Paris' Tropical Weather

photo: group, mary, lauren, laurel, eva, barry, doug, nancy, ron, emily, ellen

Ten 'Members of the Week,' plus the waiter, minus
member number one.

Secretary in Coma, Loses Marbles

Paris:- Thursday, 12. June 2003:- I forget what the forecast was, but yesterday was a beautiful day, for summer, here. Some time very early this morning it caved in. Rain on the head woke me up, and the humidity was terrible.

Later on, when I staggered into consciousness, the humidity was still suffocating. It isn't often that Paris in the late spring feels like Cuba in the summer. I thought, 'this isn't a Hawaiian-shirt day, unless one has a cigar to go with it.' Since I had no cigar to go with breakfast, I put on an ordinary summer shirt.

Tonight's TV-weather news forecast is only for tomorrow. It is supposed to be mostly sunny, starting out with 15 degrees and hitting 26 in the afternoon. I think this might be lower than today's temperature this afternoon.

But it's hard to tell because Le Parisien forecasted a high of 26 for today. A '26' feeling like 34 in the jungle. Phwuh! The Parisien's forecast for tomorrow is mostly sunny too, butphoto: drinks, orangina, tea with a high of 30. If today was any indication - for example, Colmar in eastern France had a record high of 37 today instead of the predicted 32 - then tomorrow might be - what?

Club members are discouraged from wearing 'sensible' shows, but who cares what they drink?

For Saturday, Le Parisien says we can expect a day 'in the tropics.' Sunday is to be worse, with a day of 'latitude zéro.' Monday is expected to be a day of total sunshine, with temperatures at 30 or above for all of France.

Not an 'exception,' but reserve some doubt about this. The TV-weather news wouldn't venture beyond tomorrow. This means the whole thing may crack up, pour rain to clear away the fug, and have the re-set start off at a lower, supportable level.

My trip to Châtelet in the métro is an uneventful steambath. The strikes are over and I have to spend a ticket for the ride. On the day that was set for a half million kids to write their BAC-Philo exams, they are writing them. The subject is 'dialogue.' The striking teachers gave the go-ahead last night.

The garbagemen are still on strike in Marseille, but the rest of France should be running normally again by tomorrow. The conflict isn't over - it continues for the moment in the Assembly National, and in Marseille's streets. The unions have promised that if the politicians don't get it right, they will be back. Probably in the fall.

Leaving the métro's steamy underground at Châtelet, I find another one above ground on the Rue de Rivoli. I swim to the club's café La Corona where everybody looks like they are in the same coma as I am in. At the bar, Monsieur Ferrat says, "Il y a du monde," waiting for the club's secretary. It is 14:55.

I meet Ellen Campbell and Emily Campbell, who are from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I am pretty sure this is the 'City of the Week' and it isn't even 15:00 yet. They are talking to Mary Marcus from Dallas, Texas. All three have expected to find light-weight spring-like weather in Paris - not at-home weather.

It is the Campbell's first visit to Paris. Ellen won a trip for two for a week in a raffle, and extended it to two. Mr. Campbell prefered to go to London, so Ellen brought Emily to Paris instead.

As soon as Ellen learned she was coming to Paris, she took 12 lessons in French. I think winning a trip to Paris by club members is an extraordinary true 'first.'

It is also Mary's first trip to Paris. She has come for a vacation, and thinks Paris should be air-conditioned like every other civilized tropical country. She has been browsing in the shops and some of these are air-conditioned. You go in them and get cool and thoughtful about the prices, and when you leave them without buying anything, the outside climate clouts you.

Ron Bristol, a club member from Austin, Texas, who appears at club meetings three or four times a year, appearsphoto: waters of the week again. He thinks Paris is having three of Dallas' four seasons, none of which are 'the rest of the year.' But not for long - Ron is going to St. Petersburg to see its 300th anniversary now that the razzle- dazzle is over.

In fact, most of today's members were professed 'hydraulics.'

Doug Fuss, a well-known member who always visits Paris when Savannah gets weather like we have now, arrives and says, "There's no shade at the bus stops at Concorde." He adds that Austin, at least, has telephone poles for shade.

Eva Lee from Tranquility, New Jersey, floats in from visiting the south of France with Sally Dilgart, who returned to Chicago yesterday. Eva knows Sally went to Roissy yesterday and she hasn't come back. From today's club meeting then - 'Bon Voyage Sally!' Eva does not say Paris is more humid than New Jersey. Sally is not here to say it is no worse than Chicago.

At 15:35 a thirsty Mary Marcus asks, "Who is the 'Waiter of the Week?'"

Mary and the Campbells had drinks when I arrived 40 minutes earlier, but nobody has remembered that we are in a café again until now. Ron scans the menu and discovers that San Pellegrino costs the same as Perrier, but comes in a bigger bottle.

Today, as an exception, I need one of these. When the 'Waiter of the Week' does show up, I forget to pay enough attention - still in a coma - to stop my automatic order of a double-express, and everybody else either gets a San Pellegrino or a Perrier, and I get hot café.

New member Laurel Avery, from Nyack, New York, shows up with new member Barry Wright from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Laurel does the club's non-obligatory questionnaire, and writes that she has been in Paris 16 times before, and there's never going to be an 18th time because the 17th is going to last forever.

Barry does the questionnaire too and answers a question not asked, by giving permission to publish even the nude photos of him, in Metropole.

When I look up next from writing some very sketchy notes, I see that member Lauren Camera-Murray has slipped into the meeting, and is sitting opposite Laurel. Before I can introduce them, I forget both their names.

In fact, with six new members and four already-members on hand I am losing track of my secretary marbles. I see, belatedly, that new member Nancy Pillifaut has arrived, also from - from where? It's either from Austin because Ron has said Nancy will be coming, or she is from Dallas, but Nancy has come before Lauren - who dropped in from the sky somehow.

Here it is. Nancy is from Dallas, Texas. There is a lot of talk about an airport called Love Field near Dallas that is restricted to flights with destinations in Oklahoma because of some poky Federal law that decrees that the Dallas-Fort Worth thing is the only one allowed to have other destinations.

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