Quacking, Quacking

photo, cruise boat, seine, pont neuf, paris plage Ten bright minutes of beautiful cruising.

Toss Them Baguettes!

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 20. August:–  After last week's three days of phooey that stretched into seven days of miserable rain, I am totally disgusted with this weather situation we have here. Saying I have made a vow to be in Spain next year has no effect now. If anything it is making things worse. What I fail to understand is the 3% increase of visitors to Paris. What are they thinking?

Paradise for Webfeet

It just goes to show that happy trippers are undeterred by a bit of water under their soles, a bit of water sliding down their necks and very humid views while standing beside the Seine exercising their romantic fancies. Yes, as you scuttle by on the lookout for a bus shelter, you hear them quacking gaily as folks in nor'westers toss them whole soggy baguettes, including the cheese and ham.

The weather folks on France–2 TV–news and weather are long past being defensive every night. They have cut the flood of commercials so that viewers are not totally insurrectional, before rushing through the bad news of persistant lows, endless troops of glum clouds, cold breezes, storm warnings – including another tonight – and rain.

photo, pharmacy thermometre, 15 degrees

Today, this afternoon, with a high possibly forecast of 18, I saw the pharmacy thermometre neon reading 15 degrees. It might have felt like 17 and the other pharmacy was showing 17.5, but that was where the folks are more revolutionary. And it's everywhere – late last night a lady knocked on my door to ask if my living room was leaking into the living room below. I went down there for a look and then came back up and took down my big yellow bucket to catch the water pouring in. I haven't got it back yet.

The outlook for tomorrow seemed to suggest that it would be semi–crummy around here, with a high of 19 degrees forecast. Wednesday will be worse, as in all crummy, with a high of 20. Thursday will see a vast improvement, bettering to merely semi–crummy. The temperature stays the same at 20, if it can reach that high.

Metropole's météo from Pommeland across the Atlantic is suspended because our everready forecaster, Météo Jim, is off counting tree tops, I think he said. As he would say, à la prochaine.

Ersatz August

In exceedingly condensed form, here is the score. Tuesday in New York will be rainy, with a high of 19 degrees. A bit of warmth on Wednesday will help with half cloudy skies and Thursday may have a high of 29 while the skies are actually half sunny. Even warmer is foreseen for Friday, but at the risk of being a little stormy.

Café Life

I Remember the Scooter

Some people have told me they like Paris when it is foggy and damp, when it is cool and rainy. They say they like to see it in subdued colors, mostly gray, without highlights or defined shadows. I suppose they are trying to say that Paris isn't the Riviera. It hasn't any right to be warm and sunny, smell like hot southern flowers and it's okay if all the women are dressed head–to–foot, like for funerals.

photo, seine, pont des arts, clouds Lots to see in the sky.

And I say all that is a crock of merde. I don't understand why, if I want to go out and sit on café terraces until one in the morning, I should have to wear a hat, scarf, gloves, sweater, winter coat, wool socks and waterproof shoes. I can do that in the winter, and last winter was so mild that it was hardly necessary so I don't understand why this August is the pits and I am supposed to accept it.

Meanwhile, rain or no rain some folks are really riding some of the bikes the city has parked all over the place. Everywhere you go there are these bike ranks full of bikes to rent. The average one takes away three car parking slots, and they are building more all over. Parisians are going to return from holidays and have no place to park. I mean, they never have any place to park – the city makes a fortune out of it.

What the city did, they said to two companies, if you want the street advertising contract for Paris, offer us 10,000 brand new bicycles and their parking places, and a fully automated rental structure, plus drive–back and repair facilities – on a barge! – cards, databases, the whole shebang a–to–z, and JCDecaux lost, er, I mean, won. They had the advertising before and they meant to keep it. Now they will have the inside track on selling the bikes to other cities.

Meanwhile, there are people who gave up on the weather and decided to have their mouths rebuilt this summer. Just like people in the US getting their bodies rebuilt in Mexico or Paraguay, French folks are flocking to Budapest to get new teeth. There are package deals – flight, hotel, five implants and six crowns, for a lousy 7,000€, including wine and goulash. Ten days and they come back with glitter faces.

photo, paris plage Typical lack of sun on Paris–Plage.

It makes a nice contrast. Other folks, who went to the stinkingly overpriced Riviera, are actually coming back looking filthy brown. Then they smile and they've got these dingy teeth. Everyone smokes down there. And these fish–white people have blinding white teeth. I don't know which is more sickening. All that paprika goulash or all that pissy rosé.

Well, it hardly matters now. Paris–Plage finished yesterday. City hall has played this one cool, telling Le Parisien over two weeks ago that they were not counting attendance this year. With three main sites, they said, too hard to count. This, I am sure, caused the rain.

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