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'Slab' of the Week

photo: australia, unisphere, new york world fair, flushing meadows

1939 World's Fair version of Oz.

Vital Drink Term Arrives In Europe

New York:- Tuesday, 19. Aug 2003:- While the club's regular secretary has been doing not very much of anything on the other side of the Atlantic, Metropole's 'server-lady' and long-time club member, Linda Thalman, has been dutifully 'filling in' at the club meetings - held, by special request, during Paris' most extreme heatwave since - oh, about - since time began on Tuesday, 24. July 58 BC.

Due to atmospheric and other assorted conditions, photos to accompany the two meeting reports have not arrived anywhere in time to be included with this double 'report.' In fact, due to atmospheric conditions, nobody had the energy to shoot them, or remember how to send them through the Internet even if they were shot. For thesephoto: hong kong dragon boat race, flushing meadows reasons, the photos here originated in New York, but not during the recent blackout, which began only a few hours after last Thursday's meeting.

Hong Kong dragon-boat race on the lake in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

Delayed reports about both the Paris Heat Wave and New York's blackout - 'of the century' - were intended for this mini-issue, but a freak change of weather for the better permitted a day of 'reporting' at Coney Island on Monday. The rest of the week's weather in New York is expected to be the 'best of the year' while Paris should have half-and-half, plus rain, and temperatures of about 29 degrees until they become only 21, and by definition, 'normal.'

Water On Brain and In Glasses

Paris:- Thursday, 7. Aug 2003:- The 'server-lady' who is myself - Linda - arrives two minutes late to the club as I had to climb four flights of stairs out of the nearby underground car park. Some Parisians are on vacation, but not the ones with cars it seems as the first three levels of parking are chock-a-block.

Seriously, I don't know where the cars came from. I sailed in from Boullay-les-Troux and hit every green light along the quai just perfectly. Then out of nowhere it was a traffic jam 300 metres before the left turn at the café Corona.

Waiter Patrick pops in from the terrace to say hello just after Christian, the club's 'Waiter of the Week,' has taken my order for a tonic and water. Yes, both.

Some civilians out on the terrace are talking so loudly that at first I think it is an argument. But, no, it is just to be able to hear themselves more clearly above the din of cars and buses in front of the café. I'm not surephoto: elsie the cow, 1939 they realize everyone inside the cafe can hear them, too!

At 15:20 in waltzes Roy from Brisbane. He says something like, "You've got to be crazy to be walking around Paris today."

'Elsie' is a left-over from the 1939 World's Fair at Flushing Meadows. The World's Fair was held here again in 1964.

I hand him a glass of water, hoping he isn't going pass out - which is what I feel like doing from the heat. After a couple of gulps he says, "This is definitely a beer day." His medium-sized beer that Christian promptly brings looks like a giant beer - a 'formidable' - to me.

Roy and I chat about dozens of topics and my notes don't cover half of them. Roy had been out to Fontainbleau at the weekend and he tells me of other travels he had in Britain, Italy and America.

We compare the size of Paris with Brisbane and I learn that Brisbane is very spread-out but doesn't have 'very many people', according to Roy.

I ask him how many was 'not very many'? "Oh, a million or so." Hmmm, sounds like more than 'not many' to me.

Our thoughts turn to water and the canal St. Martin comes up in the conversation. Roy had never seen a boat go through a lock until this trip to Paris. Apparently locks don't exist in Australia. I think that is an interesting travel tidbit, especially if you've ever dreamed of doing a canal trip from Sydney to Perth.

We don't come up with any new city, drink, object or 'Island of the Week.' However, as I write this, I do think we should have nominated ice cubes for some sort of award of the week. Maybe 'Portablephoto: fritada, ecuador day, flushing meadows Cool of the Week.'

The 'Quote of the Week' has to be, "You can't be a tourist seven days a week if you stay in Paris for two months." Wise words from Roy.

'Ecuador Day' at Flushing Meadows coincided with the Hong Kong dragon-boat races plus a cricket match. Tennis begins soon.

Both of us get out our cameras at 16:00 and drag Christian over to take pictures in the mirror with the three of us. We take a bunch of photos and I hope a couple of mine will turn out. But I'm not killing myself to do more than this.

We are both limp as rag dolls after our photo session. I ask Roy's permission to head back to the ranch if he doesn't mind. He doesn't. Roy graciously accepts being appointed the Club's secretary until 17:00. He still has a bit of the 'medium-sized' beer left.

Reassured, I put paper, pens and camera away - leaving the club in good hands.

You just can't believe how hot it is for PARIS! And the - gasp - Météo-France says it is going to last at least another week.

Note:- The server-lady reported a temperature of 39 degrees in the shade in the morning on Wednesday, out of town at the Cadillac Ranch. She also noted that 44 degrees had been recorded in the centre of France.

How Much Fresh Air Does Metropole Need?

Paris:- Thursday, 14. Aug 2003:- It is yet another easy trip from Boullay-les-Troux into Paris as the Route 118 into Paris is empty of cars, buses, caravans, government limos, scooters, trucks of all sizes and motorcycles.

It is rather easy to find a free spot on the minus third level today because the car park is completely empty except for upper levels minus-one and minus-two.

I arrive early enough to saunter over to the newsagent kiosk near Rue de Rivoli for a copy of Le Parisien. The newsagent says it had reached 43 degrees in his little kiosk on Tuesday and he was happy it was only 27 at the moment and he showed me his thermometer.

The club's space is empty and I am at least five minutes early. I have a Schweppes with ice, a newspaper, club forms, blank paper and a pen ready for the meeting.

Reading the headline of 'Pourquoi la canicule est devenue une tragédie' - 'Why the Heatwave Became a Tragedy' - and a couple of paragraphs about why so many people have died from the heat wave - is as far as I get before Angelika Cutler pops in.

She's been in Paris for two weeks already, though this is her fourth trip - and she is taking French classes every morning. Angelika is from Auckland, New Zealand - which is not pronounced like Oakland, California, but I suggest it still might be the 'City of the Week.'

I learn she's spent nearly seven years in Singapore working in public relations, but she packed in her great job to come spend a year in France. Apparently it is quite easy to get a year-long visa on a cultural exchange program if you are under 30 and come from New Zealand. It has something to do with France being nice after testing bombs in the South Pacific 20 years ago.

'Tip of the week' - contact the French consulate in Wellington for details if you happen to be a Kiwi. This particular type of visa means you can work in France!

Singapore has very, very strict rules about throwing anything on the ground and Angelika smiles broadly as she tells me how she laughed when a waiter here told her to tap her cigarette ashes on the floor rather than in an ashtray. It would have meant a 500 dollar fine in Singapore!

Just before 15:30 Roy Trew comes in with new member Elizabeth Trew, who arrived from Brisbane, Australia on Monday. This is her sixth trip to France - I see on the club form. Elizabeth would also like to see air-conditioning added to Metropole Paris she writes. Hmmm, can you put more fresh air in Metropole?

Roy slyly pulls out a half sheet of paper and proudly announces that he registered a new member at last week's meeting - after I had left, and while he was in charge as 'Honorary Acting Secretary of the Week.'

Peter Martin of British Columbia finally makes it into the Café Metropole Club's ranks of members. He had never been in town before on a Thursday during his earlier visits.

Then the discussion turns to the usual where-are-you-from, what-are-you-doing, and so-on, etc. However, while the chatting is in English - it is Aussie and Kiwi-speak and I wonder if I really am a native speaker. Angelika, Elizabeth and Roy talk about places in Australia and New Zealand with their own slang and cultural references. Some city with an unpronouncable name for me - forget about spelling it - is referred to as 'K.K.' for short.

There is a debate about a place called Surfers Paradise in Australia which is or is not a paradise. Elizabeth insists that there are dangerous 'rips' in the ocean and it is usually Japanese tourists who drown in the sea from these riptides. Take care at this beach. No 'rips' at Paris Plage as far as I know, which is good news. Don't fall in the Seine though.

While we are sipping our drinks, I notice a policeman on a bike just outside the café. He is ticketing a green Renault. I'm not sure if he has pulled the driver over or if the car is getting a ticket for parking where you're not supposed to. This could be the 'Event of the Week'... n'est-ce pas?

Roy's 'Tip of the Week to Stay Cool' is to visit the Catacombs and if you're over 60 years old, it will only cost you 3.30 euros to get cool. He was with a pal who was only 54 and he had to ante up the full five euros.

The mutliple conversations cover all kinds of multiple-topics, from grape picking, to the white slave trade in Southeast Asia, visiting Versailles and English-language bookshops.

Picnics are on first when Angelika mentiones a 'slab of beer'. A what? A slab? Yep, that's what they call a six-pack down under.

Everyone tries to get me confused with the rules of cricket - which Roy said he and Lucky Checkley tried to bamboozle the club secretary with too. The 'overs' and 'unders'photo: manhattan skyline, water tower and 'maiden' something or other came up again. I'll stick with tennis, golf and soccer as I do understand some of the rules for those sports.

And the important question for cricket lovers, 'is it played any place in Paris?' In France? I do not know the answer.

Typical view of Manhattan in endless haze, seen from number 7 subway platform in Queens last week.

It is getting close to 17:00 so we pull out our change and say our good-byes and then head in different directions out in the comfortable 27 C temperatures - agreeing it really is much cooler than last week in Paris!

Note:- Through an unsharp memory, the club secretary thinks he recalls seeing a reference to a French cricket club, most likely somewhere in the Paris region. There are, after all, some true Anglophiles living in France.

Club Secretary's Holidays Nearly Over

The regular secretary will resume his post on Thursday, 21. August, for club meeting number 199. There are no other 'possible new details' worth mentioning with regard to this, except that New York airports may not have cleared away the backlog of travellers standed by last week's 'Blackout 2003.'

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' About Page

Being a member of this club is more fun than being cool in the Catacombs. But if you are otherwise relaxed enough, you can read the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page. It will tell you very little about the club except about how free it is. But if information, even in tiny doses, is your goal, you could read something else in the magazine, which is also free.

There is only one other fact worth noting. Actually, not 'other' because it is the only 'fact.' Here it is - 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. The café La Corona won't mind if you chose to buy a refreshment while attending a club meeting though, after walking to the club.

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

Club meetings start about 15:00 sharp on Thursdays and continue until 17:00, in Europe's Zone of Paris Time - which is really 'CET' for short and not 'EZPT' - and elsewhere known as 3 pm to 5 pm in rare 12-hour areas of the planet. Club meetings are only held in the almost-left-bank right-bank Paris part of it.

Not doing anything special during a meeting is tolerated. True 'firsts' are more than welcome though, with 'first' having a higher 'report' value than 'true,' if publishable. This is a general rule rather than a club ex-'rule' or informal 'exception.'

If you prefer to be 'not found' on the Internet, please tell the club's secretary before he or she makesgraphic: club location map you mildly famous, but less famous than some members who bring their fame with them to share with you. 'No rules' have ceased being an 'exception' or a 'rule.' There are some other 'exceptions,' but really, none other members care about.

Talking in any languages at meetings is okay. Dancing may be permitted too. Whatever you say will be honestly appreciated by the other members present, if they are listening, which they really 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 paragraphs are unchanged since last week on account of this week's double club meeting 'report' being somewhat late on account of summer blackouts.

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

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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