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Bongo 253

photo, group, terry, tomoko, heather, maureen, kate, ron

Today's group – Terry, Tomoko, Heather, Maureen,
Kate and Ron.

Tomoko Returns!

Paris:– Thursday, 9. September 2004:– Today's weather has been stupendous, worthy of a very good day in July of any year, especially this one. Clouds, if there were any, were lonely. Gentle breezes puffed air warmed to near 30 degrees – it could have been 'National Terrace Day' if there were such a thing.

As of tonight, all this joy is supposed to be over. Spain, according to tonight's TV–weather news, is sending a depression this way. It is rare to get one of these from Spain, so maybe we should salute it.photo, champagne of the week

According to the prediction there will be a wide band of crummy weather stretching across France from the Pyrenees to the North Sea. There will be clouds, some with rain in them, and there may be brief winks of feeble sunlight, but it will be various degrees of disagreeable. Not so cold though, with a high of 25 degrees forecast.

Saturday will be slightly better, expected only to be cloudy, maybe rainy and lousy. And it will be cooler with a high of 23 degrees.

A classy drink at a classy club.

Sunday is supposed to be much clearer, with a big sunball hovering somewhere over the centre of France below Orléans, surrounded by a few puffs of inoffensive clouds. The downside to this is a day's high of 21 degrees, which might seem warm if we hadn't gotten used to nine or ten degrees more.

The First Club Report of the Week

Before leaving for today's club meeting I tie a mental string in my memory to remind myself to look for Le Parisien, which wasn't available at my regular newsstand this morning. I also pack my glasses so I can read anything in the paper smaller than headlines.

I leave a bit early to give myself time to be out in the balmy early afternoon, but have a hard time deciding where to leave the Métro. Maybe at Etienne Marcel, so I can walk through Les Halles? The Cité station's elevator is always an attraction, so this is the one I use.

The Ile de la Cité is baking. I buy a paper from the kiosque that's right there and throw away the mental string. Notre Dame is sitting where it usually is, cooking. The police préfecture, with all of its Libération photos, is dozing. The quays Marché Neuf and Orfèvres are sun–blasted.

It is a relief to be in the light and shade in the Place Dauphine, in this near–rural village at the centre of the world. How the city resists selling it for a trillion euros is a true mystery in these so–called 'liberal' economic times.

The renovations to the Pont Neuf are nearly complete, to just past the centre from the Left Bank. Parts of it look brandphoto, bongo 253 new, especially compared to the part that still looks several hundred years old. Maybe the city will lease it to a toll operator when it's finished.

The terraces along the Quai du Louvre are liberally sprinkled with lazy people doing what they're supposed to do on a day like this – sitting around watching the world go by. There's not a door or window closed anywhere.

The one and only Bongo number 253 at this week's club meeting.

Which is also the case at the club's café, La Corona. The café's 'grande salle' feels like a poolside cabana, with its fronds waving around. I get out the members' booklets and write in the particulars and then look at the place mats advertising horse racing in the Stade de France. Why race at the racetracks when you can do it in a stadium? I don't know.

I look up to see Kate Ernst sitting down. Kate lives in Paris, but has several questions and I am answering all of them when Maureen and Terry Cooper arrive from San Francisco.

The Coopers joined the club in November of 2000, and as then they have brought Bongo, and Moe thinks it may be number 253. It is not the same Bongo that came to the other meetings – they are at home with all the other Bongos.

Bongo 253 looks pretty nifty wearing all the jewels that Moe found on the airplane. She says she isn't jetlagged because the Coopers travel 'a lot' and they are immune.

When Heather Stimmler–Hall arrives she overlooks the club's secretary. "I didn't recognize 'Ed' wearing short sleeves," she says. Kate asks Moe about the whereabouts of Bongo number one.

Terry pulls out a PDA from somewhere to show us a photo of the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile, because he got a free bonbon from it, once. Moe asks, "Is there anything happening we should know about in the next four days?"

While I formulate a reply she says they are already booked to go to the Opéra, seephoto, beer of the week Charles Aznavour, and maybe go to the races. Heather she wants to see the phantasmagoric Bartabas horse show at Versailles, but it is sold out.

Moe says, "Try eBay."

But Heather has already given up on Versailles. "It's so nice out and we haven't had a picnic yet," she says. Yes, I think, everybody who wasted their time in July on the Tour de France probably hasn't had the weather, until now, to have a picnic. All except for the almost nightly ones on the Pont des Arts.

This week's classy beer of the week.

By the time this thought is complete, I find that the others are discussing why missionaries seldom come to Paris. As I am digesting this, they next flit to the news about the remodeling of the Tartine wine bar in the Rue de Rivoli, and then they are promoting 'Au Bistro des Halles.' The Coopers bring wine from California for all their Paris friends – well, no more than they can carry.

Ron Bristol from Austin, Texas, comes in. I mistake Ron for one of the bumper–sticker contest winners and hand him his prize. He looks puzzled, Heather looks puzzled, and I suspect Ron maybe isn't a contest winner.

Continued on page 2...
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