The Longest Way to the Club

photo, group, albert jackson, fenny reitsma Albert and Fenny bring sun to the Corona terrace.

"Sydney has Five Chinatowns"

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 14. September:–  Relaxed in front of the TV–weather news because the Orange Alert was for the Mediterranean area, I hastily noted the non–threatening forecast for around here. Until the Bic pen stopped short I was cozily smug.

But that was then and now is not much later. I am writing this in mortal danger of electrocution. The sky outside is twisted and writhing and every 30 seconds somebody lets off a huge mega–flashbulb right outside my window. From the bathroom I can hear running, dripping, pouring water. Is it the begin of 40 days of torrential rain? Is it a forgotten Orange Alert? Slipped its moorings, drifted north a day early, a reality check to see if I'm paying attention?

The TV–weather Joe took care to say that Corsica got 6 months–worth of rain today – since yesterday? Was he hinting that this could be our fate too? If it wasn't such a cliché, I would write that it is a dark and stormy night even if it is a dark and stormy night.

Wait! Don't cancel your trip to Paris yet! On paper the weather futures for around here aren't too bad. Tomorrow, for example, is supposed to be somewhat sunny, ah, partly, semi, okay, in periods then. There's supposed to be a 50 kph wind from the north, rain and clouds to the west, to the east, to the south and – one would think – right here. But his weather map showed the sun playing peek–a–boo on Friday. With 24 degrees for a high, not too shabby.

Saturday alas, is where my pen ran dry. Again it is supposed to be semi–sunny without saying how, and with 22 for the high. Then on Sunday I think picnics should be transferred under cover because the chaos in the sky might be worse than predicted. Same temperature for the high so carrying a mickey of rum isn't strictly necessary.

The "Sydney has Five Chinatowns" Report

No good plan for the beginning of this 348th Café Metropole Club report comes handily to mind so I will turn off my head and just wale away at this sticky keyboard like the standard 20,000 monkeys in a room with oiled Underwoods and we'll see what comes out.

photo, drink of the weekDrinks group of the week.

First of course I had to go to the club. This was the usual healthy amble to the Métro and then the ride down to Odéon but most readers and members must know this already, so I'll skip it. I'll also leave out walking across the old Pont Neuf even though I really did. And I'll omit the usual comments about the state of traffic on the Quai de Louvre because everybody must be sick of it, including the drivers stuck in it today.

The cafés and fastfood joints along the way were as they always are and the pet shop still stinks. For a change there were folks on the Corona's terrace eating something. Why today of all days? I went in and everything was the same. Smells of burnt cheese and uncooked frites no different from any other Thursday. The grande salle 90 percent empty, 10 percent full of more people waiting for their brunt cheese and frites. The routine, eh?

But the familiar is comfy so I took over the club's exclusive area and did the things I usually do and after I finished I got out today's Le Parisien and gave it a fair scan. A bunch of the usual blah–blah until page 6 and its story about the Château du Chaos. This is some guy's estate that he has turned into a trash happening, complete with a 9/11 replica, a crashed and burned helicopter and portraits of the world's madmen. It looks like the worst junkyard you have ever seen.

photo, waiter, terrace, beer Classic terrace photo of the week.

All of this is in the centre of some small picturesque French village and his neighbours are not amused, not even after 20 years of ever more and better. The mayor went to court to put an end to it, but the paper's story seems to say the guy can stay there, if he pays a fine of 200,000€. What for the paper doesn't say, except that Thierry Ehrmann is a milliardaire punk, living a vie folle.

It restored my faith in France. The rest of the news was pretty ordinary and silly and I was interrupted 75 minutes later by a gentleman asking me if I was me, if this was it, and so on. Of course, I said. Who else? Well, he didn't notice throngs of members carousing, so he wondered. I was wondering too.


Members can join the club any way they want to. They can sit in the bar of the café for 75 minutes during a meeting and it's no twist of my nose. Would I have read about the Château du Chaos otherwise? But it turned out that member Roy Trew had been a bit vague, so new members Fenny Reitsma and Albert Jackson from Sydney Australia took a chance and scored a bingo, me.

photo, traffic of the week Not classic terrace of the week.

Fenny and Albert are intrepid voyagers. About four months ago they arrived in Frankfurt with their bicycles. Once on the ground they hopped on them and rode all over – down the Danube, all around Vienna, through Germany, here and there in Alsace and into Holland where it's flat, to where Fanny was born, in Assen, which is in the north east as well as being the City of the Week, and is known as the Cathedral of Motorcycle Racing.

They brought their own bikes because last time here they found used bikes too expensive. They say that there are 10,000 kms of bike paths in Germany, some of which are long–distance radfernwegen. Fenny says riding for weeks is not hard if you are used to it. They did have a pause in Alsace though. They hint there is more to come.

After all the bike talk I take another stab at finding out about downtown Sydney. We all know what the Opera looks like, but how about Sydney's Broadway?

Albert, who was born in Sydney, says that the name derives from a contraction of Saint–Denis which was brought to Britain by the Normans, in, oh, 1066. For some reason it reminds me of the actor Sydney Greenstreet, who caused Bogy so much trouble in the Maltese Falcon.

But that's not all. "Sydney has five Chinatowns," Albert says. This is more than New York or Paris together. But it's perfectly good as a new member's Quote of the Week if I do say so.

photo, red cow of the weekThe only red cow of the week.

In spite of the late start Fenny and Albert pick up the club lore I stew around like hazel dust. The Waiter of the Week goes by carrying a tray loaded like the Oktoberfest is happening on the terrace and five minutes later he's on another trip with another full tray. It must be a convention of dehydrates.

Once we have today's Group Photo of the Week in the bag or etched on the memory card we pack up our belongings and wave the café adios. The only thing left to do is capture the Cow of the Week in the Rue de l'Echaude. No doubt on view for the monthly art market in the Rue de Seine.

About the Café Metropole Club

Believe it or not but this is a true club meeting 'report' representing a large fraction of the actual events. Toss a peep at the equally authentic story of what could have been going on here, to be found on the About the Café Metropole Club page, containing its tedious and chunky bits of garlic dumplings, fried commas and stirred low–fat cheesecake. And forever, more better frites.

graphic, club location map

What This What This?

Spontaneous club meetings, often more than false, begin at 15:00 on Thursday and continue until 17:00 every Thursday. These on times are equivalent to 3 pm to 5 pm around somewhere else. Around here is where these meetings are. Whatever you say will be truly appreciated by the other members present if there are listening, and sometimes there are but not always – and if it should by rare chance be written here.* Other stories are strongly urged.

Caution – should you have the personal goal of remaining unfindable via the Web, be sure to inform the club's secretary that you prefer to be 404 – not found by Web search engines before becoming 'found.' Not becoming a club member is one of the other ways to remain unfound.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because of the club's secretary's sticky typo finger sticking to the sticky keys and the other sticky mouse finger sticking to the sticky mouse, making the whole sticky decidedly tending to sticky repeats repeats repeats.

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.
Next club meeting on Thursday, 21. September.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– 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