horz line

''Hey, That's My Bike!''

photo, group, dan, olga, betty, rob, jerry, susan, doug

The 'Group of the Week' featuring Dan, Olga, Betty, Rob,
Jerry, Susan and Doug.

''A Banana Stand In Uzbekistan''

Paris:– Thursday, 19. May 2005:– There isn't any question of me giving a weather forecast that you can bet the family cat on so we need to decide what sort of variant prediction I should make. This is Paris so maybe it should be impressionistic, or maybe you would like one that it is in the mood – the mood of the day, the mood of the cigarette lady in the tabac, or in the mood for love.

Frankly I am not sure I can fake any of these moods. But just as frankly, I'm getting tired of the Thursday night TV–weather news forecasts and Le Parisien's little weather maps, with their cute phrases like the 'weather bites back.'

Just think, you are coming to Paris this weekend and you are going to lay out a pile of bread at Cartier's for an engagement ring and then you are going to drink Champagne on the Pont des Arts or the Pont Neuf or the second deck of the Tour Eiffel, and I'm going to predict morephoto, beer of the week and more clouds for Friday, and winds from the southwest of 60 kph, plus a certain humidity with a temperature of... 24 leaping degrees!

More and more clouds isn't romantic is it? This might end things before they begin. Might as well get the ring from Tati if they are still in business. If it would only rain! Warm and humid but with rain lying around in black pools, being riffled by the wind, making the neon reflections glitter and wiggle. You want it?

The 'Beer of the Week' was not the largest.

Unstable is the word for Saturday that the TV–weather lady chose to use, probably with good reason. But it will be cooler, something on the order of 19 degrees. If you hang on Sunday will arrive and it might be sunnier. Sunnier than 'unstable' this is and if Saturday leaks into Sunday I doubt it. All in all, it is unlikely to be wet enough to be romantic and you can put its 18 degrees wherever you threw the cat.

The '99th Best Café in the World' Report of the Week

We've had our 'white nights' and some people might have been married in white, but yesterday Paris held what may have been its first white funeral. This was for record producer Eddie Barclay, who was famous for 'discovering' just about everybody in the music business after the war. Eddie was also famous for discovering Saint–Tropez and inventing white nights there. At Saint–German–des–Prés all 'le monde' was out in white while Eddie was loaded into his Chevrolet to be whisked down to Saint–Tropez, one more time.

If I had bought the paper earlier I could have read about this riding the Métro but instead I 'read' the underground posters, without learning anything new. All the same I rode to Cité, where I did not see any lawyers protesting in front of the Palais de Justice. These, and ones in Lille, were on the TV–news tonight, again.

The mass of people in front of Notre Dame did not seem to be demonstrating in favor of weeks composed entirely ofphoto, perrier, water Sundays so I walked around to the back to see if there was any unrest there. All was quiet. The Ile Saint–Louis across the way was equally in doze and the river was empty except for a paddle–wheel sightseeing boat gliding past the Hôtel de Ville.

The 'Water of the Week' was not the fizziest.

The flower market was in bloom and the towers on the Conciergerie were poking the clouds, their flags bright little patches of color against the light gray overhead. Crossing the Quai du Louvre a convoy flanked by cops slithered through the stopped jam with lots of lights flashing, bells and whistles. They should have signs on them saying they saw it on TV so I don't have to answer questions about what they're doing.

But enough of this frippery. In the club's café, in its 'grande salle,' there are few and the club's area is tidy, with the 'Waiter of the Week' being Patrick. Within a few minutes I am joined by Olga and Dan Ciupitu who are still walking around, as Dan will later say, 'about 10 hours a day.'

Into this scene drops Rob Blasdel who is dressed for bicycle riding. Rob is from Herndon in Virginia and he says he took up bicycle riding again about 18 months ago. In fact Rob has just bicycled to the club meeting from Amsterdam.

"I told too manyphoto, odometre, 535 km people so then I had to do it," he says. It looked like it would be a walk–over, "Because Holland is flat." It doesn't show too clearly on maps that the hills start around Brussels. After 11 or 12 days on the road, in sunshine and rain, Rob climbed on a train at Saint–Quentin to make sure he got to Paris in time for the club meeting.

The 'Odometre of the Week' was the truest.

This is a 'first' all out of proportion with the many other club 'firsts' but in no way diminishes them even if some are insignificant. Rob asks us to keep en eye on his bicycle which is chained to a tree outside on the café's terrace.

For the few doubters I am sure are reading this please take the time to look closely at Rob's odometre. It says '535 kilometres,' which is the distance from Amsterdam to Saint–Quentin, plus the ride–around in Paris today.


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