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 simple.

As soon as the guests leave, everybody returns to a diet of bread, wine and radishes, if they are in season. The problem for me is I have no handy country châteaux in Paris to photograph and I didn't see any in Malakoff. Laurel suggested I take pictures of fruit instead, and then she flew off to Santa Fe.

The good news is, she promised to send reports from Santa Fe's châteaux. She didn't say anything about photos of them though. In this issue see 'Weekend 'Jaw Cramp' Yum!'

Metropole's 'mailto:' Change

Please read the following, again, with more than your usual attention. The new email address for 'Ric,' 'Ed,' and the Café Metropole Club's secretary is henceforth ericksonr@wanadoo.fr. It may be ugly, but most of the time all you need to do is click it wherever you see my name, and a ready-to-go email form pops up.

To be on the safe side, even if you never intend to write, make a note of it and maybe put it in your address book. For doing this, I promise that if you never do write, I will not reply.

If case you have not read this important note carefully, do not worry. I will repeat it one way or another 3498 times. I know this is unnecessary, because the Nigerian business-lady formerly married to the nation's top swindler, has found the new address - it took four whole days - and continues to offer me, confidentially, zillions of dollars.

'About' Café Metropoleô Blanc de Blanc

The Café Metropole Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine can now be ordered online through thephoto: old building, barnMoonlight Web site. It is really real thanks to Allan Pangborn, its maker, Metropole reader and Cafe Metropole Club member.

Could be, but probably not - a wine cellar in Malakoff?

Now that online ordering is possible, you will also be able to read the ongoing story of the wine on the Moonlight site. On this end I've added an 'About Metropole's Wine' page that will tell the entire history of the story, plus it has the same link as the URL above so that you can place orders easily - which I hope you will do.

Café Metropole Club 'Reports'

Click this link lightly slightly to get a look at last week's 'Osaka 'City of the Week' club meeting report. The blistering weather helped produce calm meeting, which included the club's first new member who is a known actress, Tomoko Yokomitsu.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 17. July. The Saint's Day of the Week will be Sainte-Charlotte. This week I abandon my trusty saints-book, to bring you an important message instead. For a change.

The club's secretary will also be officiating at the meeting on 24. July. But then he - as a result of holiday deprivation - will be 'Not Found' for the meetings of 31. July, 7. August and 14. August. At the moment negotiations for replacement hosts or hostesses are continuing, but the heat wave is hindering decisions. Thus, the meetings are not definitely 'off' but they are not 'on' either. Watch this space for updates.

A mere couple of other details concerning the club can be found tidily grouped on the self-contained 'About the Club' page, because there aren't more than a couple. The virtual membership card on this page is still free though.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 7.29 - 15. July 2002 - The issue's Café Metropole column was headlined, 'A Strange Thing Happened On Bastille Day.' The 'Au Bistro' column failed to appear, without reason.. The feature of the week was titled 'The 14th of July Surprise Party.' The Café Metropole Club update for this issue on 18. July announced the 'No Rules' Rule Kicks In' report. Since it was summer the Scene column was titled, 'Paris' Long Summer has More than a Short One.' To make up for it there was a 'Scènesphoto: sign, sentir du tir, malakoff d'Eté' column with 'A Lot of It Is Outdoors.' There were four new 'Posters of the Week' again Ric's Cartoon was nautically captioned, 'Beached Parisians.'

This Was Metropole Three Whole Years Ago

Issue 5.29 - 17. July 2000 - This issue began with the Café Metropole column's 'Travel Tales.' The 'Au Bistro' column was titled 'Incredible Weather Bombs Incredible Picnic.' The only feature was titled, 'More Trees Than People - Oh! Canada In 2000.' There was kind of no update for the Café Metropole Club meeting, with the server-lady Linda Thalman merely reporting, "Full House" for 13. July. But, ah, for the club meeting on 20. July there was the 'Métro, Clubo, Dodo' report. There were four summery-type new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's 'Cartoon of the Week' was captioned, 'No Smoking, Remember?'

'Mardi Noir' Recesses

The disappointing news to all those intending to visit France for its vast selection of summer festivals is that casts and crews have been on strike, over unemployment issues, recently modified by France's employers' federation.

The paragraph above hasn't changed from last week. Metropole does not generally run an eventsphoto: sign, rue eugene varlin, malakoff program for the hundreds of festivals going on in the summer around France, so it doesn't have to undo its program.

But some events in Paris are getting closed-down too, on a piecemeal basis. I don't know whether the outdoor movies are going ahead out at La Villette, for example. I've heard that the 'Paris - Quartier d'Eté' program is having some difficulties. Be sure to use the 'InfoTel' numbers if in doubt.

For Indefatigable Countdown Fans

No 'count-up' is planned in here for the Rolling Stones' concerts in Paris because they have come and gone. After becoming infamous for conducting the longest silly count-down in the history of the planet - by holding Metropole's own record-breaking 'count-down' to the year 2000 - further distinctions along these lines are, hereby, declined.

With absolutely no minimum fanfare, the number of days left this year is 170. This may not make it seem like an overly long time until 2004, but who knows for certain besides my calendar? Where, in fact, is my calendar? It is nearly no time at all until fall, which is 'officially' only less than a quarter-year from three Saturdays before last. Just where, is my calendar?
signature, regards, ric

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