...Continued from page 1

The weather not being overly oppressive, the usual 2000 folks were standing in orderly but long lines to ride up the Tour Eiffel, being watched by members of the pickpockets syndicate, being watched by the secret police disguised as secret police. I always avoid looking at these people, the civilians. I feel embarrassed for them. After all you can tilt your head back and see where they're going – so why bother? Just one of the world's several wonders, although quite a bit more airy than the Pyramids.

photo, beach volley tournamentRed hand! Give 'em the red hand!

From beneath the tower I could see a blue wall at the opposite end of the Champ de Mars, so I decided to skip walking back uphill to the métro, to go to Concorde, and check it out. Along the way, a long way in fact, I saw more of these ladies dressed head–to–foot for the orient, and some of them were sitting around too. Could it be that they are poor and the free Champ de Mars would be what they sit on at home if it had grass on it?

Did I say along the way? About at the right spot there's a café with parasols under some trees, sort of a cabin affair, with no defined area. The road has no curb and there is no sidewalk, but it has tidy dirt underfoot and looks like a cool oasis. It looks like the kind of café a million drivers are driving 650 kilometres to get to today. Don't tell them it's right here and there's a free table.

After another day and a half tramping I got to the blue wall. But half a day earlier I heard it going boom boom boom. Up close it was a false front hiding a rickety grandstand, with rat-–ike entries up stairs. At the top, three sides were full of – could it be? – yes, beach volley–ball fans! There was a court on what looked like sand – as in beach – some stray grains of Paris–Plage? – and there was some sort of bigwig thing with a chalet roof and a dozen brightly–colored flags, with the Ecole Militaire behind.

This otto had a muscular sound system, and an amplified guy with a loud voice, and there were what looked like two beach hotties. Maybe a sports team from the Israeli Defense Forces. They sure didn't look flabby. A guy batted the ball at them and they slammed it back, and he missed it and then walked off the court in a sulk. The other guy with the microphone was shouting blah blah blah and all these decent–looking folks in the audience suddenly stuck up these red rubbery things – um, bundles of chemical sausages? Sponsor is the Rancid Pork Corporation?

It looked like the kind of deal where the sponsor owns the TV cameras and everybody else is unpaid extras. Mind you they didn't look exploited, but those sausage things looked right kinky. I didn't bother to sit in case I was handed one. There were easily several thousand in the audience – can Paris not be the world's capital for free shows, gay techno parades, patriotic displays, fake beaches, mass demonstrations, roller randos, marathons, and random movie shoots? Does any work ever get done here?

Far be it from me to claim personal industry. The temperature had climbed to 30 degrees and it was sticky. I came out today for one decent photo of, preferably a cool hottie with a cunning body, sloshing gaily around in Trocadéro's pool, and there I was, empty handed. There's no bikini of the week in this. The jets on Wednesday were better, but jeez, that was a cooker!

photo, pools, palais chaillot Pools like bathtubs.

If you've read this far you know that I should go on holidays, take my vacation. My combustive juice has gone flat, lost its octane. But you know, I know this too. I reckoned, one last sortie, who knows? So I lost, so what? Next stop, next week, Water Taxi Beach in Queens. And don't bother, ha ha, writing to me about power failures. Don't need none at Water Taxi Beach, the cheapest Paris–Plage in the world. It has all–day happy hour, right in the naked city. To hell with bakeries for a month!

On this note of faint joy I leave Boggleville in your capable hands for the coming month. You can sing and dance in it as much as you want. If it gets hot and stinky again just remember that you can usually park your car for free, if you can find the free parking areas. Yes, I know Boggleville can be puzzling. It's taken a long time to get it this way and it's worth every tin euro it costs.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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