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Some Triple Firsts

photo, group, dee, mitch, elizabeth From left, Dee, Mitch and Elizabeth, the Group of the Week.

Including Gin Tonic

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 17. April:–  The students who have been demonstrating against teacher cuts – a government reform measure – were out on the streets again today, arguing again tonight that they were 30,000 strong while the authorities are only crediting them with being 10,000. Tonight's TV–news did add that it was the first student demo since Tuesday.

The usual 20 troublemakers were arrested, after the usual broken windows, flying rocks and teargas. In response the government staged some announcements concerning cutting family allowances and other measures too technical for me to remember, except for the banning of the Boulogne Boys, who were particularly overactive supporters of the PSG football team – the Paris team on the very brink of playing in the bush league next year.

Spring continues to lurch around, trying to get the upper hand on nasty intentions floating in from the Atlantic. The good news is the temperatures have made a lunge for 18 degrees, after having grasped at 15 last week. More weather follows the club report.

photo, gin tonic drink of the week G & T, the Drink of the Week.

The Triple Firsts of the Week Report

The club's café was far from full of folks contemplating eating overcooked cheese this afternoon when I arrived. I had to wrinkle my nose. What's that smell? It's not the sweet smell of tasty garlic I fear. Can it be severely–burnt cheese? Open the doors, open the windows! Let some cheeseless air in here.

I had no sooner reached the club's area in the grande salle when Patrick, the Waiter of the Week, informed a lady nursing a café that the club was in session because the person of the club's secretary was in the club's place, apparently ready to receive all who desired to become members. I didn't bother to take out today's Le Parisien. In my haste to have the club's affairs in order I mistakenly started the meeting's notes on the wrong page.

I shouldn't mention a boo–boo like that. Members like to think this club rolls on wheels greased with the most expensive foie gras. Forbid they might think there are Ritz cracker crumbs in the ball bearings!

But there it was. New member Elizabeth Manny from Taos, New Mexico was hardly seated before I was writing City of the Week in a free space following the report for the first meeting in January. According to information I received I also noted that the elevation is 7000 feet and – there's another Thing of the Week! and folks in Taos don't drink a lot except water, because buildings aren't supposed to be more than 27 feet high.

photo, red wine runnerup drink of the week Runnerup of the Week.

At that altitude it can get hot in the summer and cold in the winter. But the real point is that Taos, City of the Week, is also Highest Place of the Week, a true first. It is also home to some formerly famous people who haven't been seen much lately because residents were button–holing them, spoiling their appreciation of wine and cheese during cultural events. And I don't mean Julia Roberts, whoever she is.

Now I skip forward to the bulk of the notes, in their correct location. By this time two members had come in and taken their places. These were Dee and Mitch Bitting, from Daytona Beach, Florida, who claimed to have joined the club three years ago. In fact it was 28. April 2005, not quite three years ago. Close enough.

The first order of business was to get Patrick's attention and order a bunch of drinks. Paris is only a few metres above sea level so it's okay to drink stuff thicker than water, like beer and wine, and a gin tonic, the Drink of the Week. Golly but it's a long time since we have had one of those. Orange juice doesn't cut it.

Elizabeth told us about working at Printemps in the summer of 1967. Besides a small salary she was elegible for a 30% discount. We sipped our drinks while we thought about francs and prices way back then, and a strong dollar too.

Apropos of the current dollar, in the tank, Dee said that they had saved for three years for their Paris trip. This led logically enough to Elizabeth's story about having her pocket picked in the Marais, possibly by a couple of well–dressed women – who weren't with us to deny it. Elizabeth had earlier said she travels a lot, and this was her third or fourth experience.

It was generally thought that pickpockets are professional and if they think you've got it, they'll get it. The only self–defense is to let them have as little as possible, of the least importance as possible. The phone calls for arranging for new plastic were the most harrowing, she said.

Word was, Barcelona is supposed to be the most plagued by pickpockets at the moment. Easter in Rome is over and spring is sprung in Spain so that's why they are there. Next stop – could be Paris in June, for the tennis at Roland Garros.

photo, elizabeth with gala reading matter Elizabeth and Gala. Sneeze!

You might think this is very depressing but if you are a traveller it is like rain. Some of it is going to fall on your trip. Think up a stop–loss strategy before you arrive.

Elizabeth asked us what we liked most about Paris. Dee said she liked watching Parisians. Mitch might have said the same thing. I was ordering my orange juice at the time. Then he said, "Daytona is hot as hell!"

Then we were discussing drinking boilermakers – like with Crown Royal! in a Hoosier tavern in, say, Crown Point, Indiana. Bank robber John Dillinger escaped from Crown Point's Lake County Jail by using a fake gun. The town was so embarrassed that it erected no plaque, but the lady sheriff of the time lived to the ripe age of 102, and Dillinger of course, did not.

Although no actual name was mentioned concerning the boilermaker drinker, a question did arise about Carla, aka Madame Sarkozy. It's exact nature became lost when Elizabeth brought out her copy of the latest Gala, which I commenced to confuse with Hola.

photo, beer hasbeen drink of the week Cool, frothy, Hasbeen
of the Week.

Frankly I don't know the difference, except that I noted that Gala has gotten very glossy. Can it be that trash journalism pays off? I suppose it's too late for me to find out. A little after five we wrapped the meeting. As I was leaving La Corona Dee and Mitch were by the front door, noticing that the postcards were, "The cheapest in Paris!" according to Mitch. Take note, members.

Could It Be True Weather

For weather fans out there, two weeks ago I explained that I am not going to take this crummy weather as a personal insult and write a 400 word tirade about it two times a week. Try and remember that I have good intentions. Here is the new and improved version:

Winter does not want to quit. Spring is stalled at one–quarter. Friday may be a bit sunny in Paris, and it'll be windy, from the northeast. All the same the temperature should hop to 16 degrees. With only a drop of one point Saturday might be better, but Sunday might be mostly cloudy, maybe with some light rain. There's a prediction of 18 for the high. Could it be true?

About the Café Metropole Club

Fold your fingers around your mouse to see a club meeting report buried in a buried archive somewhere in these pages. Less exciting than reading sports news during club meetings but nothing is seldom perfect. A clue about what we might have been doing today may help and can be found on the About the Café Metropole Club webpage.

graphic, club location map

Dim Lights In the Patazone

Like other unrehearsed Thursdays , semi out of control and on occasion, like today, some wonderful members present. Club meetings run from 15:00 to 17:00 on Thursdays. The next meeting will be on Thursday, 24. April. The metric times are equivalent to 3 to 5 pm around other unmetric places, while meetings are held right here. Whatever you feel like saying can be heard by the other members present if there are any and if they are listening, and sometimes they are, but not always.* Your other, absolutely true, stories are totally welcome too even if they are true.

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. Stay unfound if you must.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since the last meeting on account of today's outstanding collection of unanticipated firsts, quotes, tips about pickpockets and trash magazine covers that made me sneeze.

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, 24. April.

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