The Revolt of the Taxis

photo, sunshine terrace cafe corona What you missed in Paris today.

It's Election Time Again

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 7. February:–  These are rare times. Yesterday the rain stopped and spaces appeared between the clouds and then they got bigger, and the temperature shot up to about 12 degrees. This can happen in February but nobody will bet on it. Nobody is going to say come to Paris in February because the sun can shine and it can be semi–warm, as good as it gets in Europe in the winter. It is better than normal, above normal.

I am not bragging. This is a fluke, even if it happens occasionally, and so what? One nice day does not an exceptional February make. Well there are exceptions to this too. Februarys with glass–clear skies, lasting a week, usually with pretty frigid temperatures. After a couple of months of sludge in the skies a freak February can be a real aid for getting through to the promise of spring, still a good eight weeks off.

If one of these rare times is happening now you might be sorry you didn't anticipiate it – but how could you? How could I? Well, here's what we have – tonight, early tomorrow morning, it is going to be cool. One degree was forecast. Brrrr.

photo, juice of the week, orangeMy juice of the week.

Later, after it gets light, it is going to be bright. There will be clouds around here. The sun will come up from the east someplace and it will shine slantingly right in folks' eyes, and then it will rise in the sky and spread its rays all over the land – shining on Montmartre, on the Champs–Elysées on the Quartier Latin and all over Montparnasse. It will be delicious.

The temperature on Friday is predicted to top out at 13 degrees. The sky on Saturday is forecast to be the same as Friday – all blue all day – and there's a ditto on that for Sunday. With 11 for the former and 9 for the latter, a bit cooler than Friday. What counts is the blue, blue, blue. And this is for all of France and maybe western Europe. Maybe even for Monday, after the possible morning fogs clear away.

The Revolt of the Taxis of the Week Report

Yesterday Paris was having one of its days of anarchy. The taxi drivers were demonstrating against a proposed liberalization of their licences. The government commissioned a report on how to kick–start France and one of its proposals called for free–for–all taxi licences, in the hopes of adding 30,000 hacks to the Paris fleet. So the taxi drivers en colére hung up Paris with bigger than huge jams, had go–slows on the Périfreak and the roads to the airports.

photo, cafe of the week, hot Susan's café of the week.

They were showing, with 15,000 taxis, why they don't want 45,000 taxis. TV–news showed London's minicabs, but to no effect. Drivers in Paris pay hefty sums to take over a taxi licence, which they count on a nest–egg for when they retire, and resell the licence to a new driver. And besides, all taxi drivers wear black leather jackets.

The government wasn't paying attention. The president got married and he took his eye off the ball. The taxi drivers plugged République last week and yesterday they almost brought Paris – and Lyon and Marseille and Bordeaux – to a standstill. The municipal elections are coming up – the president's majority has to battle tooth and nails with the Socialists, diverse lefties and anarchists, and the greenies. Toss the taxi proposal in the trash can, and that is what they did. Taxi drivers don't like change. That's why they vote conservative.

Of course this doesn't have anything to do with today's club meeting except that almost no members showed up, which allowed me to read Le Parisien in the grande salle with all its doors and windows open, while the few folks in town basked in the marvellous sunshine on the café's terrace, possibly wondering why the jammed traffic on the Quai du Louvre seemed so frantic and short–tempered.

photo, bridge of the week, arts The bridge of the week, I crossed.

In other news Alstom showed off their new model TGV train yesterday. To be called the AGV, it is slinkier, smoother, faster, lighter, blah blah, economical, and self–powered, and they said it will be sold in Spain and Italy. In today's paper there's a report about Air France buying a bunch of them too – for routes too short for aircraft. Take that – you cheap, puddle–jump no–name airlines!

Yes, well. The sun was still shining outside and I was getting itchy when member Susan Fuss arrived after a day spent acquiring a new refrigerator. She ordered a soup bowl of café to keep my orange juice company, and soon after Doug Fuss came in. We decided that I could go with whatever I had for a Group Photo of the Week, rather than do a last minute fake–it. Then it was 5 and we went home. Me, nearly climbing over cars and vans to cross the Quai du Louvre, to get to the Pont des Arts.

About the Café Metropole Club

Wrap your fingers around your mouse to see a club meeting report hiding in a mousehole in these very pages. Less exciting than reading the paper during club meetings but nothing is ever perfect. A hint about what I might have been doing today may help and can be found on the About the Café Metropole Club webpage.

graphic, club location map

Patazone Changes Mouth

Like all half unrehearsed Thursdays , semi out of control and on occasion, like today, two more than nearly no members. Club meetings run from 15:00 to 17:00 every Thursday. The next meeting will be on Thursday, 14. February. The metric times are the same as 3 to 5 pm around other unmetric places, while meetings are held right here. Whatever you feel like saying could be heard by the other members present if there are any and 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. Stay unfound if you must.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because it was so warm and sunny today that hundreds of actual members stayed somewhere else and maybe had their own drinks of the week, for less that mine.

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, 14. February.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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