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Cold In Bogota

photo: ric, tomoko, jason, dimitri, dennis laurel

Club secretary crashes group photo with Tomoko, Jason,
Dimitri, Dennis and Laurel.

Even If It Is Not 'City of the Week'

Paris:- Thursday, 23. October 2003:- This week, without any reference to whether the club is in its 4th or 5th year, the weather comes back to its habitual opening spot because it is ghastly. It is less than 'normal' for late November. It is damp and bone-chillingly cold.

Yesterday was a pretty normal one for mid-November, but today is really in the pits. I saw a pharmacy thermometre announcing five degrees at noon and doubt it ever went any higher, even if the official number was six or seven. You know, 'official' weather is never measured where people are. They take the most Mediterranean area of Paris and that's where they count it. For the curious it is measured on the height of the low Montsouris.

Regardless of the temperature Le Parisien's forecast this morning was for a miserable day, and the paper wasn't wrong. On Monday when I mentioned this possibility, I forgot to mention that anybody without a hat will need an umbrella. Consider it mentioned.

Tomorrow might start off partly sunny but it will become less so as the day goes on. Tomorrow is also going to start off with minus two degrees. It might even be a miserable record for 'this time of year.' The high is predicted to be seven, which is still right on the button for late November.

For Saturday and Sunday you have a choice of partly sunny or half cloudy skies. For air temperatures your choices are eight or nine degrees. Myself, I won't put much faith in the higher number. Just think it will be seven during the day until Monday and if it gets higher, you'll be a winner.

Today's Club Meeting 'Report'

Getting to the club meeting today is done just about the same as on other Thursdays except that I keep my hands in my pockets until I get on the Métro to ride to Châtelet. Once cruising through my habitual back alleys between the Rue de Rivoli and the Seine, I return my hands to their pockets.

On the way to La Corona I pass a gent wearing a 'Nove Scotia' t-shirt under a thin jacket, with his hands deep in his pockets and shoulders tightly hunched, to cut down on their exposure area. I almost stopped to tell him Metropole's URL so he could be prepared next time he visits Paris, but the grim look in his eyes stopped this foolish idea.

At the café its crew is pretending to be busy, with staff outnumbering clients. Everybodyphoto: dimitri 'ça vas' everybody, but everybody is fibbing. In La Corona's 'grande salle' I find Laurel Avery guarding the entire club's area - with ease - there's no one else attempting to hijack it.

The club's newest member, Daguerréotypista Dimitri.

Laurel is worried about what to write for her 22nd 'Paris Journal.' She only has about 80 hours to think something up. A piffle, I reassure her. She tells me what she's thinking of doing. I wish I had her nerve. But she's a lot better-looking than me so she might get away with it.

Jason Hraynyk, who looks familiar, arrives. He says he missed some meetings because he was in Britain for a family affair. I suspect he may be a member, and when Laurel says 'Jason' I remember that I don't remember his family name. He asks Laurel what she does.

Laurel says she is an artist rather than a writer and adds that she would have gone to Canada if she hadn't moved to Paris. "I hear Toronto is like New York," she says.

Jason sums up the difference in weather between Canada and Paris. "It could be minus 15 there and feel warmer than plus five here," he says. I have heard of it being minus 15 in Toronto and don't think Paris' plus five comes anywhere close, but then Paris isn't beside Lake Ontario, but might be nearer the North Pole.

Then Jason tells us how cold it is in Bogota. This subject has no legs, so the two of them compare their recent film careers. Doing this causes Tomoko Yokomitsu to arrive and she almost immediately hands me a script that she has written. Then she brightly says, "Happy Birthday."

She is referring to the club's embarrassing fourth anniversary, which was discovered to be recent at last week's meeting. Since then, many other events have gotten in the way of deciphering the club's age - today calculated to be meeting 52 of its fourth year, or 208 in all. Do not memorize either of these numbers. We'll probably need a notaire to figure out the mess.

Dennis Moyer hovers into the café's 'grande salle' and before sitting down is telling us that we must get up at dawn on Sunday to see the movie about the people we replaced in the Rue Daguerre (details below).

Laurel, Tomoko and Jason are looking puzzled about this when arch- Daguerréotypista Dimitri Shipounoff arrives from the same direction as Dennis. When asked to do so, Dimitri amiably signs the members' booklet with a flowing but undecipherable signature. He skips the questionnaire, leaving the signature as the only evidence of his membership. I forget to read him his 'rights.'

Jason says, "'Patience' is a non-existant word in a French dictionary."

This is the cue for the 'Waiter of the Week' to arrive - or maybe he has arrived just before Jason has uttered the above. "Déca allongé," says Tomoko. Dennis says, "Sancerre," and Dimitri says, "Côtes du Rhône - pas frais!"

Jason takes this as a cue to tell us a good book about café is named, 'The Devil's Cup.' He says there is a part in it where two jokers set off in a car from New York to find the worst cup of coffee in America. He says they give up the search in Arizona.

Then Dennis, glass in hand, toasts 'Metropole's' birthday. The club's secretary points out that the magazine's anniversary is in February. "Is it on Valentine's Day?" Dennis wants to know. When the magazine's 'Ed' isn't sure, Dennis insists it must be on Valentine's Day.

Jason switches from Bogota to the east coast and a story about his grandfather riding race horses from Canada to Cuba. Ah, riding horses at race tracks, from Canada to Cuba. Dimitri says he used lead hot horses around to cool them off. Dennis says something about always betting 'place' and Jason says his grandfather agrees with this even if he gets Jason to do the betting.

This leads Jason to laud Havana - as a place where his grandfather raced in the 1930s and as a place he, Jason, visited once, carrying his grandfather's memories.

"I got two pairs of Havana Joe's shoes in Berkeley," Dennis says. Then it's cigars, putting US bands on Cuban cigars, more race tracks, particular races - and finally we arrive at Chantilly.

There's its race track, its château - with its unique art collection in the Musée Condé,photo: blitzed group whipped cream, soft and hard, and lace. Chantilly, to hear the members talk, is a magic world apart. The secretary wonders where it is.

Experimental 'blitzed' photo of part of today's group.

Then the members compare film roles. Tomoko was a Japanese tourist last week, trying to get a fired chicken out of a soft-drink automat. Dimitri was a White Russian in an Eric Rohmer film soon to hit the salles. Dimitri says the working title was 'Triple Agent.' "No one knows the whole plot," he says.

One extremely clever member remembers to warn us about changing to Winter Time next weekend. We discuss whether Britain does this, or is just plain timed-out. Those present look startled when I remember that GMT is across the Channel. Britain is the home of zero-time.

Tomoko says there is a distinct advantage to flying to London from Paris. "You get there at atime earlier than when you left Paris;" she says, approximately. Actually she says, "You arrive when you leave."

Continued on page 2...
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