horz line

Tijuana! and Ballarat!

photo, group, jennie, bob, priscilla, dennis, lily, caitie

Today's 'Group of the Week,' Jennie, Bob, Priscilla,
Dennis, Lily and Caitie.

Combo 'Cities of the Week'

Paris:– Thursday, 7. July 2005:– Just like a somber hangover from the bad old days a gray sky lurked over the city this morning and it was no better at noon and didn't promise anything different for the rest of the day. The temperature was somewhere below 20 and if it were going anywhere it certainly wasn't up.

According to tonight's TV–weather news this average July weather is going to continue for a few days, especially for Friday and Saturday. By 'average' it means that the skies will stay gray, they will spit some drops of rain, winds will blow it in your face and keeping warm outside won't be enhanced by sitting in a park.

This stuff will be coming over in waves tomorrow in a confused order of march, enough so that I hesitatephoto, champagne to predict that there will be any sunny periods, but if there are they will be fleeting. If you find yourself outside do not expect to find temperatures higher than 19 degrees.

For Saturday the word is unstable. Actually tonight's TV's weather map looked somewhat more optimistic – compared to Friday – so maybe you can count on an extra two degrees of warmth.

Rare 'Champagne of the Week' may be a 'first.'

By Sunday better weather will be trying to penetrate the continent from the west, and if it advances enough the gray may shift eastward and leave it partly nice here. Another sign of improvement is a predicted high temperature of 24 degrees which will not be too shabby if it happens.

The 'Combo Cities of the Week' Report of the Week

Instead of stories of wretched excess and jubilation some alarming news is coming from London this morning. This is hardly the way to start the day on either side of the Channel. The morning headline in Le Parisien, written for another subject, can be recycled for Friday's edition – "Tristesse et colère."

My wonderful breakfast turned to ash. Gray clouds slid across my living room window, bowled along by a ragged breeze. Here it is July and supposed to be summertime for many, and the beginning of the event of the decade for our offshore neighbors, and it gets burnt to cinders.

Still, it is club day, so there isphoto, cafe something to do besides sit around and wonder. Wonder, for example, if the Métro is running and if it is, is it full of commandos with machine guns? If not today then by tomorrow probably.

The secretary's 'Café of the Week.'

The road that cuts through the cemetery parts is suitably gloomy and it is raining just enough to make the umbrella I've brought seems like a good idea. It is either the first or second time I've remembered to bring one this year.

The city posters promoting the Olympic games that were still around yesterday, have today been replaced by new ones saying that 'Paris likes sports anyway, and congratulations to the city that will host the games in 2012.' These must have been ready to go 'in case of' because I see several of them.

On the walk from Odéon to the Pont Neuf the Quartier Latin seems subdued but it could be the weather. Traffic is as insane as always, being especially clogged on both sides of the Seine. The old lady is still holding out in the paper kiosk in front of Samaritaine, and today she manages a 'bonjour.'

There is nobody sitting on the café's terrace even with the awning stretched out to ward off rain. It is an onion soup day if I ever saw one. Almost the kind of day to invite the ducks inside and feed them some frites.

But in the café's 'grande salle,' in the club's area, there is Uncle Den–Den and three mademoiselles. "You are late," he says, attempting to rattle me. Hah! Any secretary who has arrived for 297 club meetings knows how to do it on time, as slick as water off a duck's back.

What we have here is Uncle Den–Den's niece – I think – Lily Lewis, who lives inphoto, pastis Tijuana, Mexico, and classmates from the Alliance Française, Caitie Paxton from London and Jennie Boin from Melbourne.

As you can imagine this is pretty cozy. Better yet Lily provides a wonderful 'City of the Week.' She says it is not the most dangerous city in Mexico. At first I was under the impression that Lily lived in Los Angeles, so deep probing turned up that Jennie's hometown is really Ballarat, in western Victoria about a 100 kms from Melbourne. So how's that – two 'Cities of the Week?' Tijuana and Ballarat.

Extra rare, yellow 'Pastis of the Week.'

The Alliance Française is about learning French so Dennis tells us his method. He explains that he was always required to read the 11th sentence so he concentrated on it, and of course he got it all wrong because he was concentrating on it and ignoring everything else. Can he remember the 11th sentence today? Not likely!

Jennie observes that Dutch is only spoken by the Dutch because nobody else can speak it, and the Dutch want to keep it that way so they can talk to each other and nobody else will know what they're saying. If the Dutch don't care about eing overheard, they speak in English, French or German.

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