Paris:– Thursday, 7. September:– It's a good thing the weather is simple tonight because Metropole's server has been razzing me, in effect saying that it will accept uploads of files it already has but it doesn't want to see any new files. Not from New York and not from yesterday when the old sun was plastering the Luxembourg garden with jollies.
It is certainly no way to treat somebody just returned from a harmless holiday, yesterday, hardly jetlagged. Why, even my ears popped somewhere on a twenty–hour bus ride from the airport. That never happened before. Usually the deaf numbness takes six weeks to wear off.
So there I was, hearing everything as clear as bells – I should say hearing the monthly air–raid siren test that's been wailing every month since the Soviet Union borrowed the atomic bomb from America. Then I found that my magazine shop has abandoned all hope – who reads? – and my favorite bakery retired. The rentrée can be bitter.
Meanwhile on the TV–weather news front the old météo is fairly simple. We can forget yesterday's glorious 30 degree temperature and cloudless sky and look forward to more sunshine although it will be laboring under or over a thinnish screen of clouds. There will be a wispy wind from the northeast but it will only be enough to notice that the air is not stagnant. With this the temperature should be about 23 degrees.
Saturday has been advertised as being sunnier than Friday, and our patience will be rewarded with an extra degree. Then, for September we will get a sunny Sunday with a forecast temperature of 27 great, whopping, Celsius degrees. Revel in it.
You might think that spending five weeks in New York might have caused me to forget the way to the club, but no such luck. Allright, I'll admit I missed walking past the old cemetery under the leafy trees and the underground ride in the Métro, while somewhat warmer than expected, treated me to the usual thrill of seeing the new billboard posters that entertain all the poor wage–slaves on their daily voyages.
Having a couple of extra minutes in hand allowed me to inspect the progress of the renovation on the Pont Neuf. They are on the last bit on the right, north, side, and the whole thing should be finished sometime before 2011. The main thing is that they are doing a proper job of it and not skimping by not filling the 300 year–old cracks with jumbo putty.
The club's café La Corona is still spelled wrong but I am willing to let it go. Otherwise it appeared to be pretty much like it always is. Folks were lounging around its terraces and waiters were gliding around with trays of drink and plates of tasty French food followed by the usual smells of red wine and frites.
On the street in front the usual drivers were doing their usual thing of being periodically in a huge stall, and then bolting off to the next set of traffic lights. In short, if it weren't for the rentrée, the whole world here would be tip–top and full of hot feathers.
Monsieur Ferrat greeted me, the bar staff waved high–signs, the waterworks were in order, and the club's area in the café's grande salle was ready and waiting. I plunged into the thick of it and turned on the club's 'welcome' sign with a virtual flourish.
Then, as is often enough the case, nothing happened. So I pulled out my copy of today's Le Parisien and settled in to catch up on five weeks' worth of back news. I was on page 149, looking in vain for any mention of Nicolas Sarkozy when members Maureen and Terry Cooper from San Francisco swept in carrying bags and packages and settled into seats while disembarking their mascots, the veteran Bongo and one of the latest additions, whose name I stupidly neglected to carefully note.
Terry said, "It's number 251." That I caught but then Moe said, "You bought me seven more since then!" From earlier visits to the club I can remember that each and every one has a name as well as a number but for the life of me, they are all Bongo.
And every one has a distinct and colorful history. This new Bongo might have been acquired yesterday in the lobby of a hotel in Nice that is not the Negresco but it is within sight of it so it's nearly the same thing. The new Bongo has his charms, to wit, a handsome knife with a corkscrew that could be handy if you have miniature fingers.
As I am being boggled by this the former Tomoko Yokomitsu now known to all club members worldwide as Yoko makes a grand but subdued entrance, also with shopping bags and other bags, als with a mascot, which is usually a cat possibly called Kitty but I can't be certain.
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