''I have a Thing for Macaroons''

photo: group, paul, lauren, sally, steve

From left, the 'Partly Group Photo of the Week'
with Paul, Lauren, Sally and Steve.

'City of the Week' Used to be Monster

Paris:- Thursday, 29. May 2003:- I don't have to go out for café but I go out for café because it isn't the same without the paper and without the general funk of the café-tabac. As soon as I step off my doorstep on to the sidewalk I realize it is a 'Hawaiian Shirt' day.

Yesterday was a mere spring day three weeks before summer, but today is different. 'Hawaiian Shirt' days are different because they are ones with weather that matches impossible predictions, so they are a surprise worthy of special dress.

Last night's TV-weather forecast predicted three 'Hawaiian Shirt' days in a row. Tuesday night's forecast predicted these through Sunday. Today's Le Parisien is 'no show' so I don't know what its prediction would have been.

Libération is a paper that has the philosophy news before the social, economic, media,photo: granola, citron presse sports and culture news. Bullfighting follows 'mode' then there are today's events, then the weather. I must say, if you get this far, you are pretty well educated.

Note rare nearly invisible Granola bar in foreground.

TV-weather says Friday will be sunny and Libération says Saturday will be sunny too. Everybody agrees the highs in Paris will be 28 degrees - not at all shabby for the last days of May. It is a lucky thing I got Libération in order to give you Saturday's forecast, because the TV-weather news guy forgot it.

Before leaving for the club, I put on one of my Hawaiian shirts. It makes me feel good. Then I go down the street with no addresses under the plane trees that are under the blue sky and pass all the people sitting out on the café terrace at Raspail, and get on the métro there.

At Odéon I leave the métro so I can tour the Quartier Latin a bit. It is here that it occurs to me that it is a holiday. Some shops are closed and all of the café terraces are full, and there are a lot of people walking around looking for free chairs on the terraces.

In the Rue de Seine there aren't that many because the galleries are all closed. But the terrace of La Palette is pretty full. From Buci to the end it is about the only place open except for the tiny grocery store at Visconti.

At the Pont des Arts there are a lot of people crossing it, and from it I see that the right bank speedway is closed to traffic and open to strollers, rollers and bikes. I think I forgot to mention it is like this on most public holidays, as well as on Sundays.

The café La Corona's terraces are full of terrassians too and the waiters are bustling. Patrick tellsphoto: macaroon me, "Il y a du monde," and this turns out to be Sally Dilgart from Chicago. She says she was much relieved to get the email I sent saying Paris has no 'Mercredi noirs' these days.

A genuine, uneaten, anis-pistachio- flavored macaroon.

Sally joined the club in October 2000 and has been returning at regular intervals. Every time she has new treasures and this time it is a variety of Granola bars. The one I photograph is a 'mocha java' model. "It's full of protein," she says. But it is not for me.

The surprise for 'Ed' is a box of Frangos, from Marshall Fields in Chicago, who got them from some place in Seattle that made them famous. Judging from the list of ingredients - items like 'red 3, red 40, blue 1, blue 2, yellow 5, yellow 6, and oil of pepper' - maybe I do need the protein in the Granola after all. Wait! In a 'serving' of Frangos there is '2g' of protein too.

Sally has a burning question. She wants to know if the coming 'Mardi noir' will be really 'noir.' I tell her I think the unions are trying to make up their minds. It was to be a full-bore transport strike, but I think some have pulled out - or have more jumped in? I haven't time the read all of Libération.

Paul Baker brings his sunny face up to the club's tables. Paul joined the club in September of 2001 and he comes from Munster, Indiana. He says it started out as a swamp - caused by some huge Ice Age thing - and was formerly called Monster, Indiana, by the Dutch people who first settled it.

Good for a 'City of the Week' award I declare. Paul says it is nearly surrounded by Chicago these days. Sally says Chicago occupies three states and is about to capture more.

But the really big stink around there is Mayor 'King Richard II' Daley capturing Migs airport right on the lake. Early one morning the mayor had bulldozers hack 'x's' in the runways, which kind of ruined them for smooth landings.

Mayor Daley is also famous for visiting Paris and going back to Chicago and making it look like Paris by having hundreds of Paris-like flowers planted there.

Paul also mentions that he has toured 'Le Train Capitale' exhibition on the Champs-Elysées. He was pretty happy to see the Pullman car with the 'Wagon-Lits' name, because it was made in Pullman, Illinois.

Both Sally and Paul have seen some Paris signs. Sally is intrigued by the one for 'Dubly Détective' in the Rue Tronchet. Motto - 'Le Détective de Paris.' Paul's find was onephoto: lori kursay for Harry Houdini, the 'Prestidigitator,' seen near Palais-Royal.

Sally says finding signs like these are caused by the 'Law of Unintended Consequences,' which is commonly invoked or broken, and judged, and punished, in Chicago.

Lori looks for 'Food of the Week' in La Corona's menu.

As Paul gets up to leave to go and look for more amazing Paris sights, Lauren and Steve Camera-Murray arrive, so I haul Paul down or keep Lauren and Steve up - for the 'Group Photo of the Week.'

This is done out on the terrace where waiters rushing out to serve tables keep bouncing us out of the way. One photo shows the members looking in the direction of the Pont des Arts while the camera is in the direction of the Pont-Neuf. It turns into a good photo of backs.

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