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All Talking At Once

photo, group, dan, walter, olga, dietrich, shirley, philippe, vince, roland, kathleen, jerry, sue

This week's favorite 'Group Photo of the Week.'

Let's Hear It for Wayne!

Paris:– Thursday, 26. May 2005:– Generalities about the weather are often misleading, like the one about Parisians thinking there is a Mediterranean climate here. Near–white walls, window shutters, and a couple of hired palms give this illusion, but it is all a bunch of shifty baloney.

As soon as the temperature gets civilized, goes a dot above 25 degrees, Parisians start to mutter about how hot it is, how they can't stand it, how terrible it all is – when it is no more than just comfortable. One hesitates to wonder what they might say if they lived in Nice, Perpignan or Nîmes.

Well, I have bad news for Parisians. Due to some global fluke in the weather department, we are having summer–type Nice, Perpignan and Nîmes weather sent to us – because – those of us who can stand it, deserve it! Parisians can keep carrying their umbrellas and I don't give a tinker's hooter.

Here's what we have for sunshine fans – one big sunball on Friday for pretty much the whole darn country, with the highest temperatures concentrated in the centre of the country. For tomorrow expect 29 degrees on the Riviera and 33 degrees right here in downtown Paris, France.photo, two time watch

Saturday will see this ease up a bit – to satisfy fried Parisians? – but the one big sunball will still be blazing over most of the country, to give us a high temperature of 26 degrees. There may be a few clouds up along the Channel coast, but nobody here will care.

Weather–like two–time watch has Houston and Paris time.

Whatever front that heralds the end of this summer sample will be edging in from the Atlantic on Sunday, producing clouds in Brittany, Normandy and that northern part near the Channel that isn't quite Belgium. It might still be fairly sunny and the forecast high is 25 degrees. This is fine for May, and great for voting next Sunday, when France will decide if it wants the new European Constitution or chaos.

The 'Not Chartres for Monet' Report of the Week

When I set off for the club it is about 30 degrees in the shade and it is a bit humid. This hasn't been going on a long time so it is still a few degrees cooler in the Métro underground at Raspail. There aren't a lot of other passengers and none that are eccentric, and the week's crop of posters is undistinguished, so getting out at Odéon is no pain

The trees along the Boulevard Saint–Germain are still green but the air has a cooked look as if southern France has moved in and if some of the cars would give up the boules players could take over while the shade oozes into an afternoon doze.

Some wide folks are creeping along the sidewalks on Dauphine that are only 1.45–people wide. Going down to the Seine I have to keep looking over my shoulder to see if a bus isphoto, kir of the week coming, and looking quickly back to avoid the no–parking poles. These bats should be in the street where they belong – pedestrians have enough obstacles.

The usual riot of traffic is snarling around the north side of the Pont Neuf. The air smells faintly like the inside of a washing machine, and sounds like a rush hour air raid over Essen. What is this panic?

'Drink of the Week' is a cool Kir.

The terrace of the club's café La Corona is about as full as it ever gets, which means that there might be a couple of hundred people sitting outside enjoying the sunshine and the sight of over–hot thirsty drivers inching along no more than seven metres away. From under a jolly parasol lift that litre of fresh cool beer and salute the insane.

All of the doors and windows are open in the café's 'grande salle' and a sometime breeze is pushing the fronds around in bursts, and the very alert brand–new 'waiter of the week' tries to interest me in a refreshment. I put him off and take care of the club's statistics but do not get a chance to glance at the paper before greeting members Shirley and Walter Pappas, who are coming as usual from Falls Church, Virginia.

Walter shows me an improvement he's had added to his trousers, which is a zipper on his pants pocket. He says he studied this problem carefully and rejected other possibilities. Shirley is a bit nervous with this subject, so Walter shows me the club membership card that he had laminated. The photo of this doesn't work – unsharp! – but members should know that Walter has written on it 'valid from NOW.

Then drinks come and Walter wants to know how to pronounce 'euro.' As in all French words, even this European one, you skip saying the first 'e' and hope to get the rest right.

Then Olga and Dan Ciupitu arrive. I would say they are from Sydney but they are in Paris for weeks to come after being here for weeks already. When they leave they will return to Sydney, I'm sure, but whether they stay there is another matter.

On their heels member Ulrich Diederick arrives. He's from Houston in Texas. Walter immediatelyphoto, group, club area says, "Your stock went up!" But Ulrich is not in the oil business. In fact he says he drives a Mini and has a hard time there. "The Mini is too big," he says.

The club's balmy area.

This is a true quote but there is no way to get a clarification now, so I'll just move this right along. "You drive for four hours and you're still in Texas," he says. This is in comparison to Europe where in four hours of driving you can pass through three whole countries, some of them kingdoms.

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