Trapped In the Etoile

photo, fran and terry, group of the week Fran and Terry, a group from the Ukraine, Poland and Canada.

Phones that Use Coins

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 26. April:–  Not a great deal has changed since I did this last. In Paris it was the Hottest Day of the Year yesterday. Today was not so fine. There were some kind of clouds and it felt a bit heavy, as the French say. Yes, so today's Le Parisien says it was 28.3 on Wednesday. To me it felt like 27.4 but I won't quibble.

The bad news is that we are supposed to see more clouds, a bit of mild chaos and some more heaviness. As for temperature it is like heavy on wire, wire–guided, starting with tomorrow's 27 degrees. This is from the hot winds from the south that Africa is sending this way. Thank you, Africa! It's not the only good thing I've gotten from Africa today.

photo, orange of the weekEvery drop darn good.

On Saturday, according to tonight's TV–news and weather, it will probably be semi–cloudy. The sun will be shining but there will be high clouds between it and us – some more of that old chaos I guess. Expect it to hit 25 in the mid–afternoon.

But with shopping over for the week, Sunday is supposed to deal us some more sunshine around here, except for the Atlantic coast south of Brittany. The good news is about the temperature which is supposed to hit 25 degrees again. For long–term fanatics the outlook for Monday seems to be more sunbeams, but with the high reduced to 22 degrees.

Technically we are still far off from summer. Since it is summer–like now we should consider it as summer, and if the real summer doesn't stand up we can say, "We had ours!" With the sunrise about 06:40 and sundown happening around 21:00, the days already have summer–length. Meanwhile, plan to sit on a terrace and enjoy the 25 degrees all weekend long.

The Phones that Use Coins Report

A white night is one when you can't sleep for some reason. It is a French phrase, used later in the year for a cultural event, and it is based on the idea that sleeping in the daytime is taboo – like having a disturbing white light all over – slothful, and un–French, like something Nicolas Sarkozy would never do.

I had a white night the other night and slept right through the radio–alarm, right until Josef phoned to ask me why I was still asleep. So last night I behaved myself and went to bed carefully at a reasonable hour and the radio–alarm did its work and I got up with lots of time to spare before going to the club. This has no bearing on anything. It is just something to write instead of putting down that I walked past the cemetery and caught the métro at Raspail, which everybody has already read about 250 times.

photo, fran, terry, map of the weekTerry wields the Map of the Week.

But the trees are up and their leaves are dropping their dappled shadows on this particular walk, and it is warm and it really does feel like summer. It's hard to believe that it will be three full months before Paris Plage opens this year. Usually it waits until two weeks before to be sunny, and the day it opens is when autumn begins.

When I got to the café La Corona on the very sunny right bank next to the Louvre long–time Waiter of the Week Patrick hurriedly said there were members waiting. It was 14:53, a bit early, but I went through anyway and found member Terry along with to–be member Fran Hillier waiting, camped on their luggage.

Terry became a member at a January 2003 meeting that was hosted by the server–lady Linda Thalman when I was in New York getting one of my ears fixed. I am still being hounded to pay that bill again. I mean, I paid it in full at the time. They waited until I left the country to send me another bill – I don't know for what because I didn't go back and have something else done.

Anyhow, Linda sent me her notes about the meeting and I edited them in New York, and because Terry lives in Port Moody, BC, it was named the City of the Week. Which is a shame this week, because it is such a rare place that I would dearly like to name it City of the Week, but it already is.

photo, fran, waiter of the week Waiter of the Week and Fran.

Fran and Terry have been travelling around, to the Ukraine and Poland and they are whizzing through Paris, in fact leaving straight from the club meeting to get on the Eurostar for a ride to London, where Fran is not sure she is going to see a musical because she hasn't made up her mind yet.

Terry said he came to Paris the first time when he was 11. That was in 1952, the same year that television was invented in the colonies so that everybody living in pink countries all around the world could watch the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in London. Significantly, Terry remembers visiting the aquarium at Trocadéro. It has since reopened after being closed for a quarter century.

photo, terry shoots Terry memorizing the café Corona.

Not quite so fondly, Fran remembers being trapped in a car going around the Etoile endlessly. It used to be a trap for unwary drivers. You could get into it easily enough – everybody had right–of–way going in and nobody had right–of–way to get out. Some tourists would go around until they ran out of gas.

Over at Naploléon's tomb Fran also noticed that its higher parts are kind of dusty. She wondered if all the cleaning ladies are short, like the patron. But really, Fran and Terry are just passing through.

They had a great time visiting in the east where they were in small towns that would be characterized as boondocks if they weren't in the Ukraine. I tried to find out what kinds of sausages there are. "In Cracow, what isn't sausage?" Fran said. I carefully explained that krakower were sausages I used to eat in Hamburg, and I imagined they originated in Cracow.

Terry wanted to phone a local photographer he knows. There is a phone in the café, downstairs, and we found out that it is the old fashioned kind and uses coins, just like in the old days. Terry exchanged the money he'd left for the Waiter of the Week, for change for the phone. But the dude didn't answer. Maybe the phone doesn't work. With phones who knows anymore?

photo, hauling bags to londonMembers, on their way to London.

He showed me one of the photo prints he has with him. But Gare du Nord was calling so we had to hustle to get the Group Photo of the Week in the can. Rush out to the terrace, shoot, shoot, and back inside, pack up, scan the area for the forgotten – like the two–metre repro of the old map – version 1731 – at home apparently Terry has every surface and some ceilings plastered with maps.

The Waiter of the Week brought me an Orangina or a Fanta instead of an orange juice, and I sent it back. He said, "Keep the ticket, they are the same price." See? Sending it back wasn't crazy.

I followed Fran and Terry out to the terrace and watched them trundle their luggage over the flagstones, hopefully towards a taxi. Next beer – at Waterloo Station. Napoléon, are you paying attention?

About the Café Metropole Club

Hit your mouse and click in to your club via the meeting reports in this region of the Internet galaxy. Skimming reports is easier than being here but only a 26th of the fun. Remember the club secretary's unhipped photo–shooting finger. He done it again. The only version of what we might have been doing here, can be found as usual on the About the Café Metropole Club Webpage. Pop a beer to go with those more better frites.

graphic, club location map

At, At, At, But But, But?

Half spontaneous as planned, half unrehearsed, all out of control and more than 100 percent anarchistic. The club meetings are actually only from 15:00 to 17:00 every Thursday. The next meeting will be on Thursday, 3. May. These times are identical to 3 pm to 5 pm around some other places, while meetings are held around here. Whatever you feel like saying will be truly appreciated by the other members present if they are listening, and sometimes they are, but not always – and if it could be by spontaneous combustion inscribed here.* Your other, totally true, stories are all welcome too. All of us can use a good laugh.

Caution – should you have a personal desire to remain 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 being a club member gets you found last if ever.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because of the continuing summer of weather here in the the great, white and sundown golden city of Paris, in the great election country of France, in part of downtown Europe.

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, 3. May.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
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Waldo Bini