Passing it again about six hours later, with the wind in my face also blowing rain on the awnings towards the east, the pharmacy's green neon cross signaled a red four degrees.

So much for Monday's fairy stories about the temperature rising a degree per day. From now on all good weather predictions and forecasts from here are fiction.

Get this - Le Parisien's morning forecast keeps it up! Ha! Today's high is supposed to be nine degrees. Tomorrow's is supposed to be 14, Saturday's 15 - golly! they are re-running last Monday's bilge - then Sunday is supposed to have a high of 19. It is comedy?

Tonight's TV-weather news seems a bit more realistic with a forecast of 11 for Friday, although this does seem to be quite a stretch too. I didn't bother taking notes, but if I remember correctly I think there is some sun predicted for tomorrow, but less so on Saturday. Of was it the other way around?

But Sunday - ah - Sunday. This is supposed to be kind of sunny. For this Le Parisien in predicting 19 degrees. It's fiction, right? So guess what TV-weather news is saying. Yes! More better fiction. A fictional 21 degrees is what they have forecast for Sunday.

So far my building's heating has kept up with these fictions more reliably than the paper or the TV forecasts. Myphoto: brasserie bongo 251 building heeds no newspaper of TV fictions. It is a good building even if my doorbell buzzer won't stay stuck to the doorframe.

Maybe it is a 'smart' doorbell buzzer. Maybe it senses that I am about to receive a visit from some very short people who will find it more convenient lying on the hallway floor.

'Brasserie Bongo' is either Bongo 250 or 251.

With this thought uppermost in mind I go down the stairs and out the door and down the street as far as the 'Chez Papa' sign and turn left and walk down Paris' only street without house numbers to the métro at Raspail, where a number four train arrives a minute after and whisks me through underground tunnels to Châtelet, with only a slight pause after leaving the Odéon station.

Downtown the air is full of pre-rain gloom. This is more imagined than anything else, because it occurs to me that the semi-desolation is on account of these days being school holidays, and there aren't a lot of kids around playing hooky like there are when schools aren't on vacation time.

Between Châtelet and Pont-Neuf I see nothing to report. On the paper kiosk at Pont-Neuf I see the first 'poster of the week.' I am not even sure if it is one - I'm only sure all the others I've seen so far, aren't.

The sky begins to sprinkle in front of Samaritaine. I double my pace. In the club's café La Corona there is nobody in the bar other than the morose staff. None are pretending to be jolly. Tips must be in the pits.

Nearly in the club's area there are two ladies I have never seen before. I sense that they are not waiting to become members, but before I can find out for sure two real members do appear. There will be no newspaper reading this week.

It is not quite 15:00 either. Maureen and Terry Cooper are back in town, with a new 'Bongo.' This one is 'Brasserie Bongo,' picked up I believe, in Munich, on a round-about flight to Paris via the Bavarian capital - for he has a Hofbraühaus pin.

An earlier 'Bongo,' with 'Beanie' for surname, was at a club meeting in November of 2000. At the time he was 'Bongo' number 150. Today's 'Brasserie Bongo' is numbered about 250. Maureen doesn't say the other 249 'Bongos' are back at their hotel.

The Coopers, who are from San Francisco, did do part of the marathon last Saturday. The secretary is surprised because the marathon was on Sunday. "We did the five-kilometre one on Saturday," Terry says.

"But we took the métro part of the way," Maureen adds. Apparently there is anphoto: food of the week 'honorary' marathon for anyone willing to pay five euros. On Sunday, in the extra-cool morning, the Coopers watched the real one from a good spot on the Rue de Rivoli.

Twice 'Food of the Week' - faux-pizza with real wine.

I am really proud of these club members. Sunday night's TV-news showed exactly eight seconds of video of more than 30,000 people running around Paris for several hours. Then they went to Trocadéro or the Tour Eiffel on Monday and saw the vintage car pre-race show-off. I remember its eight or six seconds of video on the TV-news too.

"How do you order a soup-bowl of café?" Terry asks. It is a good question but the secretary doesn't know the answer even though club members have them all the time.

I think, whoever the 'Waiter of the Week' is - this week it is Monsieur Chadli - knows automatically to bring soup-bowls of café for any member who asks for anything other than wine, water or beer, and bring the club's secretary a double-espresso at 16:00 without being asked. Or by 16:30 if asked.

Thus, I have no idea what a 'soup-bowl of café' is, in French. In Spain they were a 'café-grande,' but they never came in anything so big as a soup- bowl. Terry and Monsieur Chadli discuss its composition and arrive at an understanding, but neglect to tell me its name.

Maureen gets a Russian tea glass full of hot wine with a lemon slice floating on top. She says it is a 'vin chaude.' Together they share a huge door-stopper slab of an Italian faux-pizza.

This draws the immediate attention of new arrivals Barbara and Bob Davies, and they order one too, with a fair-sized pot of red wine and a couple of glasses of water.

The couple are from San Juan Capistrano in California. They say the swallows are there already, because this is April. The club secretary, burned on the faux 'City of the Week' last week, is hesitant. But I will skip ahead to add here that San Juan Capistrano is really and truly this week's 'City of the Week' after letting software check Metropole's entire contents and come up blank. Whew!

Everybody has a reason to be at today's club meeting - other than being at a club meeting just for the heck of it. The Davies are in Paris for their wedding anniversary, but it is not today. Maureen had a birthday, but it is not today either. To the club's secretary this sounds like 'for the heck of it.'

Bob says, "We tour Paris on our stomachs," adding, "But every place we go, it's closed." Terry agrees. Maureen says 'people die.' The club's secretary says, 'people retire.'

For some reason, Maureen and Terry need to explain why they've eaten a huge door-stopper slab of an Italian faux-pizza. They did it to enable themselves to sit through a four-hour long opera, before going to a Bastille brasserie just before midnight to recover.

Except for the opera part, Bob applauds their initiative. Bob's son is in the US Navy and Bob got a ride on an aircraft carrier from Hawaii to California, and he says the food wasn't too good. He says the food is better on submarines.

I gather this is what submariners say and nobody has the nerve to find out if it is true or not. The only way is to join the 'silent service' and nobody here today is going to do this.

Terry is a collector of Paris 'firsts.' He was in France for the eclipse and in Paris for the euro's firstphoto: marathon tuba in camera day, and for the faux-millennium New Years. Now he wants to find a Paris postcard with a tuba on it.

He hauls out his digital camera and brings up a photo of Saturday's faux marathon. It shows some marathoners with a tuba.

Bob muses, "Marathoners don't look like they're having fun." Somebody says 'banana costumes.' Maureen says that they still have their 'salt-and-pepper costumes.'

Terry's original photo of faux-marathoners with a real tuba.

Terry wants to know if any of the Mardi Gras folks have been around this year to dump loads of faux-plastic beads on the club's secretary. He also says he will have his birthday at the club - in 2004.

I swear, all of this is true. But, except for what has been left out, it is all I have written today, except for the last line.

"I used to play cards with a magician, once," Bob says. It's a fine meeting that can end with a true 'Quote of the Week.'

Call for Your Favorite Restaurants

The 'Call for Your Favorite Restaurants' will doggedly continue to receive nominations for your favorite restaurants, if they still exist.

If, like Terry, you keep yours in a palm-sized computer, would you please try and get them out of it and into an email, to send to 'Ed.' Then they will be diligently tossed on the same stack as the ones already tossed on the stack.

About the 'Café Metropole Club About' Page

To become a member of this clubphoto: wet terrace it could be a good idea to read the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page. The page says a bit about the club, like about it being free and other stuff. If you require any other information, send me fifty cents.

One of today's several seasons on La Corona's terrace.

Don't bother looking at this 'About' page if lack of details bore you - they are contained in the weekly 'reports' anyway. But you don't really need to know more than the simple fact that you can become a member of this online magazine's live, free and real club by being at any of its meetings in Paris, in person if possible.

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

The club's meetings begin - punctually, contrary to Paris 'exceptions' - about 15:00 on Thursdays and continue until 17:00, in Europe's ex-springlike Zone of Mythical Time Zone - which is really 'CET' for short and not 'Z of MT' - and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm in some rare Anglo areas of the globe, even though club meetings are usually only held in Paris part of it.

Having your own 'Quote of the Week' or concocting any other 'Things of the Week' are not 'rules.' True 'firsts' are always welcome too, with 'first' having preference over 'true.' The club secretary's own 'firsts' are not eligible even if 'true,' unless a member will accept credit.

'No-names' is an option you can also opt-in, or out of. If you prefer to be 'not found' on the Internet, orgraphic: club location map 'in-out-opted.' 'No rules' have ceased being an 'exception' or a 'rule' anymore. There are some other 'exceptions,' but really, not many of them.

Whatever you say will be honestly 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 it should happen to be written here, as some of it is, sometimes.*

*The above paragraph remains unchanged since last week on account of having a faux 'City of the Week' falsely named Yahoo Junction. It should have been Yeehaw Junction.

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
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logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini