Copenhagen, East Longmeadow

photo, group, lucky, natalie, doug, valerie Why are Lucky, Natalie, Doug and Valerie laughing?

Long Time No City of the Week

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 31. July:–  When I got home from the club I drank a big glass full of cold gazpacho. During the club meeting I drank twice as much orange juice as usual, two whole glasses. Now I've just finished my second fake beer and started on the the third. This is probably the first time this year that I've had three fake beers. It's not real beer. Drinking more of it, drinking any of it, doesn't do a thing for you. Unlike other soft drinks it isn't sweet. In fact, this brand I have, even tastes like beer if you squeeze your eyes tight shut and hold your nose and use your memory of crummy beers. It doesn't remind anybody of a good beer, but that's the genius of fake beer. It's impossible to get addicted to it.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't a plug for fake beer. The weather people got their so–called forecast a bit wrong today. Instead of it being mostly sunny and 30 degrees it was partly cloudy and 33 degrees. It was, it still is, humid. Tonight's storm warning – for all of the departments east of the Ile de France, until 10 tomorrow, has not happened yet. I am sitting here, writing this club report, in a puddle of fake beer.

Today mobs of tourists were over and under the Pont Neuf, drooping around wearing their tattered and baggy cargo shorts, and sandwich merchants along the quai du Louvre were wiping sweat off empty tables while pretending not to moan about all the tasty sandwiches being sold on the plage across the street. More, semi interesting, but exciting weather details follow the club report.

photo, waters, perrierA rising tide.

The Long Time No City of the Week Club Report

Last night was another one of those color film sundowns. Outside it was warm like soup so Uncle and I set out to find a local café terrace for a big sit and to watch the interesting people out looking for a café terrace to sit on. Actually he had just gotten home from sitting on a café terrace drinking pastis right before we started out, so we didn't try to go where he'd been. We went past the Comédia but we didn't like the looks of the one free table.

At the Didot cafés, all three of them, there were no free tables. There were no free tables at the Métro on Losserrand either. The Entrepôt has no terrace outside but by then we were weak so we sat down inside. No service materialized so we went up rue de l'Ouest and then turned east. There were no free tables at the Portugese café and we kept on going until Maine where there's that big café on the corner, one fixed up like the Rendez–Vous and now suspect because it seems to be doing a roaring business. But service was good and there was a free table.

photo, pharmacy thermometre 33 degrees Equals 91.4 anglo–grad.

At the crack of dawn about 11:00 this morning I raced out to a real estate agent to see about a new apartment. They said they were already full of applications for it. I should return in two weeks. That's about when I noticed how warm it was getting. I went home and drank some café to calm down.

The métro was not stinking hot yet. I can't say the same thing for my bridge, the Pont Neuf. Somebody forgot to raise the parasols on it. Tourists were melting like butter. They were also taking photos of each other. Oh, the memories of it! Hundreds of photos of folks wearing baggy cargo shorts with the Tour Eiffel in the distant background like a toothpick.

I only scored three poster photos from the kiosque. Slim pickings. All the awnings and parasols were deployed at the club's café, La Corona, and thirsty travellers were wolfing down frites, which looked pretty good today. Inside there were 30 assorted folks in the club's designated area so I go a free table near the open door, beside an open window, and listened for a moment to the waterfall of traffic roaring three metres away, racing to the stoplights at the bridge.

I read two semi–interesting bits of news in the paper, and I would have eventually gotten around to the boring ones if club member in perfect standing, Lucky Checkley, hadn't shown up. I already had a glass of orange juice and he quickly organized a cold Pelforth. He told me he was in Fontainebleau on Wednesday. "What was Napoléon doing there?" he asked me. We tried to figure out when this was, but gave up. The guy got around.

photo, horse cops, the republican guardFrance's Mounties – the Republican Guard.

Lucky spotted somebody on the terrace I couldn't see and took out his camera and gave it a shot. "I'm shooting people reading maps," he said. He said he has been doing it for years. There's usually no shortage of subjects. Half the people you see around these days are lost.

Then the Waiter of the Week kindly brought us two ladies. They turned out to be new – brand–new – club members, who were put off the trail by those 30 foreigners stuffed into the club's area. We just fit in together, and then member Doug Fuss arrived, snagged a stray chair, and then we were really cozy.

We had the pleasure of meeting Natalie Jangl, from East Longmeadow, MA and Valerie Guido from Copenhagen, DK. It gave me a trill to thank Valerie for this City of the Week. Frankly East Longmeadow could have got it too, but the distressed club rules forbid two cities of the week at once. Natalie took it like a good sport.

I explained about the club and its lore, not rules. Natalie and Valerie explained about their having their first meeting in 20 years, the first since they last saw each other in college. Plus, this was Natalie's first time in Paris. Valerie explained it as Natalie's former reluctance to fly.

photo, lucky shoots map reader Lucky captures map reader.

Besides the club secretary there were two members able and willing to provide the two new members all sorts of tips and to–dos. For example Natalie was pleased to learn that the Louvre is just across the street. I mean, because the club is here, there's no discount or anything. But it's handy.

Lucky gave tips for getting sunset photos. We got so involved in getting the time of sundown right, that the ladies turned to Doug for actual valuable advice. I mis–read a sign on a tourbus going past – Bomberios. And I snatched the camera out when a couple of the Republican Guards rode their beautiful horses past the café.

Lucky told Valerie about his photo adventures with the Tour de France. He always picks a spot on the Champs–Elysées where the Texans or Californians gather every year. I didn't know about that. There was something about the Mercury Landing but I don't think it was here and the Tour Eiffel at sunset. And, oh, we had fun. I mean who expects that Paris–Plages is right across the street?

photo, group and secretary The Group plus the Secretary.

I mean, there are people who don't even know Paris–Plages exists. So, you can describe this thing, this beach terrace in the middle of this old city, all its palms, deckchairs, sand pits, and whatnots, and then say it's all right across the street. It's a beautiful punchline. Look out past the terrace and there's a wall of hot, stinking metal, cars, trucks, buses, scooters, motorcycle, taxis, ambulances, and bouquinistes – who is going to believe there's a beach stashed away over there?

And then we did the Group Photo of the Week. Instead of going out the door we stepped through the open window. The secretary took his shots. Lucky shot some too. Natalie and Valerie got out their little cameras and popped off some more. Valerie recruited a nearby civilian who used all these cameras to shoot us – resulting in the ultra–rare image of the Group of the Week with the club's tubby secretary. What a wild dance that was! Whoeee. Last day of July crazies.

Summer Weather Bulletin

Tonight's version of the weather on the TV–news had a mildly optimistic forecast for the weekend. That's hardly what I wrote last week. This is summer, the real thing. It may be more beautiful than predicted. No snow either. Here are the latest tidings:

Friday is scheduled to have a morning and an afternoon just like every week in August, five in total. At noon on Friday it appears it will be semi–nice with itty–bitty cloudlettes. On Saturday the forecast is different with much bigger bitty clouds, which on Sunday may thin out to be semi–semi. High temperatures will be moderate again. Expect about 26, 24 and 24 degrees. Once again this will be perfect for outdoor picnics, dancing, strolling by the river or lounging on a nighttime terrace anywhere that suits.

About the Café Metropole Club

Boil, bubble and fubble your mouse and clickity–clack it to call up a club meeting report buried somewhere deep in these pages. Fewer audio sensations than hearing actual members' voices during club meetings. What voices? Lucky speaking Trinidadian for example. Ultra cool. 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

Light Fog In the Patazone

As unrehearsed as any Thursday , semi out of control and unusually, like today, high–milage gasless horizon tours. Club meetings run from 15:00 to 17:00 on Thursdays. The metric times are equivalent to 3 to 5 pm around other unmetric places, while meetings are held right here. The next meeting will be on Thursday, 7. August in the afternoon. If you feel like saying anything that 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. All you folks staying lost, all is forgiven.

*The above paragraph you just read has been relatively unchanged since the report a week ago because of the terrible dilemma of having two candidate Cities of the Week when only one can be it legitimately, according to club rules. Club lore!

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, 7. August.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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