horz line

''Café or Computer Mogul?''

photo: group, stan, tomoko, diana, larry, ana, lewis, luke

Stan, Tomoko, Diana, Larry, Ana, Lewis and Luke form
today's 'Group of the Week.'

'Question of the Week'

Paris:– Thursday, 26. February 2004:– Take the following as a correction to Monday's weather forecast. While the actual weather hasn't been so very different from the prediction, it has been nowhere near as rotten as threatened.

This is compared to the TV–news weather. As for 'RealFeel' weather, which calculated a –6 high for Tuesday on account of 19 kph winds from the north–west, the real weather here seemed like springtime in Hawaii in comparison.

This morning's Le Parisien forecast called for generalized snowfall north of Paris on Friday, and extremely timid semi–sunshine to the east and west. But tonight's TV–news weather says the cool and low–pressure Atlantic front moving snowfall in from the west rates an 'orange alert' warning – which won't quite reach the Paris area, where the high is expected to be five degrees. It will be crummy, but not total gloom.

Winds from the north puffing south at 50 kph will continue from Friday to Saturday, which will ensure that Paris has a high of two or three at the worst, with mostly cloudy skies admitting rare glimpses of the sun.

Subtract the wind for Sunday, and the rest stays the same. Le Parisien is a bit indefinite about it, with snowfall shown south of Paris and the mixed skies to the north.

Since the paper's graphic requires putting the high–low temperatures right on Paris' location, I guess this is the best they can do. The paper suggests that everybody stay home until Monday, unless you fell like deliberately exposing yourselves to the Arctic delights of the Alps.

The Only 'Report of the Week' this Week

When I arrive at the Quai du Louvre this afternoon just before 15:00 the sun is shining and there doesn't seem tophoto: soupbowl cafe, super cake, cream be a snowflake within 50 kilometres, more or less. There are even a few of the hardier types perched at tables on the café La Corona's terrace.

With Monsieur Ferrat behind the cash–desk at La Corona's bar I exchange the greetings of the day and the club's alternate 'Waiter of the Week' says that there are already members awaiting the begin of the meeting.

The soupbowl of café is a club mainstay, but the ultrarich dessert is only for the carefree.

The café's 'grande salle' is sprinkled with a few people enjoying its peaceful calm, while deciding whether to walk around a bit outside or just waste the afternoon where they are. If I weren't the club's secretary, I'd be outside catching the cosmic solar rays.

But I am this club's secretary so I keep going to the rear on the café's 'grande salle' to the club's area where I find Larry Frame. He has come early so he can eat the club's 'Food of the Week' in secret. And so he should. It looks like it might be outlawed anywhere west of the Azores.

Within minutes we are joined by Lewis Rosenthal and Stan Fleener. Lewis has brought his passport to show me the rare entry–and–exit or exit– and–entry rubber stamps put in it by immigration officials in the course of a recent Eurostar trip to London and back.

Although we can't figure them out, they prove that Lewis has not overstayed his stay in France, and has technically renewed his legal status here. Not many people go to this trouble – because it is unknown if anybody ever checks these things if the visitor is never involved with illegal activities such as eating pizza in the Assembly National.

Ana Escomel arrives and quickly observes that Larry does not seem to be hasty with his high–power dessert, and appropriates some. She also exchanges some comments with Stan in Spanish, making it the club's honored 'Language of the Week.'

Larry is in the tedious process of moving to France legally. He says he has a 17–page guide put out to aid immigrants, and he has gotten part of the way through it.

Since France has many laws and many exceptions to the laws, and many 'laws' are merely statements of principle, and what makes them work are a bewildering variety of decrees, it is not easy to comply with the 'rules' governing setting up a legal residence here.

This is altogether too complicated for including in a club meeting 'report,' so let's just say that getting a visa forphoto: eurostar passport stamp, france permanent residence is possible, if you are good at hurdles. Money helps too, but not as much as you might imagine.

Lewis' passport containing a bonafide 'Chunnel' entry, or exit, stamp. Note the choo–choo.

In addition to this, Ana has tips for Larry, about 'how to get' an apartment. Even for Parisians this is a formidable hurdle. She says – paraphrased – "Be sure to pick a location with a good café around the corner."

But HEY! club meetings are supposed to be fun. I'm sure this is a misquote that Lewis says next, to Larry. "Are you a retired café or computer Mogul?" To which Larry replies, "Retired."

"What kind of café is that?" Ana wants to know. But Larry is telling us about an ad in a real estate flyer, for a place totalling 450 square metres. According to the ad, there a big house, an atelier, and a small house or apartment, but only 100 square metres is liveable, and the other 350 square metres is a 'fixer–up.' Price – only 2.2 million euros, 'as is.'

Tomoko interrupts this topic by arriving. "I was sleepy after lunch," she says, adding that she's looking for an apartment too.

When I switch hearing channels I hear Larry say, "My sister arrived in Paris during the blizzard last year," – which I assume to mean that his sister thinks Paris has a climate like Greenland.

When I switch back, Ana is comparing her Reeboks to – whose? Diana Rushing has arrived during this exchange, but I can't remember whether he wears Reeboks or knockoffs, or if it is Ana, who got her's on sale for $39.

Diana does say she went out to La Défense to see it. She did not go up in the elevator to the top of the Grande Archephoto: real estate & wine though. Larry says he wouldn't go up in it either, although he doesnt mind hanging out of helicopters with a camera on occasion.

Continued on page 2...
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