A Small Town Like This

photo, sunday squatting on the quay, ile saint louis Any Sunday in Paris, weather permitting.

Obama On the Bridge

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 28. April:–  This week there are no advance but fake photos of spring because we really had it. This wasn't as forecast last Thursday, and Friday was a bit cloudy, but real spring was on Saturday, two days late. Sunday was predicted to be the day after real spring, and it really was – a bit cloudy – as in, you've had your day of spring. Aren't you satisfied? Well, no. One day does not spring make. The proof:

Fond Memories

It just goes to show that real spring in Paris might just be one day so I had to keep my eyes wide open or you would never know about it. Now, Monday, a while ago it was raining, and the temperature was 8 degrees lower than Sunday. Tomorrow will be even worse with stormy skies over Brittany, clouds and rain over here, with a high that may reach 16 lousy degrees.

You might as well go out because Wednesday will be no better, even without the rain, but with chaotic clouds. Don't expect more than 15 degrees. According to tonight's TV–news Thursday will be crummy but clearing, with a high of 15 again. We will try to remember spring's first and only day on Saturday, with fondness. Try, try, try to be better for Thursday, 1. May, Mayday, which is also Ascension, making Thursday a double holiday.

photo, ile saint louis, more squatters On the dock of the Seine.

With timely observations from Météo Jim we can be up to date about shark attacks. The season has opened on swimmers, so here is his less–than–brief new version of how it will be in Pommeland:–

Kissing and Flirty

The last full week of April saw the sun and temperatures kissing and flirting with the 80 a–grad readings. Trees and shrubs are in full blossom and the bare branches of a few weeks ago are about 2/3s covered with leaves. But along with the leaves comes the pollen and the pollen level has been very high.

A cold front and low pressure area dropped 18 a–inches of snow on Minnesota over the weekend. It has moved eastward and changed the sunny skies to rainy vistas along with temperatures in the lower 50s a–grad. In the meantime in the far West, temperatures in southern California reached 98 a–grad. Millions of people flocked to the beaches only to find that they were closed because of angry sharks. No doubt frustrated bathers will start migrating to Paris Plage.

As for the coming week, many cloudies and showers will prevail although the temperature will start rising into the 60s. Also, since May 1 is a holiday in France, the weather for that day will be cancelled. Also, since most of May in France is a holiday, most of the weather for that month will be cancelled as well. As for Pommeland, our only holiday in May is Monday, May 28. No word about cancelling the weather. In the meantime, the Kentucky Derby will take place next Saturday. Want to bet?

photo, sign, public toilets

A la prochaine, Météo Jim

Café Life

Obama On the Bridge

I would have slept in much longer on Friday if I hadn't received an email saying that Obama fans intended to meet on a bridge here, to wave home–made signs and wear campaign buttons, and do whatever it takes for local Democrats to call attention to their favorite candidate. I guess I mean the Democrats who aren't wearing Hillary hats. I had my chance to photograph them in Philadelphia in March but declined.

So I geared up and raced down to the Pont des Arts. It was sunny and there was a light breeze, and a number of folks were hanging around the bridge, but none of them seemed to be Democrats. I tried to recall the exact wording of the email. I couldn't. Bridge, bridge, which bridge? There's about 35 of them.

The worst was, with spring the day before, that the central area of the next bridge, my very own Pont Neuf, was obscured by leaves, tree leaves, branches, trunks. That would be another good place for 500 Democrats to gather. It was a long way to walk but I did it, past all the bouquinistes draped along the quay. You think it's near but it's a long way. Takes maybe five minutes.

photo, bridge party for obama, pont neuf Obama's bridge party on Friday.

There were no Democrats hanging around the statue of Henri IV, just some Russian spies pretending to be tourists. Then I thought that it might be a moving bridge demonstration – cross the Pont Neuf and then along the Quai du Louvre, to the Pont des Arts, and across it and then back along to the Pont Neuf. The problem – which way to go?

Not the way I came. So I shambled on towards Samaritaine. Before long, after two minutes, I saw a gang of people, and some of them had signs. Printed and hand–made – Obama. On the Pont Neuf there are these half–round bays poking out from the bridge, designed for sitting in to have your photo taken with the Tour Eiffel, in the background. All the Obama supporters in Paris filled one, with a couple left over as spares.

There were not quite as many photographing them. I will say it was a perfect time for it, sun blazing down, blue sky overhead, light breeze, bridge renovations complete. Some of the Dems held up signs but passing motorists did not slow to honk. Obama qui? I overheard that they were going to march – not in protest! – towards the Louvre so I went to the north end of the bridge to catch them coming.

By the time I re–emerged from the métro convenience they were gone, trooping their colors along the quay. Spreading the word around the city. More Obama Dems than I'd seen in Philadelphia. Even if I didn't see them there, he won handily in the city's three districts. I wondered if Hillary will have any bridging events.

It's a Small Town

When we really had spring, on Saturday, I forgot to go out. I had all the windows open and when I looked out the leaves were growing so fast that the cemetery across the street disappeared behind the trees. It was warm and the central heat was off, probably over until I can see the cemetery again.

So I went out on Sunday instead. It started off as a spring day too, despite the earlier forecast that said it would be March again. When it is pleasant on Sunday, when it is not an election day, Parisians love to go out and wander around pretending to be tourists. They like to go to the Luxembourg but I was there last week. They like to go to the islands, the Ile de la Cité, and Ile Saint–Louis, and hang out.

photo, quay, steps, cafe, sunday strollers Café with a beach by the stairs.

I thought a bunch of them sitting on the quays around the islands could be photographed, showing what Parisians look like sitting around on quays, watching the world and time pass by. But I bet, you don't even have to see any photos to get the idea. Take a riverbank anywhere and add a warm Sunday and a bunch of folks. The photo isn't going to tell you much more than you already know.

It's a problem. But I got what I went for even if I was disappointed with the results. I turned to leave the Pont Saint–Louis, and I saw Terrace Gelenter coming along. We decided to go and have a café together. He wanted to find a place on the terrace of the Oasis right there but it was more than full.

It wasn't too far, across the Pont Louis–Philippe,, to the café on the other side. It's a lovely place with a garden terrace, but it was full too. We went up the rue Louis–Philippe, towards Rivoli and at the Tartine we spied one free table out on the sidewalk, and shoehorned ourselves onto its chairs. The busy waiter fixed us up with drinks.

Then, like Parisians, we sat there and watched Rivoli pass by. It is possible that Rivoli isn't the greatest street in town, but the Tartine is on the north, sunny side, the Marais side, so the foot traffic is possibly more interesting than on the south, shady, side. I haven't been near the Tartine for at least ten years. It used to be a fun dump.

We admired the passersby. It's what you do here. It's harmless. It's what's called living in Paris. Whatever might be urgent can be done some other day. But some things have to be done the same day so we didn't sit there like a couple of toads from dawn until dark. We had our drinks, added on a half hour, and then strolled east on Rivoli to Saint–Paul, where I caught the métro. It's a small town, like a village.

Soldes d'Eté

Like the annual winter sales, the summer sales happen once a year, but in summer and this is programmed to happen with or without any spring. In fact, the less spring there is, the more stuff there will be on sale. However since the goods on sale are priced in euros your possible savings might be skimpy. Many Europeans are instead blowing their sales' wads in America, where New York is a favored shopping site. Here the start date will be Wednesday, 25. June, and the good times roll on to 2. August.

photo, sign, quai des grands augustins

The Fantastic Café Metropole Club

Club meetings with some members are okay with me, and last week there were three, all welcome. Other members and candidates are welcome too, I promise. The next Thursday that everything at the Café Metropole Club will be 101% new, will be on 1. May, the day before the rest of May starts. All members–in–any form, any standing, of any sort will be wonderfully welcome, welcome.

Repetition forever here is slated to end but persists. Several true facts and other false rumors about the club are on a page called the About the Club Webpage. Readers who have actually read it, and one or two may have, may become club members even despite their wishes.

photo, sign, rue des grands augustins

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

A few folks have might have been thinking that it is only fair and right to recall that it was today in 1789 that sailors on the Bounty rebelled against Captain William Bligh, launching events that led to hangings, dangerous adventures, deaths, promotions, movies and for some, a life lived happily ever after. It was also today in 1902 that the standard Year Zero was defined. Before that we had 1 BC or 1 AD but nothing in between. One billion minutes later was 10:40 on this date. Trust me. It's like there is no zero floor for buildings in America but we have them in Europe. While we are here let us recall that France instituted a 6 franc annual road tax on bicycles in 1893. Finally, and by no means least, it is international Anti–Noise Day today. That's our little world, folks!

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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