...Continued from page 1

photos, fiat 500 nouvo and original fiat 500 On the left, the Nouvo and on the right, the original.

Is it time for a new contest? There's at least one club member who thinks it is past time for one. The club's secretary is not as spry as he used to be, so look at the photos above. The Fiat 500 of the Week was a fairly regular feature until Fiat decided to cash in on the Mini phenom by launching the Nouvo last year. Now you begin to see them on the streets, and occasionally you can even compare old to new. Look closely. Which is the better–looking car? You call this a contest? I said I wasn't spry. Help out here.

Sprung Tropical Spring

After a lot of false alarms it looked like, it felt like – spring, like it seemed to be really real Saturday and this was confirmed on the evening's TV–news when they said, but did not show, temperatures of 31 degrees in Biarritz where the surfers hang out waiting for a wave. Most of the time it comes when the temperature is only one degree, but that doesn't make news.

Instead they showed some inlet they call a creek east of Marseille. It looked pretty barren at first and I thought they could have shown Cassis but that may have been too snooty. So, anyway, at this creek that looked barren, folks were lying around on the beach, looking not a bit snooty. Nobody was topless. That tells you that these folks were rounded up at a busstop in a hurry and dragged out to this creek so they could pretend to be enjoying spring on the Riviera.

photo, greek dressed maiden wading Spring means babes and water.

In fact the TV–news found some brainless teenagers who went in the water. It must have been another creek because it looked like a photo from travel agency brochure. Yeah, like paradise. The kids went in and came out in 30 seconds, gasping. Yeah, cold they said. Like it always is in May.

Meanwhile the TV–news showed some spring in Paris. At Trocadéro folks had their feet in the water. People will do anything for the TV–news. I forget their other clips. The ice cream dealer. The drinks vendor. I'm not sure where they were.

Your reporter was out east, in the 12th arrondissement, which is famous for the Gare de Lyon, where you can get a train to take you to Marseille in three hours. East of the station there is an area where computer shops have gathered. This is where the kids go to find parts for hot mods. It isn't something you would ever see on the TV–news.

I kept on going and eventually hit the sunshine at Bercy, the location of Paris' only true pyramid covered in grass. There were a few kids strumming guitars and a few others were riding their skate boards part time. It wasn't a scene of interest to the forces of law and order, regardless of a sign hanging off an adjacent apartment building saying that folks should shut up.

photo, on the bridge Spring means 35 bridges over the Seine.

Coming off the heights I spied a feature I never noticed before. This was a sort of canyon, down which tumbled water from a scummy looking pond behind it. Closer to it I could see that the pond wasn't as scummy as I thought. Up close it reflected the sky which was mostly blue. Now you know how they make those photos in travel brochures. A maiden waded in the water. When she got out she lifted her Greek dress to check the scum level on her white legs. At least she hadn't been showing off for the TV–news.

Inside the park, at the right bank end of the footbridge, there is a waterfall that steps down steps. Somebody went to a lot of trouble to turn some boring granite stairs into a place where kids can play, always at the risk of falling down and bruising their scrawny necks. The minders sitting around were watching for dirty old men, and the kids were having a high old time. Again this was a completely unrehearsed scene the TV–news overlooked. Even I didn't realise it at the time.

photo, ship, three masts, seine Spring means new adventures.

Crossing the swoopy bridge was an anticlimax. There are three things you can do on the bridge. You can walk across it to get to the other side. You can stand on it, deciding to cross or go back. Or you can look at the view. You can see the the biggest library ever built by a Socialist president. You can see the world's only finance ministry with a porte cochère that has water on the floor. You can see the Batofar, the city's floating but empty pool, and the métro line six flying across the river. And you can see the three–masted ship tied up beside it. I figure it has overstayed its six–week visit by a couple of years. Too lazy to take down the masts I guess.

Riding back to Montparnasse I decided to skip Chinatown. A lot of people with a lot of luggage got on the train. I thought they were going to Montparnasse to get the train to Biarritz but they got off, like me, at Denfert. They must have been heading for Orly or Roissy. You have a choice at Denfert. I went to Monoprix and got a weekend's supply of bananas. I intended to put on a Hawaiian shirt and kick off my winter shoes, and have something tropical to eat, but I didn't foresee my frigo dying. It just goes to show something.

photo, sign, rue brahms

Soldes d'Eté Déjà

Like the annual winter sales, the summer sales happen once every year. This is programmed to happen with or without any summer. In fact, the less summer 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 slight. Here the start date for the sales will be Wednesday, 25. June, and the good times roll on to 2. August.

photo, sign, place felix eboue

The Fantastic Café Metropole Club

Club meetings with some members are okay with me, and last week there were three again, 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 8. May, the day a week after the rest of May started. All members–in–any form, any standing, of any sort will be wonderfully welcome, welcome.

Repetition here is slated to end but persists forever. 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, le bruit - ca suffit!

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

Some of you have might have been thinking that it is only fair and right to recall that it was today in 1862 that troops led by Ignacio Zaragoza stopped an invasion by the French at Puebla, becoming Cinco de Mayo in Mexico but not, alas, Independence Day. Check on 16. September for that. The French insist on Napoléon Ier even though we seldom think of the other two. On this date in 1821 Napoléon died of boredom and illness – perhaps accidental arsenic poisoning. Nobody is certain so it was probably boredom. Meanwhile George Eastman received a patent for rollfilm in 1885, which ushered in the Brownie in time for photography for the masses, in 1900, but not on this date. The camera containing rollfilm cost one dollar. You had a Brownie and I had one. That's our little world, folks!

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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