...Continued from page 1

Bryen says he has been reading Metropole for years and coming to Paris for years, but never on Thursdays. He says there are flights from Winnipeg to London allowing Thursdays in Paris, but not often.

Asked if anything exciting has happened in Canada recently, all he can think of is Paul Martin becoming Prime Minister after the Liberals nearly got a majority about a month ago. No other members claim to be aware of this, and nobody bothers asking 'Paul who?'

Member Kate Ernst arrives as if she attends a meeting a month, but it has been 13 months since she joined the club. Back then Kate was from Manhattan.

After explaining that there is no 'drinking age' in Europe except in some obscure decrees, another question about where to buy fabrics is answered fairly successfully. For some reason Marion tells us her daughter used to live in Hoboken, oh, a long time ago.

But she recently returned and found that it has become an 'in' place for people in the New York area who are unable to fit into the meat packing district on party nights. Also, of course, either Marion or her daughter has an uncle who went to school with Frank Sinatra. Otherwise Hoboken keeps up an old New Jersey custom – "It hasn't changed much," Marion says.

We are quite a bit of time into the meeting before a 'Waiter of the Week' is mobilized into spreading a bit of drink around. Giant beers sprout on tables along with great plates of chicken and frites and rainbowed varieties of other drink.

Once I stand up to take some utility photos of the 11 members at the line of tables I decide to stay up and try an parlay the members into the 'Group Photo of the Week,' which they agree to with hardly any grousing. This gets carried off, as never, never routinely. Well, Barry can't quite see the camera, nor it him, but this is routine.

More news from Winnipeg. "Not yet," Bryen says when asked whether it's summer there yet. The other burning question – 'Do Canadians still do all their shopping in the United Statesphoto: kate, elizabeth, telephone so they can smuggle stuff across the border?' – gets a financial basics reply. It depends on the yo–yo situation of the dollar. At the moment, I think, it's not worth it.

Elizabeth makes the new phone go 'glak.'

With the members being so many and spread over a fair length of tables, there are parties going on at either end and the secretary is in the middle not getting much in the way of quotable notes. 'Laughing,' I write. More questions. Is there a bike rental at Giverny?

Which places are best for one–day excursions? Joe says six – Versailles, Fontainebleau, Provins, Chartres, and I can't keep up. Mont Saint–Michel is everybody's favorite.

The 'Waiter of the Week' arrives with some strange bills. All the food is on one and all the drinks are on another, but there are about six of them. Members haul out cash and sprinkle it in the plastic saucer, and some use it to upgrade from too–small coins to paper.

Kate tells us about some wonderful fellow she met at a portable telephone boutique. She says she threw her portable away about ten years ago, and now that she wants to use one again, they work different. The guy was really good explaining her new one she says.

After some fiddling, Elizabeth gets it to ring. Glak glak glak. It's default ring sounds like a duck with pneumonia. Elizabeth pushes its buttons and finally says, "You have two messages. One is from Orange." This is the name of the phone company, a name you are not supposed to think is linked to France Télécom.

Kathy gives me one of the bills. I've forgotten to have my café, so I look at it knowing it's not for me. It says, 'supplement direct,' and 50 cents. Value–added tax is included. No one will admit to eating or drinking a 'supplement direct.'

Nor should anybody.

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

This 'report' about today's club's meeting is a slim approximation of what happened at today's meeting. Thephoto: tour eiffel, 14 july 'About the Café Metropole Club' page has some other information, but you can skip it. The easiest way to find out more about the club is by joining it, like the army.

Fireworks from the Champ de Mars last night.

You can become a real lifetime member too of this online magazine's real, live, and free club by becoming a member in a second by signing–in yourself any of its meetings in Paris, for free. There are no hidden costs, real or imaginary, and getting anything to drink is totally optional if you are not thirsty.

The club's 'rules' were eradicated by the club's members long ago. The club's sole other distinction is that it is the only club related to an Internet magazine that still has no newsletter to send you. When this will happen is a mystery nobody wants cleared up.

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

The weekly club meetings begin about 15:00, on all days that are Thursday afternoons. Meetings continue until about 17:00, in the western European Time of Paris' – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'July's mi–mi times' although they sometimes are – and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm. Club meetings are held in Paris unless the secretary gets some other offer.

Doing anything clever at a meeting – like being at one – is considered the opposite of not being at one. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'first' having a much greater 'clever' value than 'true.' 'True' is perfectly acceptable too, especially if it's a 'first.'

Only one note of caution – you may have any one or two personal reasons for not wanting to be traceable via the Web. If so, be sure to inform the club's secretary that you prefer to be '404 – not found' by Web search engines before becoming 'found' in one of these club reports.graphic: club location map

Former 'rules' remain 'former' week after endless week and have been purged from the club's huge volumes of chronicles except for all the originals still online buried deep in the archives, which you can read if you can find them.

Talking to other club members at meetings is an encouraged activity rather than optional. If there's an empty chair sit – still optional – wherever you like, or haul one over from another part of the café.Whatever you say may be honestly appreciated by other members present if they are listening, and there usually are some – and if it should chance to be written here, as a quarter of it sometimes is.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because few members other than the club's secretary have even seen Hoboken in person.

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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