...Continued from page 1

Good grief! I think. Has another one kicked the bucket in Paris? But no – Tomoko and Dan rush to substitute Jim Morrison for Van Morrison. "He's not going anyplace," says Dan.

Today's brown 'Drink of the Week.'

"This is our third trip," Bruce says, adding, "The other two times the weather was crappy."

Tomoko understands that visitors prefer good weather. She says, "In museums, I need oxygen."

Dan agrees, "All those people, they burn it up." Then, to make sure the club's secretary is alert, the subject shifts slightly. "Elevators that don't work, work when you don't need them," Dan claims. "France is out of order!"

Yes, it is true. The ordinary things of daily life in other countries are sources of adventure here. Every doorknob is a puzzle, every light switch is a flirt with danger, every water tap is a mystery. It keeps us on our toes but we don't take it personally, these are the kinds of tests nobody gets 'life points' for.

Next Dan is telling us about an early morning excursion to see the garden at Bagatelle. 'Really nice, roses, garden gnomes.' He started out from Porte Maillol to go to the Bois de Boulogne, but became a bit unnerved by the vans parked along there, and the van ladies in them, 'some in the forest.'

I do not have time to explain how former minister of the interior Nicolas Sarkozy arranged for the ladies to switch from the Rue Saint–Denis to vans, because he is minister of the interior again and for all I know he'll get them to switch back.

"I had a garden gnome but somebody pinched it," Dan says. This could not have been easy because Dan lives in an apartment.

Last week Bruce reminded Dan ofphoto, group of drinks of the week several phrases that Australians only say when they are pulling the legs of foreigners, such as 'put another shrimp on the barbie.' Today Bruce chooses to say, "That's the home of the funnel–web spider, isn't it?"

Today's group of 'Drinks of the Week.'

"Not around Sydney!" Dan denies stoutly. Then while Dan is mumbling about places like Queensland, the Outback, Alice Springs, Bruce says, "Most poisonous – you get bitten by a funnel–web and you're dead."

I'm thinking, Nigel never mentioned these things to me. Dan is explaining how to shake your boots in the morning to make the poison spiders fall out – heck, it was only a few weeks ago that somebody brought up the steel boat–eating sea–going crocodiles – gosh, no wonder people visit France!

Right here a lady arrives who is such a recent member that I can't locate her name. In revenge, Michelle Dauvissat says, "I'm sure you work for the CIA."

Dan fills me in. "Zen, holes in Oregon, never look up for heaven." I must say, none of it rings any bells. Even if I worked for the CIA I would be perplexed.

Bruce becomes the next target when he is asked to explain where he's from. When he says eastern Canada, Michelle says, "In that case I have a tenant from Canada who hasn't paid the rent."

The long and short of this has Michelle staying in youth hostels until the end of the month, until the tenant – 'a wonderful person' – leaves.

Youth hotels sound like fun if youphoto, samaritaine, closed of the week don't mind youths. Dan points out that you can be any age to stay in Turkish youth hostels, and Bruce agrees. Michelle's only problem with them seems to involve having to change rooms every other day. But her next move will be okay – it's to be on the same floor.

Today's closed 'Department Store of the Week.'

Along the way we got out to the terrace for the 'group photo of the week' but just before that Tomoko got a call on her phone and zipped off on urgent business.

About the Café Metropole Club's About Page

Today's club meeting 'report' with sufficient members for a hand of bridge, probably doesn't exactly clear up what this is all about. Take a look at the virtual 'About the Café Metropole Club' page with a vast collection of words, but you can ignore them and still not miss seeing the membership card. You can join the club, even with one, on any 'Thursday of the Week.'

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

Club meetings, as these things are called, begin at 15:00, in the afternoon, always on Thursdays and continue for two complete hours until 17:00 the same afternoon, usually in the western European Time zone, now in its summer version. Known in other rare places as 3 pm to 5 pm, around somewhere else is not where meetings are held so be sure to come to the café La Corona's 'grande salle.' The folks drinking and drinking in the rear are us.

Attend a meeting – by being at one or more. Hang around for a hour or two with new and old friends especially if you have the time for it. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'true' being equal to 'first' even if 'real' is just as unlikely too, and if it is an alternate form of 'reality' with any sort of connection to true life, fact or not.

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 Throw your name into Google if in doubt.

Former 'rules' continue to be former week after week after week, month after month, year–in year–out, forever and moreover beyond the rivers, mountains, solar system and stars. Nevertheless these may still be consulted so that you know the past of this historical social club making it rare to repeat it, as we attempt to avoid doing.

Talking to other club members at meetings is encouraged rather than optional if there aren't any. There are usually empty chairs, so sit – wherever you like. Standing is permitted 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 surprise mention of Sydney's dreaded funnel–web domestic spider.

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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