Airport Follies

photo, dancing paris plage, sunday Dancing in downtown Paris on Sunday.

Beached At Gare du Nord

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 23. July:–  Between the TV–weather news and my skepticism, yesterday turned out to be pretty much as predicted although the grey morning had me a bit worried. Then the clouds separated and let some blue shine through, and I packed myself off for a test–drive of Paris–Plage. A couple of other Parisians got the same idea. That was, the few that didn't leave town in one big blast of the last big departures.

Two Out of Three

It just goes to show that the weather can play good when it wants to. Now that the city is nearly deserted except for the millions of visitors, the weather can be carefree. It can even be frivolous – like trying mightily to stay above 20 degrees in July. I know, I know, we had our July times in April so there is little to aspire to here in summer. But, come on, July! Get with it. I'm on my knees. Need I whine?

Tonight's TV–weather news interrupted my dish washing and then my phone interrupted my race to my watching and listening post. It was Uncle Den–Den phoning to say his Internet phone was working. I answered on my Internet phone – that has been working for a whole two days, ever since Josef turned up the volume from zero.

photo, sign, paris plages

So I might have missed some of the weather details. Roughly, here is what we are supposed to expect – first a 60 kph breeze whizzing up the Channel and the usual waves of crumminess washing over here, add up to a day of mediocre skies, maybe even semi–wet ones. The temperature might be 23 degrees.

The Channel wind on Wednesday is supposed to gain 10 kph, and this may blow semi–clear skies our way. I expect to see some sun around here and will be out wallowing in the 24 predicted degrees. But Thursday looks dubious, possibly cloudy, with a temperature of 25 degrees forecast. My guess is that Friday will be somewhat sunny, if the next rotten wave isn't too close behind the one passing through tomorrow.

Avid weather fans can taste the following weather forecast or recipe from beyond the Atlantic, from the well–known amateur of exotic pigs, Météo Jim, with yet another philosophic prediction like the ones we used to have in the rarified times of our lives.

iHog In Deep Clover

This week saw the return of the prodigal iHog from the lush gardens of France. When asked why he had returned, he complained that the French were going to make him work. Since groundhogs and iHogs are not known for any kind of productive employment, he complained that the phrase une marmotte dans chaque marmitte, especially among the Server Lady's Guard Cats, was becoming more and more popular.

photo, popular paris plage Paris–Plage in all its glory.

The iHog also complained that a few years ago, a book entitled Bonjour Paresse was quite popular and was one of the reasons that he was attracted to France. In addition, in 1880, Paul Lafargue published a similar book Le Droit à la Paresse in which he argued that a Frenchman should work no more than 3 hours a day and devote the rest of the day to "lazing about and feasting." In addition, he moaned, the word travailler comes from a Latin word tripalium which was an instrument that was sometimes used to torture people and maybe iHogs as well.

When pressed further about his stretch iFiat 500, the iHog became extremely morose and said it wasn't about to happen and started to cry. Upon hearing of the iHog's return, Mrs. Météo Jim immediately rushed out and sprayed the garden and flowers with stinky groundhog repellant.

As for the iWeather, the weekend saw temperatures in the upper 70s – low 80s a–grad thanks to a cold front. But the front stalled over the Atlantic and turned the winds around to blow from the northeast. Today is cool – 73 a–grad – and rainy. Tomorrow will see sun, clouds and warmer weather. This trend will continue until the weekend when the 3 H's – Hazy, Hot & Humid – will grace Saturday and Sunday.

A la prochaine , Météo Jim

Café Life

To Dublin In the Morning

This is what happened on Friday. Max and I got up at 06:30 and were out the door by 7:40. When we got on the RER at Denfert at first it didn't go. They announced that there was an incident at a station near the airport, near Roissy. Then we inched forward, to Port Royal, Luxembourg, inch, inch, until Châtelet–Les Halles where they announced that it would go no further than Gare du Nord.

photo, free water, fountain, paris plageWater, some of it to drink.

By then it was too late to switch to the Air France buses at Montparnasse or Porte Mayo. At Gare du Nord, with another stranded traveller in tow, we sought a taxi but there were none and many passengers were waiting. Then we crossed over to the station's far other side for a bus, where another distressed crowd was in the street. After a long time a big PC bus picked us up and drove directly to CDG. The driver had to ask where the terminal was – there's a new one, called Roissypole, just for buses.

From there we took the shuttle train to Terminal 1. At 10:10 we arrived at what seemed to be the Aer Lingus check–in, to be told it was closed, 30 minutes before the flight time. It took until 10:40 to find an Aer Lingus office at CDG Terminal 1, and there was a line at it – including others abandoned by the RER, and passengers trying to get to Bangkok. Thirty minutes later the flight we missed was still on the ground. Then they quit pretending they were holding it for us, and rebooked Max on a later flight.

Most of this time we were standing in the RER, in the bus, in lines, running around the terminal to all the wrong places we were sent to. I wouldn't send my worst enemy to Terminal 1 at CDG. It was a total zoo. The whole thing looked like a riot at the cheap holiday desk of Air Kazoo. I got back to Montparnasse about 15:30. I should have just kept going to the new Terminal 3 and taken a flight to New York.

photo, cool fog, paris plage A fog that cools.

More Better Summertime

Paris–Plage opened for the summer season this year on Friday. Read all about it on the companion Paris–Plage–bis page where I have placed the bonus photos. There was more sunshine than usual, fewer clouds than usual, and a bunch more casual behavior by Parisians. Next week, of course, there will be much more everything, as usual, weather permitting.

What You Always Wanted

A lucky chance took me to a Website that is apparently not new, but is worthwhile. Photo archives tend to be paranoid these days so it is refreshing to find Paris en Images online and accessible to all. These are Paris photos, oldies and goodies, and the site itself is clean and neat.

The Café Metropole Club

Some of the club's absent members showed up at last week's club meeting but you know they were Max, Joe and Josef if you bothered to read the report. Next Thursday there will be yet another Café Metropole Club meeting. The secretary doesn't know why but is excited by it being a week after the opening of Paris–Plage, as I wrote last week, is in bikinis and parasols, as I often say.

photo, almost seaside, paris plage Almost by the sea.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on 26. July, one whole week after you–know–what. The Saint of the Day will be Sainte–Anne. She is not any more made up than the others. The story of Mary's mom was written between the second and sixth centuries by reliable eyewitnesses. According to the legend, she married Joachim who also became a saint, to share this date and certain histories, although she is more famous.

This is completely unrelated to Paris because it happened in some other time, in some place far away. You can read everything about the club and its risky facts on a page called the About the Club Webpage. Readers who actually have read some of it, and some of you might have, will not fail to comprehend the slightness of it all, and might therefore attempt to download the club's proud scrap of a free but utterly worthless membership card.

This Was Metropole Ten Years Ago

photo, sign, quai de gesvres

It is less surprising than ever that ten years ago was a long time before today. This Metropole used to have a lot of real new stuff in it every week. All of this good stuff is still here somewhere but some of it is getting pretty musty, somewhat like this July, which should be pickled in salty brine.

Café Life Légère 91.5

Outwit In Nature

photo, pizza of the week

Today's Quote of the Week never has any connection to anything at all, not any other week and not this one. For today's gem I propose a solo quote, with the lone one consisting of some folk philosophy by E. B. White. He wrote, "I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority." This could have been said by any of us, but wasn't. What does E.B. stand for?


There are no more than 161 days left of this year, the same number that 1904 had when the Ford Motor Company sold its first car, to Dr. Ernst Pfenning of Chicago. He reportedly paid about $800 for his Model A. Unclear is whether it was the two–seat runabout or the four–seat tub, with roof option. At least we know it was red, the only color available. The car had a flat–twin midships engine that produced 8 hp, with a three–speed transmission. On a good day on a level road it could reach 45 mph and had a leather roof option for $50.

photo, sign, galateria italiano

Inventions from the Patazone

This is totally unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 204 days, the same number that 1904 had when Charles and Frank Menches invented the ice cream cone during the World's Fair in Saint Louis that celebrated the centennial of the Louisiana Purchase. There are a couple of problems with this historic first. There is an engraving dated 1807 that shows some flashy woman eating a cone at Frascati in Paris. Frascati first opened in 1789. And the pretenders to the 1904 title include Abe Doumar, Nick and Albert Kabbaz, David Avayou, and maybe Arnold Fornachon too.

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

Many folks have probably been reminded that today is the anniversary of the no–power landing in 1983 of Air Canada flight 143 at Gimli, Manitoba. Due to a mixup in loading fuel, caused by Canada switching to litres from gallons, the aircraft was short three–quarters of its fuel on takeoff. First one engine conked out and then the other went dry. When the pilots looked at the user manual for the section on landing with no engines they were surprised to find no such section. However they kept their cools and glided to the ex–military airport at Gimli. Imagine their surprise when they saw that it was being used for a car race at the time. But they landed anyhow, without wrecking the near–new Boeing. Air Canada suspended the pilots and the mechanics but they were awarded the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale Diploma for Outstanding Airmanship in 1985.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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