In the Tropics

photo: cafe bar au poste, malakoff

One of the three bars open in Malakoff on Saturday.

Coming Up - Beach Music

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 14. July 2003:- The weather here quit being a big topic several days ago. It was hot and everybody said so, but then it got hotter and there wasn't much more to say about it.

Oh, the TV-news talks about it all the time. Farmers are harvesting early before everything fries, and doing it carefully so they don't set their fields on fire with their machinery. Waterbombers are the evening news' action stars.

Today is another day with temperatures over 30 degrees, or about 90 F. I should say this about tonight too. It wasphoto: iron gate breezy for the past two days, but all is still today. This is all over France, and a lot of the fireworks shows have been called off on account of the danger of fires.

A 'provincial' iron gate in Malakoff.

It's not over yet. Tonight's TV-weather news has forecast a high of 34 for Paris tomorrow. But Atlantic instability will begin to nibble at western France, and by Wednesday there should be armies of clouds flying across the city, with a temperature drop to 27.

On Thursday it is supposed to be mostly cloudy, maybe even with a bit of rain. Temperatures of 23 have been predicted, somewhat normal for July. It isn't in my notes and I don't remember exactly, but I have an impression that the cooling off is only temporary.

I don't think it is time to shut any windows, put on extra blankets, or start wearing sweaters yet. If I wasn't wearing a shit made mostly of air, I'd take it off right now.

Café Life

This was pretty pleasant last week. On Tuesday or Wednesday in the Bouquet, Dennis said he was going to see the Marx Brothers' movie 'Go West Young Man' and he went off to see it, because if he'd seen it before, he thinks he was only five. Maybe it was Tuesday, because one night he showed us some Laurel and Hardy movie stills he'd bought - for eight euros a piece.

The evening after, Wednesday I guess, it was so hot in the Bouquet that the shouters were talking quietly if they were talking at all. I don't remember what Dimitri had to say - except that he said I should see Malakoff's wonderful marché.

They main thing I was trying to find out all week, was where we were going to go to have a fantasticphoto: gas lamp, malakoff time at a Bastille Day party. The good thing about Bastille Day is that it is two nights.

For some people there is also the parade on the Champs-Elysées on the 14th, but last year some demented guy popped off a couple at Président Chirac, so this year there were to be more cops on the avenue than military paraders, hardly leaving room for civilians.

Dimitri's very own, personal, perpetually-lit gas lamp.

For a select few thousand, there was also a garden party at the Elysée Palace after the parade, but no Daguerréotypistas were invited. The party starts after the president talks to the TV world, about the state of France, by giving speeches to the four questions allowed to be asked by two TV-news anchormen.

He said, in essence, that the right-wing government is going a terrific job and is going to keep on doing it. I just heard the highlights while I was making something to eat. He might have made some reference to all the people who have been out in the streets marching to protest the government's projects, but I didn't hear any.

Anyhow, Bastille Day really marks the end of the French year. Everybody is supposed to go away and eat and rest a lot, and come back in late August raring to go.

If the mood can be summed up it is this - for Bastille Day the president can pardon some people in jail serving short terms. Président Chirac knocked four months off José Bové's 10-month term that he got for tearing up some genetically-modified plants - instead of setting him free.

As this summer begins, José Bové's buddies are not happy, teachers aren't happy, the about-to-be-retired aren't happy, actors and stagehands aren't happy, and a lot of other professions and classes are full of annoyed people.

In the fall, when all of these come back fully rested and full of pep, the government is going to propose 'reforming' the general health benefits system. I think we are going to have a warm fall in France.

Metropole's 'Partners'

Having slept through the Dot-Com boom and bust and hemming-and-hawing for 18 months, Metropole finally goes completely commerce-crazy with this week's introduction of its 'Partner' page.

A good old boy - garçon! - from the 14th arrondissement named Cyril Toullier is making his way in the tough jungles of advertising in New York, by bringing publications about Paris and France together with advertisers, who may have interesting messages for you.

My part of the idea is to put them all on their own page, instead of scattered throughout Metropole. This way you can consult all offers all at once. And you won't need 'Flash' for any of them.

Occasionally Cyril will be sending special offers, exclusively for Metropole, for you. The 'Partners' page is where you'll find them. For example, right now I have 20 Avis rental car upgrade coupons. With onephoto: bar le victor hugo of these, instead of getting a Twingo you can rent a one-size bigger Peugeot, for the same price as the Twingo. See the page for details.

Metropole's older affiliates are also on this page. The Café Metropole wine is also mentioned on it too, with a link to its own permanent About page. During the past week a couple more states kicked out their restrictive import rules, making the wine a bit easier to get.

The second bar open in Malakoff on Saturday.

In case you are thinking of giving this 'Partners' page a big miss, think again. Every week I get one photo that doesn't logically 'fit' in anyplace. From now on, it goes on the 'Partners' page, as the 'Photo of the Week.' Unlike everything else in Metropole, this photo will only be on view one week before being replaced by the a new 'Photo of the Week.'

'Paris Life - No 11'

Laurel Avery writes again in this issue, about the good old life of weekend château-living. She wonders, as so many have, how the French manage to eat so much and stay so slim. As far as châteaux go, the answer is fairly imple.

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