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Amazing Walking

photo, dan, walter, olga, barbara, tom, kim, bill, shirley, ed, tomoko, annie, heather

This week's 'Group of a Dozen Photo of the Week.'

No Buzzards

Paris:– Thursday, 2. June 2005:– Whatever the weather was supposed to be like today it has been pretty good, without it being a true blue sky type of day. Right now the evening sky is clear except for a few purple wisps of cloud near the horizon, which is kind of high because of the black trees in the cemetery across the way. Not a leaf is stirring.

Tonight's TV–weather news lady started off by saying that there's a low over the UK and things are going to degrade here tomorrow. This is complicated because there will be confusion out west and later in the day there will be a wave of clouds to the east, but stretching up from the Pyrenees.

We are supposed to be in sort of a trough, ditch, gully, or gulch, and with the temperature supposed to go up to 29 degrees I suspect it will be heavy, muggy and maybe humid – in other words, great weather for sitting on café terraces until midnight.photo, water, cafe, tilt

With the arrival of Saturday, it should be pretty clear just about everywhere except up along the Channel coast, but the high temperatures will tumble to 20 degrees even with a fair bunch of sunshine.

Café tables hold up cups and glasses, provide rest for elbows.

The only difference on Sunday will be a sky veiled with a lot of high, thin cloud, and a sub–standard temperature of 19 degrees. This might be perfect weather for the sports show on the Champs–Elysées some time during the day and for the free concert on the Champ de Mars beginning at 19:00 in the evening.

The "I Thought I Hit a Rock" Report of the Week

Having gone to so many meetings of the Café Metropole Club I have to no more than set myself on autopilot and cruise out the door and sail down to the Métro at Raspail and swing on to the first train that comes along and scan the posters while it slides through stations while I decide where to step off and hit the surface for a little walk to the club.

The result is the realization that I've memorized the whole route and I could do it in my sleep, so I do it without really waking up until I see the cops on horses riding across the Pont Neuf. Where are they comingphoto, soup of cafe from and where are they going? From the ranch and back to the barn? On the bridge they could be going to the Palais de Justice, or are they going to ride over to La Palette and feed their nags some oats while having a well–deserved beer?

The 'Soup of the Week' seems to be café.

The next thing I notice is the closed newspaper kiosk in front of the Samaritaine. Some of these have been on strike since Monday because they have a lousy life and poor working conditions because publishers put out so many new titles that there's no room left inside the tiny paper kiosks for the paper people.

So I arrive at the café La Corona with no paper to tide me over before members show up. In a totally empty 'grande salle' I twiddle my fingers for a while, until Olga and Dan Ciupitu arrive. Coming as they do to multiple club meetings, we simply pick up our conversation from where we left off last week.

But before I can write one lousy note members Kim and Ed Hurwitz from Sanibel in Florida pull up and install themselves. The last time they were here Florida was having hurricanes and they had traded houses for one in Paris, and this story gets topped up with 'what happened next.'

But before I can write a note about any of this members Shirley and Walter Pappas come in and take over some spare chairs, and the French political situation becomes the topic of the minute. "You can't have too much democracy," Walter says, or says somebody said.

Had I been somewhat more nimble I would have note about this but at this moment Annie and Bill Prattphoto, bubbles of the week arrive. They met Kim and Ed on the plane coming over so here they are here without knowing why, but the seats are free.

Luckily for the club, the Pratts are from Charlottesville in Virginia, allowing me to note, 'City of the Week.' Ed wants a special mention for arranging this, so, here it is – thanks to Ed Charlottesville is this week's 'City of the Week.'

Eiieeah, the 'Bubbbles of the Week!'

I am just about to make a note of this when Walter begins to tell me about the great – and free! – view from the top of the Institut du Monde Arabe. "It's got a better view of the Seine than the Tour d'Argent," he says, without actually saying this is a free view.

There is an orphan note here that says, 'Charlottesville, University of Virginia?' Then another that reads, '1€ = 75¢' Oh, I remember now. Kim was telling me about how Paris fans in the United States sit around reading the exchange rates until they decide they can afford the beating they are going to take from them.

Then Kim tells me about the islands in the Caribbean that Canada decided not to buy. They were probablyphoto, kim, ed, annie some that France doesn't feel like selling just yet. If someone would offer something fair for Corsica I'm sure France might consider it.

Well, that line of conversation didn't last long. I wonder what this 'vocal groceries' was about? Maybe the 'v' is an 'l.' Now I remember!

Ed says something that isn't in the notes either.

Many visitors to Paris are amazed that we walk to shops. They are amazed that there are shops in neighborhoods where we live or vice–versa. If we want a loaf of bread we just pop out and buy one in a local boulangerie and carry it home. It takes about five minutes.

Apparently this is not modern at all. It is very old fashioned indeed. If it were modern in France we would have a driver's license, a two–ton black SUV, a private gas refinery, truck insurance, trip insurance and legal aid, so we could drive to the shopping centre where there's free parking within miles of the boulangerie.

Actually, outside of Paris, you can do this too. Strictly speaking a big, black 4–wheel drive SUV isn't absolutely necessary, but a lot of French drivers have them anyway and damn the cost of gas. Anyway, I don't have any true notes for this so I should stop winging it.

"A $2.98 bottle of 2–buck chuck costs $3.29 in Virginia," Bill tells me, for no apparent reason. "Virginia is a nightmare."

This is what my notes say. What has brought on this outburst I cannot fathom. Nobody was talking about any cheapo wine, or the state tax policies of Virginia, or bothered to mention the name of the other rip–off state where 2–buck chuck costs nearly three dollars. Hell, they all whack the juice!

Because of these lousy notes I've missed mentioning the arrival of members Barbara and Tom Cooley, whophoto, michelle, no 13 I think are from Sanibel in Florida too. Last I heard Barbara was rescuing alligators there. Or maybe it was fighting with alligators that were hiding from the hurricane in her bathroom.

Michelle comes at last, thanks to Alvin.

This last bit is from memory because there's nothing in these notes about it. I am so disgusted with them that I harass the club members into getting up and going outside on the terrace for the 'Group Photo of the Week.' Member Tomoko Yokomitsu arrives just in time for this, either slightly before or after member Heather Stimmler–Hall.

Innocent passersby complain that we take up the whole sidewalk. I shoot, shoot, shoot, making a 'V' sign that is supposed to get eyes open and smiles, but gets a 'V' back from Tomoko instead. We wave 28 civilians past, and I shoot, shoot, shoot some more.

Once we are back inside the café's 'grande salle' the meeting's third new member arrives. This is Michelle Dauvissat who comes to us from San Francisco by following the directions of member Alvin Stilman, of Café Barbar fame.

Since we already have a 'City of the Week' Michelle sets about busily promoting Ashland, Oregon. The way it's described it sounds like a town with exceptional headroom, on the outer edge of spacy.

Well, these notes haven't improved any. They are rotten to the end. Quick now, who was it who said, "I thought I hit a rock?" I don't mean the bus driver who squashed a Smart, but the member who told us this. It says so right here.

Freebie of the Week

It's getting so you can count on the Senat for free shows in the Luxembourg gardens, but they have outdone themselves this week with no less than three free exhibitions. Near the Orangerie there arephoto, whose toes of the week some fun sculptures scattered around, there is an exhibition of 'City Art' inside the Orangerie, and as a reminder of the 20th anniversary of Reporters Without Borders, there's a giant photo exhibition hanging on the park's grille featuring 20 of the world's top news photographers. No lines, no tickets and for the photos, on view 24 hours a day.

The 'Toes of the Week,' but whose?

About the Café Metropole Club's About Page

Today's club meeting 'report,' with many more than enough members for a outrightly rowdy hubbub, probably doesn't totally clear up what this is all about. See the virtual 'About the Café Metropole Club' page with a mass of meaningless words, but you can ignore them and still not miss the snazzy photos. You can join the club on any 'Thursday of the Week' is the short version, easy to remember.

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

Club meetings begin at 15:00, always in the afternoon, always on Thursdays and always continue for two complete hours until 17:00 on the same afternoon, always in the western European Time zone – which is really 'CET' for short and never 'szzT' although it occasionally is – and known in rare 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 and laughing in the rear are us.

Grace a gathering – 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' being equal to 'true' even if 'first' is just as unlikely too, and if it is an alternate form of 'reality' with any sort of vague connection to facts you've come across.

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.graphic: club location map Toss your name into Google if in doubt.

Former 'rules' continue to be in abeyance week after week after week, month after month, year–in year–out, forever and ever over the moon and beyond the stars. Nevertheless these may still be consulted so that you know the history of the past of this social club making it redundant to repeat it, as we often attempt 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 allowed 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 total no–show appearance of fly–in member 'Willy the Bird.' A buzzard could have flown in and remained unseen.

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.
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– 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