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A Smell of Frites

photo, group, dan, olga, jeremy, rosemary, heather, bert, april, blake, pont, bill

This week's 'Group of the Week' is not the same as last
week's 'Group of the Week.'

Shower Curtain–free Zone

Paris:– Thursday, 5. May 2005:– I am not proud of the marks I've put on the weather maps in today's Le Parisien. I watched the TV–weather news twice and the result has been to make me less certain of the weather than when I miss the TV–news entirely.

It probably won't matter because the predicted weather is not supposed to be very good or very bad. There will be no heatwave and no hurricane for example. Okay, now to details. The part where I scribbled the wavy lines meaning passing clouds, is past Paris tomorrow, so you can forget it.

Behind the scribble there will be some clouds, getting sunnier in the afternoon, increasing to maybe half sunny by the time I get up. The good news is that the temperature should be a couple of degrees more than today, say 18. That's not too shabby.

On Saturday the scribbled area of the map is in the north. Somewhere below a horizontal line running through Roissy it may be partly sunny and the further south you go the sunnier it will get, according to the forecast. Only the temperature will be less than nifty, hangingphoto, heather, dogs up at 16 degrees, that's all.

By Sunday the scribbled area will have swung like a barn door, to lie up against the Alps, a long way away. Behind there will be a new invasion of clouds from the west, but this may only be noticed in the western parts of France.

Here in the boring middle we might have mixed cloudy skies interspersed with sunny skies – in general, it's supposed to be sunnier – but the temperature may not do better than match Saturday's 16 degrees.

Clipped out of the photo above – the member dogs.

I think the weather lady said something about rain too, on one of these days, but my TV antenna isn't the greatest so I couldn't see the image too well. It may have been the lines on the screen flickering instead of rain.

The 'Shower Curtain–free Zone' Report of the Week

There was a huge splash of rain last night. It was coming down like it was a rehearsal for a monsoon, with each drop holding about a half–litre of water. Hitting all the fresh new leaves it made a considerable racket too. I only add this here so that if you think I leave rain out of the 'weather reports,' above, you'll know that it does rain here, even if it's not official.

After all, without rain where would the French umbrella industry be? Out on the street if there's a bit of faint mist, pop! out come the umbrellas as if by magic. All the people you see walking around here in their tight tops and huggie jeans – all these people are carrying hidden umbrellas.

Obviously the great question is always, "Why have they got umbrellas and I have none?" Evenphoto, icecream, wine when I am wearing my winter coat there's no place to hide a hidden umbrella in it. So where do they hide them? What are they concealing?

Better in Paris – ice cream and wine.

I would have been thinking hard about this today but it wasn't raining, so I walked to the club meeting. Even the Marco Polo fountain near Port Royal was dry, its water–jet turtles cocked and ready to fire at the prancing horses, but no aqua nada.

Instead the little kids were sailing their rental boats on the big round pond in from of the Luxembourg palace, under this year's waving palms. The pool's little fountain in the middle was spitting up a column of water about one metre in the air, hardly high enough to fall back into the pool in proper drops.

Down by Odéon all the café terraces were packed. This reminds me that I forgot to mention that today is a holiday when I mentioned today's saints on Monday. Maybe it is the reason for there being two saints today. Maybe it is the reason it is not raining today. Whichever, a lot of Parisians are away in order to take part in the traffic jams programmed for roads around France – it's the only long weekend during this year's version of May.

What with one thing and another I am a bit late crossing the Pont Neuf, but I do notice a smell of frites on the Quai du Louvre. It must be outdoor frites season again. Or maybe it is because the riverside speedway is closed, and all the drivers in traffic jams on the quay have their radios tuned to 'Frites FM.'

As I move into the club's area I am instantly joined by Olga and Dan Ciupitu from Sydney, Australia. Before they went there 20 years ago they started out in Bucharest – or Bucuresti, Romania. Sydney has had it, so Bucharest gets the coveted 'City of the Week' distinction.

Olga and Dan have 'no real reason' for being in Paris, except they "Come to Europe to escape the daily routine," as Dan says. In fact, in Australia, if you put up with the 'dailyphoto, bill's flags, wch routine' for 20 years, you get to have a two– month paid vacation.

While I am trying to find out if there are any shortcuts Jeremy Stahl arrives from New York City and Herndon, Virginia, looking for Heather Stimmler–Hall. Jeremy becomes a club member without pain, because Heather shows up fairly quickly, with her two tiny dogs that have names I've forgotten again.

Bill Hall's initials on his sleeve – W.C.H.

Hot on her heels Pont and Bill Hall arrive, from Monkton, Maryland. They have been directed to this very club in this particular café by member Dana Shaw, Bill's cousin. Ah, 2nd cousin this is, upon reflection that requires the service of a couple of fingers to figure out. Pont says Jan and Dana are alive and well in Florida, which I'm sure other members will be glad to hear.

I have this half–digested when April and Blake Page, from Dallas, Texas, arrive from Rotterdam or Amsterdam or one of those Dutch places up north. Blake says, "It's the first time we've done boom, boom – it's too much!" Blake means they are on one of these 'five–countries–in–10 days' trips, and he adds it'll probably be the last time.

News from the north – "We were in Rotterdam for Queen's Day." According to Blake this is a fairly stunning annual festival that involves a considerable country–wide party that has nothing to do with tulips.

April wants to know about European bathrooms, after having tried a half–dozen of the hotel versions. Besides many being no larger than telephone booths, many do not have shower curtains. Also missing, soap and towels, or only miniature sizes.

Well, they are not worth stealing, are they? It's easier to mop up a small lake of water than buy a new showerphoto, part group, bert curtain after every guest. You see, I should have explained, nobody has a shower curtain at home – unlike the hidden umbrellas. Hotels would be where you find them, if there were any. But they aren't there so there aren't any in Europe – it's a shower curtain–free zone.

Another view, only part of today's group.

I try to find out if anybody seriously misses air conditioning. Some members begin to doubt the secretary's motives – who cares about air conditioning? This isn't Dallas or Sydney.

Actually, members care. As in, what has France done for the old folks who didn't get bumped off in the 2003 heatwave? Oh golly! Try and explain how the French look like they are going to go on strike during the 'lost' holiday of Pentecôte – the holiday everybody is meant to work so the government will have an extra two billion in tax revenues for buying the old folks air conditioners.

Dan says, "My grandfather used to say if work was good, then rich people would want to do it." Before I can find a ready reply to this, Dan adds, "Who is working? Everybody is shopping!"

He means at the Samaritaine, over by the Pont Neuf. Yes, today is a holiday, so it might be open. And there's the answer! If everybody goes shopping on Monday Pentecôte, 16. May, might it not be better than everybody going to work? The government will get all that extra value–added tax – 19.6 percent.

Two more new members have arrived. They are Rosemary and Bert du Aime, who live on a houseboat at Port Marly, near Saint–Germain–en–Laye. Rosemary and Bert have had the club recommended to them by members Priscilla Pointer and Bob Symonds.

I think a penny drops when I see member Dennis Moyer gliding into the café and up to the club's area, but it turns out that he hasn't already met Rosemary and Bert – who have lived around Paris for a long time.

Then, now, it is 'Group Photo of the Week' time. If Tomoko is going to miss it then so be it. Out on the café's terrace I am surprised to see it as full of holiday loungers as it ever is in thephoto, book paris 2005, by rick steves summer. It is almost a standing–room– only situation of getting the photo, as hordes of strollers are passing, somewhat faster than all the cars waiting the street for the lights at Pont Neuf to do something.

Final questions – what does Europe do for bug screens? Bugs have been banished from the Paris part of Europe. Where they still exist, we use anti–bug devices so we can get away with screenless windows.

Pont Hall's guide, an alternative to Heather's 'Paris Adventure Guide.'

Blake mentions dangerous situations he's seen, and wonders about lawyers filing suits every which way. The answer is, dangerous situations exist, but lawyers have to look out for themselves.

Finally, to "Where are the vanilla suburbs?" I have no answer. At least not one I can fit in to the last five minutes of a meeting. The sun is shining, the new leaves are rippling in the river's breezes and sparkles are tap– dancing on the surface of the water under the lacy Pont des Arts, where a couple of hundred of the 'at large' are gong nowhere in no hurry.

About the Café Metropole Club's About Page

Today's club meeting 'report,' with more new members than usual, did not lack for talk but was light on food other than ice cream. The romantic 'About the Café Metropole Club' page has some blurry photos, but you can ignore them all and miss little more than a couple of words. The club is easy to join on any 'Thursday of the Week' is the condensed version.

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

Club meetings start off about 15:00, three hours after noon, on Thursday and continue for two whole hours until 17:00 on the same afternoon, in the western European Time zone – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'TsZZ' although it sometimes is – and known in a few other places as 3 pm to 5 pm. Around somewhere else is not where meetings happen so be sure you come to the café La Corona's 'grande salle.'

Be darned clever at a meeting – by being at one or more. Hang around for a hour or two with new friends especially if you have the time for it. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'first' having equal worth than 'true' regardless if 'first' is perfectly believable too, and if it is an acceptable form of 'true' with any sort of vague connection to anything at all.

A note of caution – you may have any one or more personal reasons for remaining unfindable 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. If in doubt toss your name into Google..graphic: club location map A made–up name might affect the search results.

Former 'rules' continue to be abolished week after week after week, month after month, year–in year–out, forever and ever. Nevertheless these may be examined so that you know the history of the past of this great club making it unnecessary to repeat it like we often try to avoid doing.

Talking to other club members at meetings is encouraged rather than optional if there aren't any. There are usually free chairs, so sit – wherever you like. Standing up is okay too. Whatever you say will be properly appreciated by other members present if there are any that are listening, and there usually are some – and if it should chance to be written here.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because no shower curtains can be cool.

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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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