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More Bastille

photo, group, sam, rich, sue, jackson

Today's 'Group of the Week,' Sam, Rich, Sue and Jackson.

Fireworks Tonight

Paris:– Thursday, 14. July 2005:– This weather is too much! It's going to take at least 20 years to convince everybody who is going to hear about this year's summer that it's a fluke, a fraud, a once–in–25–years exceptional occurrence that only happens on odd–numbered leap years with no 'r' in the month when you're not supposed to eat oysters.

Last night, for example, at the big Brazilian party at Bastille – not a cloud in the sky as it got dark and when the streetlights were coming on, it was toasty and perfect and Brazilian and I was out there without sleeves. That alone, once in 30 years!

Then today, this morning on the Champs–Elysées, of the 4000 soldiers, sailors and fly boys of both sexes, only the Brazilians felt at home in the 30–degree temperature. The only thing in the sky was airplanes buzzing over leaving trails of green and yellow and red, white and blue. To be seen at all it had to be light blue against the blue blue sky. Whewee!

And this year, the 25 million visitors to Paris are going home and telling everybody who will listen thatphoto, water of the week Paris has this fabulous weather, no need to go to Rio, man, it's right here in downtown Europe, right here in old France. It's true this year. It isn't true any other year. Forget it!

'Water of the Week' was tap variety.

The really bad news was on tonight's TV–weather news forecast. Friday, sunny and 31 degrees. Saturday, sunny and 29 degrees. Sunday, rotten Sunday, sunny and 30 blinking degrees. Why is it doing this? How will this be explained next year? And the following 19 years?

The 'More Bastille' Report of the Week

At 13:00 the air raid sirens started howling, signalling two minutes of silence in memory of the bombs a week ago in London. Everything in France and Europe stopped and several hundred million ordinary people did nothing for two minutes but think about the futile things humans can do to fellow humans.

Then the entire continent started up again and the whole ball spun up to its regular rotation speed, and my café finished heating itself and the machine did its final wheezes and lurches, and the radio resumed its regular program with the Tour de France and the score from the president's garden party.

I thought I would save a Métro ticket by walking to the club but when I got outside it occurred to me thatphoto, gold bastille beer the day might be long and it wouldn't do any of us any good to get wilted early. The Métro wasn't as hot and steamy as I feared and it whisked me down to Odéon right smartly.

It's the Fête Nationale today so the only things that are open are the restaurants, cinemas and cafés, and everything between them expect places that sell Italian shoes and French mode. With the heat there were a lot of people sitting around in shade and under awnings, taking in ice cream and liquids.

'Beer of the Week' was the 'gold' variety.

By the Seine there were more people around, possibly to get the slight breeze there. The café terraces along the Quai du Louvre were well stocked with pausers, it being a day off for many. The army had a few military items parked outside the Louvre, showing off their machine guns to kids, and I think the police had a stand across the street in front of the church, maybe showing kids their handcuffs.

The café La Corona's terraces were well covered with loungers and the waiters were whizzing around delivering the café's wet goods. I took my seat in the club's area and panted. It felt like the heat followed me in and settled on my as soon as I stopped moving.

A little while after I put the meeting details in the club's booklets Monsieur Ferrat leads in nine students and they take the corner banquets. I hear them speaking English but I can't place the accents. They call for water.

Outside a bus with a sign saying 'officers training' goes by, and two ladies sit down and order big beers. It is the kind of day for taking a swim in a big, cool, yellow beer. Half the folks walking past are eating ice cream. Licking themselves cool.

The students in the corner finally get their drinks and dishes of ice cream, and they polish them off before they evaporate and I hear them muttering water, water, again. The waiter has become blind and deaf of course. After ten minutes I catch Monsieur Ferrat's eye and when he comes over I ask for water for me and for the students.

Military people are passing the café in twos and threes. A few are in summer uniforms but most of them look like 19th century affairs, with strange headgear, and serge I guess, with doodads. The naval officers look like airline captains though and the lady navals look like Sally Ann executives.

Two adults and two kids, possibly British, take the tables near the window. They are beat, thirsty and hungry. They order what turns out to be the wrong food. After tempers fray a bit more they switch dishes with each other, and three out of four seem content with their strange food, a sandwich, a hot dog, a bowl of spaghetti and some fancy sandwich that goes untouched.

I bet by now you think these are the 'Group of the Week' at the top of the page, a quartet that I've shanghaiedphoto, hawaiian cocktails, photo, doug arlson into the club. But nothing could be further from the spirit of the club – 'no rules!' – nossir. The four at the top of the page are real members, sent to the club by a member, Ron Bristol of Austin, Texas.

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