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 doesn't mind hanging out of helicopters with a camera on occasion.

The two members compare various heights they known, feared or mastered. Diana remembers sweeping downed branches off the roof of her house in Texas. Larry remembers giving up on north–sloped roofs in Seattle. The edges bothered him, he says.

Part of a day of wine and real estate.

Then there is a time–warp. Larry says, "Retired is the wrong word." After the lady who has come into the club's area with a crying baby gets it to stop by feeding it, time warps back to Larry, who is saying, "Paris – last civilized place on earth."

Everybody – but only those who have actually heard him say this – want to know what he means. He obliges us with, "I have yet to run into an ugly Parisian."

Diana says, "Me too!" I think Stan agrees, but he is sitting too far away for me to hear what he says.

Either that or because today's new member makes himself known. I thought he was with the lady with the baby, but Luke O'Brien is 'testing' the club while the rest of his family is parked elsewhere in the café's 'grande salle.'

From Waterford in Ireland – at first I think Luke says some place in Holland – but Waterford is okay because it is the club's 'City of the Week.' Since the club secretary has been there on more than one occasion, there's no need to trot out Waterford's virtues, which are more than two, both pubs.

As most club members these days seem to be, Luke intends to become a Paris resident too. His employer will be letting him take a sabbatical and Luke wants to spend it in Paris. He agrees to send me an email concerning this, which I will pass on to another club member who knows more about the teaching business.

Diana and Lewis will not be around much longer. Diana says, "We're going to Aix to get some air." This is a hint, of course, that it is 'Group Photo of the Week' time.

And not a moment too late. The sun is just dropping behind somewhere in the direction of the Tour Eiffel, leaving this dove–colored Paris light on the terrace – which suits today's members better than earlier light would have, better than the nightfall to come.

But it's not very warm air out on the terrace so we do the photo quickly, return to La Corona's 'grande salle' and take care of all the little pieces of paper left around by Patrick,photo: afterwards, club area the club's 'Waiter of the Week.'

While we put on our scarves, hats, coats, gloves, parkas, and pick up shopping bags and other odds and ends – but not leftovers – we finish discussing the dubious merits of owning and operating a car in Paris.

This is the 'after' in the club's area of La Corona.

Since I have them with me, I pass over two of the Avis car rental upgrade coupons to the members who agree to take them off my hands. This makes three I've gotten rid of this week. One went to a rock–n–roll lady in Texas, who felt like gambling on finding out if they work in Las Vegas.

I hope it gets delivered. I asked the post office guy for a 'nice' stamp for the envelope, and he found one with the Statue of Liberty on it, about the size of a small blanket. As French stamps go, it was a Texas–sized stamp.

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

This 'report' about today's club's meeting is about as detailed as other recent ones, but only those who have been at the meeting willphoto: sundown, corona terrace know what's been omitted, or forgotten. The 'About the Café Metropole Club' page will not say why the club's secretary has a poor memory, but it does contain some facts about the club.

And this is the after the 'after' on the café's sundown terrace.

The one vital fact you need know is – there aren't many any others. You can become a real lifetime member of this online magazine's real, live and free club by simply becoming a member by attending any of its meetings in Paris, for free. Even for 50 cents plus tax, it would be a heck of a deal.

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

The weekly Thursday club meetings start about 15:00, on any day that is a Thursday afternoon. They continue until about 17:00, in the European Time of Paris' annual 'semi–real winter' – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'les mauvais temps de février' although true – and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm. All club meetings are in Paris.

Doing something interesting at a meeting – like coming to one – is considered clever. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'first' having a decided edge in 'report' value over 'true.' Don't get the wrong idea – 'true' is fine too, especially if it's difficult to believe.

A note of caution – you may have any one of a thousand personal reasons for not wanting to be traceable via thegraphic: club location map Web. If so, be sure to inform the club's secretary that you prefer to be '404 – not found' by Web search engines before being mentioned in a club report.

Former 'rules' are 'former' and have been removed from the club's chronicles except for all the latter ones still online in the archives. All 'exceptions' to any other 'rules' have been suspended forever, just like all the 'rules.'

Talking in any local languages at meetings is fine. If there's a free chair sit – optionally – wherever you like, or haul one over from another part of the café. If they are listening, whatever you say may be honestly appreciated by the other members present, and there usually are some – and if it happens to be written here, it might be read by all the readers of this online magazine, as some of them do part of the time.*

*The above paragraphs are unchanged since last week because the club secretary's 'hearing channels' don't always work in stereo.

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

horz line
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