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''It's Got Good Water''

photo, group, rita and diane

Rita and Diane, the 'Group of 2 of the Week.'

''On the Way to Some Other Place''

Paris:– Thursday, 10. March 2005:– We are holding up. We are facing each morning, looking like the morning before, followed by the grey morning before that – that was as grey as the featureless skies of Inner Sinkiang, the lost interior between China and Mongolia. Right here in downtown Europe.

As I say, endless grey, day after day. This winter will go down in memory as the endless blah that was cold. Le Parisien is making heroic efforts to put a fine spin on it, as in, 'cocktail sans goût.' Cocktail of ditchwater is more like it.

There is good news though. The high for tomorrow should be 10 whole degrees, for the first time in a month. This will not be accompanied with much else to cheer. Winds will pelt us in the morning from the Channel to the tune of 70 kph, and in the afternoon they will blow from the southwest at 60 kph. Two flavors of wind in a single day!

There may be some sunny periods that may become visible in the afternoon. Sunny periods may be aroundphoto, strike of the week traffic on Saturday too but there is supposed to be some sort of cloud blanket across France from about Nantes to the northeast. Above it we may have a high of 7 degrees, and the iffy sunny periods.

Frenzied traffic leaving the Quartier Latin.

Above the cloud line of Saturday, it may be more semi–sunny on Sunday. No better than doubtful golfing weather because it isn't expected to be more than 7 degrees again. Longer range, Le Parisien tells us what the optimist, the pessimist and the realist will see in the sky – mostly clouds.

The 'Brewed' Report of the Week

As you may have guessed, the weather missed the rendez–vous for today's 'Strike of the Week.' Other than this miserable constant everything else has been out of kilter. Radio FIP spun a lot of classical music as if there were a serious threat to the state, when the day only called for the 'strike against nearly everything by just about everybody.'

In a situation like this Parisians are hardy and brave and a lot of them stay home, or if they go out, they go to thephoto, beer of the week movies. Every neighborhood has its share of cinemas. They are over–loud dark halls for cooling off pent–up steam. People who did neither spent their time getting to the Place d'Italie so they could display their displeasure with the government.

Near here I could have seen 'Assassination Tango,' 'La Vie Aquatique' or 'En Chantant Derrière les Paravents.' Instead of seeing any of these, I decided to stick to the day's plan of conducting an exciting Café Metropole Club meeting.

A café beer featuring 'good water.'

At first I thought I would walk to the club's café. On the way I took a chance at Raspail, got into the Métro free, and hey–Bob! – a Métro train came along right away. It was nearly empty. A delirious announcement said other lines were nearly empty of trains.

It's lucky I left the Métro at Odéon. A middle–sized traffic jam near the Pont Neuf contained the 'Fiat 500 of the Week' which I doubt I would have captured if I had stayed on until Cité or Châtelet. You see them where they are unless you are someplace else.

I failed to notice the heightened security around the court thing on the Ile de la Cité, except for seeing eight police vans turn into the Quai des Orfévres. On the right bank the Quai du Louvre seemed to have less jammed traffic than usual, but there were many more people walking around – probably coming from or going to movies.

In the club's area of La Corona I managed to take care of details like taking off my coat, and writing the date, and reading in the paper about the goals of today's strikes. Very cocky they are, predicting the size of the message they will be sending.

I have just read that there will be another strike next month if the government fails to notice today's, when Diane Chase arrives from Sacramento in California. Because I have forgotten to remember, Diane reminds me that she joined the club last summer, after trekking around France on a bicycle.

According to this member it has been raining in California so she decided to come here despite the unseasonalphoto, cafe of the week winter weather. She took a tour this morning, is here at the club, and will change hotels tonight – having found that some cheap hotels are, well, cheap. Ah, full of idiotic young people having a loud time.

A café with a side order of so–so water.

As for motive, "If you really want to come, six days are okay," Diane says, adding, "I don't ski." A couple of questions establish that there is lots of skiing near enough to Sacramento, and far enough away from Paris.

Diane spends her working days in Sacramento helping to sell beer. She says she would like to take a bicycle beer–tour of Belgium, to seek the origin of their best 'micro' brands. Apparently these are models for 'garage' breweries in America. "They are taking over western USA," she says.


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