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''Where are the Gypsies?''

photo, group, carlyn, mark, robert, dan, olga, nancy, fred, linda, bob

The 'Group of the Week' includes Carlyn, Mark, Robert,
Dan, Olga, Nancy, Fred, Linda and Bob.'

One Member Noos'd

Paris:– Thursday, 12. May 2005:– The TV–news weather lady comes out and swallows bravely before saying there's a change in the air and things are going to get unstable. This is compared to how they are, which has been nice and bright but a bit windy. In fact it has felt very spring–like with a sparkly blue sky and all this fresh air whooshing around like a glass of tonic in the face. Cool in the mornings but who wants to complain?

Now that you are all relaxed, here's the bad news. My weather map for tomorrow has so many dark clouds, red bolts of lightening, torrential rain lines and sunballs either in front of or behind clouds that I can hardly make out the up–to–the–minute scribbles I've scrawled on top.

It's over the top, out to lunch! Obviously it's not going to be all that bad, just confusing, unstable if you will – that I fall back on my notes which merely say, 'cloud cover, yuk.' The high for the day may be 18 degrees, if the wind along the Channel from the northeast doesn't get a lot above 60 kph.

Intense analysis of Saturday's mess of lines leads me to predict a semi–sunny day, with a high of 16 degrees. You don't need to know the details, just cross your fingers.

Sunday is even more complicated because it will be fairly bright in eastern France and reasonably bright in far–out western France, but in the middle there will be a band of glop, stretching from the Channel to the Pyrenees, sweeping across the country like a giant windshield wiper. The weather lady called it a 'new front' but I say it is a disgrace, with a high of only 16 degrees to boot.

Not that I have details but Monday looks like it might be sinister. It looks like a crossword puzzle with all the boxes filled in with clouds, both white and black. This is, by the way, our former holiday of Pentecôte, and it is probable that France will be celebrating it by having a national schmozzle.

The 'Where are the Gypsies?' Report of the Week

I don't think today is the Queen's birthday. All I know for certain is that the Queen's birthday isn't celebratedphoto, wine of the week on the Queen's birthday, possibly for some technical reason along the lines of Queen Victoria was around so long that nobody could ever imagine having a Queen's birthday on some other day because it would be confusing.

Now that I know I won't be celebrating I put my only Métro ticket in my pocket and set out to walk to the club. I was going to set out earlier but throwing emails in the trash slowed me down. In compensation I decide to pass through the Luxembourg so that I can check on the state of its palm trees.

Back by acclaim, the 'Pot of the Week.'

Some Joes in Hollywood have belittled Paris' palms, claiming that they are hothouse shrubs, little more than overgrown skunk cabbages. We are going to have a beauty contest. Their Sunset Boulevard palms will be wearing skimpy bikinis. They don't know yet that Paris' palms are going to be nudists.

In the Luxembourg the first palm I see is in the shade and it looks ill. The second has some yellow ball–things up at the top of its trunk where the leaves, fronds, start. This isn't a good show. How did they get like this?

Anyhow, I get through the Quartier Latin with time running out, and cross the Pont Neuf without falling off it. I don't get clipped by a racing taxi crossing the Quai du Louvre and I have to hardly rabbit–punch any sightseers further on, clogging up the passage.

At the café Patrick says, "Il y a du monde." By the time I enter the café's 'grande salle' du monde is merely two people, who have come to join the club. Two new members are not so rare these days, but I take off my coat all the same and sit down and start the meeting, bang on 15:00.

We have Carlyn and Robert Alpert from Woodland Hills in California. This is a modest town with average palms that are no threat to Paris palms. They could be cousins, get together and sneer at Hollywood. Carlyn says Woodland Hills is rustic.

Robert tells me he went to school in Portland or Oregon, and used to "Yo–yo between Vancouvers." The very idea leaves me speechless for 30 seconds until I am interrupted by Carlyn who wants to know who jumped into the Seine last Friday night, causing a horde of rescue operations. I seem to remember seeing this in a movie on TV last week, made in 1932.

Luckily Robert has a positive tip about where to change money. He says the Samaritaine gives much better rates than banks or change places.

In fact the Alperts are often visitors in Paris and they are able to compare their present experiences withphoto, secretary's office past ones. Today they are happy with Samaritaine but it wasn't always this way. Then they were over by the Tour Eiffel the other day when a flic guarding it told Carlyn she wasn't supposed to photograph him.

Imagine – six million visitors show up to photograph the Tour Eiffel and there's this cop standing in front of it. What are they supposed to do? Come back when he's off duty?

The club secretary's little office.

Olga and Dan Ciupitu arrive and take over a table in the club's area, but far away by the back wall. I wonder if they have a chill. Except for two old French ladies, who decline to join the club, we have the whole place to ourselves.

Carlyn is telling me about the time she was at the junk sales at Vanves, wearing overalls, and two plainclothes cops demanded her papers, which she didn't have. They let her go because she smiled at them. I wonder if it works with the California Highway Patrol too.

About how free the life is getting in Romania, Dan who is from Sydney, says, "You can talk aboutphoto, coke glass of the week whatever you want today and no one listens now." Then Dan says that it is fun trying to be a Parisian for a couple of weeks – which is easier to do when staying in an apartment.

For example Dan found that he was wasting a lot of Métro tickets because he kept getting on buses on the wrong side of the street because it is the left side of the street in Australia, and the right side here. So he got an Orange card so it wouldn't matter and he can save money at the same time as getting lost.

A 'Nearly Empty Glass of the Week.'

"Where are the musicians on the trains," Carlyn wants to know. She isn't the first to ask, but I still don't know what the RATP did with them. "Yeah, where are the gypsies?" Robert demands. He says there were lots of them down south. It must be the answer – the RATP sent the gypsies down south, lending a bit of Paris folklore to Provence.

Nancy and Fred Ringenburg from Seattle in Washington are the next to join our jolly group, to pepper the club secretary with 'Questions of the Week,' such as about the 'open doors' at Bastille. This brings up the artists' 'open doors' up in Belleville too, plus this very Saturday when it will be museum open doors all night, until early morning.

It is Mark Kritz, who has arrived, taken a seat, and is waving his arms around for the 'Waiter of the Week,' who says this. To impress all present with his 'old hand' status he says, "I've been Noos'd."

Which means, the cable guys came when they said they were going to come and they drilled their holes and putphoto, group, interior cafe in their cable and wired up his computer, and made sure it worked. He already had the Noos cable for his TV, so now he's got it for Internet too.

Another, somewhat dim, view of the 'Members of the Week.'

But this is not all. Linda and Bob Baldwin glide into the club's area, visiting Paris from Canton, Georgia. I think this makes a proper symmetry with last week's Bucharest, so declare Canton to be the 'City of the Week.'

There is some confusing discussion about whether Canton is merely a suburb of Atlanta – is it the biggest city in the world? So I tell the Baldwins about the dancing at La Coupole, in addition to being France's biggest restaurant.

With a full complement we gather on the café's terrace for the 'Group Photo of the Week' late enough for Tomoko to be included but wouldn't you know it but the late arrival who shows up just as we're slotting ourselves back into our still warm seats is none other than... Willy the Bird! Good old Willy has missed a lot of meetings lately, and doesn't hang around long for today's either.

It's not so sunny but it's still fine outside just after five so Mark and I walk over to the Hôtel de Ville to see the Fête du Pain parked out in front, and then we go around to the Rivoli side to the Salon d'Accueil and go inside to see the new exhibition, 'Du Refuge au Piège.' Then Mark goes across the street to the BHV to buy an ethnic dishcloth.

A 'Quote of the Week'

This is sort of a catch–up with last week. It goes like this:– "Dacáphoto, guidebook of the week munca era buná o luau boierii" and is Rumanian, written by Dan. In French the same thing is, "Si le travail était une bonne chose, les riches le garderaient pour eux."

The guide book 'Consultation of the Week.'

About the Café Metropole Club's About Page

Today's club meeting 'report,' with more new members than usual again, was a two–hour marathon of interesting gab, without food but with drink. The virtual 'About the Café Metropole Club' page has some muddy photos, but you can ignore them all and miss little more than a six–pack of words. That the club is a snap to join on any 'Thursday of the Week' is the short version.

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

Club meetings start off about 15:00, in mid–afternoon, 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 'sTZz' although it sometimes is – and known in a few other places as 3 pm to 5 pm. Around somewhere else is not where meetings are so be sure to come to the café La Corona's 'grande salle.' The people shouting in the rear are us.

Grace 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 status with 'true' regardless if 'first' is perfectly believable too, and if it is an alternate form of 'true' with any sort of vague connection to everything.

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 give you somebody else's search results.

Former 'rules' continue to be eradicated week after week after week, month after month, year–in year–out, forever and ever over hill and dale. Nevertheless these may be examined so that you know the history of the past of this great club making it redundant 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 fine too. Whatever you say will be honestly 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 of today's rare appearance of fly–in member 'Willy the Bird.'

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.
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there is no such thing
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Waldo Bini