''We've Just Hung Up Our Sleds!''

photo: group, stephen, lauren, marion, doug, don

From left, the 'Group Photo of the Week' with Stephen, Lauren, Marion, Doug and Ron.

Double 'City of the Week' Week

Paris:- Thursday, 15. May 2003:- I have no doubt all readers and club members are eager for the weather forecast or prediction or whatever it is, so I'll just get it out of the way before skipping on to the real question of the week, which is - Is Paris Open?

Therefore first, the miserable weather. Oh golly! Today's Le Parisien is off its head. I only got the paper by a superhuman effort of memory at 17:30, so most of today's weather is already over. Here is what it was supposed to be - 'Apollon parade' and ' Préavis de soleil.'

To be fair it did not rain on me while I walked to the club earlier in the day. It was probably even warmer than the predicted 18 degrees. But a day of 'Apollo on parade' it was not.

It was the Ecole Polytechnique parading their 'Salome de Bahia' to advertise their 'Point Gamma' Sinsemilia 27 bars and restos Nuit F. Bubosc Blue Crush Impro Scène Rock, for the modest PAF of 23euro 3 sign if you get the tickets before Saturday, 24. March.

This I heard while - but first the weather. Tomorrow Le Parisien expects an attack by clouds, with a high temperature of 21 degrees, according to tonight's TV-weather news. The clouds willphoto: cuppa du cafe remain in attack mode through the weekend, also according to TV-weather news, but with cooler temperatures on account of all the Bahia sounds on the Pont-Neuf.

Arty-type photo of the 'Empty Café Cup' of the week.

Not much earlier in the day I caught scraps of news from Radio France-Info. The first item, traffic jams exceeding 300 kilometres didn't make it hard to imagine what might be causing them - transport strikes. Yes!

For those who may have slept through Tuesday's near-total strike of everything except tour buses chartered to haul in street paraders from all sorts of hithers and yons, we had Wednesday as a lesser replay, and lo! and behold! - we are having it again today. The commuters are not happy with their enforced camping.

Club member Dinny Moyer called from the upper 15th to report line number six métros flying past her balcony, but later phoned from the area of the Tour Montparnasse to say the sidewalks were on strike and she didn't think she could make it as far as the cemetery this week.

This must have been a crushing blow after her excursion to Blois yesterday which did not even begin at the Gare d'Austerlitz because métro line ten was immobile. I forget exactly what she said about taking the Batobus there.

Anyway, it seemed nice enough to walk until I got to a locked gate at the Luxembourg gardens - the shortcut of preference for all leftist bankers. But again lo! and again behold! - the gate by the place of the pétanque players was open and I got through the nearly deserted park - accompanied by the serenades of police and fire sirens, and a whacking great thumping techno sound coming from the direction of the Boulevard Saint-Michel.

Outside the park I saw groups carrying protest posters and flagpoles going every which way while I sliced right through them, past Odéon, and down the narrow Rue Dauphine to the Pont-Neuf - to arrive there just as the Polytechnos and their bandwagons were rounding the corner to cross the bridge.

At the café La Corona, out of breath, I am only two minutes late. But I have forgotten to buy today'sphoto: paris maps paper, about three times. After all, with all of Paris' good-hearted chaos, I can hardly expect any members to show up, can I?

However there is no stopping club members. I have got my fingers only through half a twiddle before Lauren Camera-Murray shows up, surprised to see the club secretary in the customary place on the club's own banquets.

A common sight at meetings - the maps of the week.

Lauren has come straight from the Village Voice bookstore, but she has no book to show me. It doesn't matter because she is closely followed by new member Ron Sellers from San Antonio in Texas, and only minutes later, by Marion and Doug Gellatly from Port Hope, Ontario.

They say Port Hope is somewhere near Rochester in New York State, but I think it can be 'City of the Week' no matter where it is. A quick check shows that San Antonio can be 'City of the Week' too - it's got the Alamo after all! - so this is the first club meeting with two cities of the week. Another engraved-in-stone 'rule' broken.

The good news about Port Hope, according to Marion, is "We've just hung up our sleds!" Ron tells us that San Antonionians don't have sleds because the last snowfall there was the big blizzard of 1985 and nobody survived it except the Alamo.

However, San Antonio is known locally as the "Venice of North America," Ron says. Another interesting fact about the Alamo is that it is right downtown, next to a spiffy mall - so visiting it doesn't require a rental car or ice skates, if the canals are frozen over.

Meanwhile, in Paris which has canals too, but isn't the 'Venice of Anything,' the Gellatlys tell us about their adventure of getting to the city yesterday, overland, slowly.

Also meanwhile, Stephen Camera-Murray has arrived. He is so excited about Paris today that he quotes a line from George Orwell's 'Down and Out In Paris and London and Other Places' - "The surest sign of a bad restaurant is to be frequented by foreigners."

George, as everybody from Hawaii to Saint-Petersburg knows, worked as a 'plongeur' at the Ritz or the Crillon or some other palace - in the 1930s - so what may have been right then is no longer true. 'Foreigners' have better plastic these days.

On the subject of quotes, here is one from Doug. "Float your fanny down the granny." I don't findphoto: cups, glasses, bottles out exactly what this means but it might have something to do with Port Hope if the rivers ever unfreeze there.

Then the members ask each other what sorts of eggs they've eaten - quail eggs, goose eggs, ostrich eggs. I swear - this is in the official notes even if I can't remember why.

A too-common photo of the usual empty containers of the week.

Doug is still adding details to his story about the minibus trip from Roissy. Stuck in an endless traffic jam, it took a shortcut through a corner gas station, but didn't slow down for a refreshment stop.

At the two-hour point in the endless journey from the airport the passengers were getting restless, so they forced the driver to pull in to a Holiday - Inn over his protests of 'you can't do that!' But they could and did.

About here, or a couple of paragraphs higher up, Stephen pulls out a brand-new cheque-book and asks all of us who have seen a French cheque-book before, how to fill it in. On the line where it says 'A payer,' I write Trente-neuf Swillioneuro 3 sign et 59 cts. Stephen asks me not to photograph it, and does not actually sign it.

So, at the meeting's official end at 17:00, the official notes are a mess, the traffic outside is as bad as ever, and the good news is that it is not raining.

After everybody promises to return next week or in six months or in 2007, I wander over to the Hôtel dephoto: book, orwell, down and out in paris Ville, where a 'Fête du Pain' is being held. I score some cheese and bread and in the second tent see the shiny pots that are prizes for the 'best croissant.'

Then I get into the métro station right there for free and ride home to Denfert, where it is not raining either.

The 'good lit' book of the week contains tips for survival in Paris - in the 1930s.

Ah - I have just re-remembered the 'Question of the Week.' Yes friends, folks, foreigners and club members - Paris is open. Just like in 1995 when it seemed to be almost closed at times, Paris is truly open even if last Tuesday's big transport and public-worker strike - held successfully by millions throughout France - has continued in Paris, sort of without any advance warnings.

Not only is Paris 'open' - as long as the métro is on strike, it is free. Where else can you get a better deal?

Finally, remember that free bread continues somewhere in the 18th arrondissement until Saturday, and the free circus begins - 'Le Train Capitale' - on the Champs-Elysées, on Saturday. Both are close enough to walk to.

Cool Invention of the Week II

The 'Call for Your Favorite Restaurants' subject used to be here. Instead of this, this club 'report' does not present new news from the inventive mind of the club's secretary, who has decided to keep the latest 'inventive' idea prompted by listening to club members, to himself, until it is patented and rubberstamped.

About the 'Café Metropole Club' About Page

Being a member of this club is nifty, I think. If you read the 'About the Café Metropole Club' pagephoto: tent, fete du pain it will tell you a bit about the club and how classy it is. Like about it being free and having neat members. If you require any other information, I suggest that you read the 'About the Club' page again.

Free bread today - free circus comes on Saturday.

Give this 'About' page a pass if needless details annoy you. You don't really need to know more than the one fact that you can become a lifetime member of this online magazine's live, free and real club by being at any one or more of its meetings in Paris, in person.

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

The club's meetings begin - contrary to Paris usual 'exceptions' - about 15:00 on Thursdays and continue until 17:00, in Europe's semi-silly-like Zone of Mythical Time - which is really 'CET' for short and not 'SSZMT' - and elsewhere known as 3 pm to 5 pm in rare inches-and-ounces areas of the planet, even though club meetings are nearly exclusively only held in the Paris part of it.

Bringing any 'Quote of the Week' or concocting any other 'Things of the Week' are not 'rules.' True 'firsts' are always welcome too, with 'first' scoring far higher than 'true.' The club secretary's own 'firsts' are ignored even if 'true.' This is a general rule of nature rather than a club ex-'rule' or informal 'exception.'

If you prefer to be 'not found' on the Internet, or 'out-in-opted,' please tell the club's secretary before hegraphic: club location map makes you famous. 'No rules' have ceased being an 'exception' or a 'rule' a long time ago. There are some other 'exceptions,' but really, hardly any.

Whatever you say will be honestly appreciated by the other members present if they are listening, which they really do sometimes - even jetlagged - and by all readers of this online magazine - even jetlagged, if it should happen to be written here, as some of it is, sometimes.*

*The above paragraph is unchanged since last week on account of the club's secretary having forgotten that this paragraph was, in fact, changed last week for no good reason.

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