Pipe Dreams

photo, restaurant les trois canettes in the rue des canettes What's on the menu besides ducklings?

In the Quartier Latin

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 21. July:–  This is usually a slow day around here with a lot of the shops and some cafés closed because they were open on Saturday or Sunday. But at this time of year after all of the July waves of vacationers have struggled through the train stations or past the tolls on the autoroutes, there are empty parking spaces on the street for the first time since last August. Hey, I was saying to myself, has everybody gone? All the banging, drilling and crashing of renovations in the building for the last three weeks seems to have stopped too.

So when I went shopping for grub this afternoon at Monoprix I expected wide aisles and no waiting at the checkout. Of course it was a big mistake because they sent half the cashiers to holiday spas on the Riviera and the other half of their machines were grumpy. Although there were only six lonely customers in the baracks checking out took longer than on turkey lines on Christmas Eve. The weather is not on strike – er, I mean, for a change there's good news.

photo, shadows, granite pavement Golden pavements.

Sunshine Means Paris–Plages

It just goes to show that July can be summery when it wants to be and it should want to be more often, but now it is, so rah rah rah. According to tonight's TV–weather and fantasy, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will be sunny, sunny and sunny. I ignored any hints of thin clouds, high stratos, and minor items like clouds in Alsace to announce these three. After the graceful Tania pointed out that temperatures are below normal, she gave us 24 for tomorrow, 26 for Wednesday and 27 for Thursday, which is the club day of the week. These values are below normal but after what we've had they seem dreamy.

In years past the Paris–Plages operation always opened on a Wednesday or Thursday, but this year the kick–off was today. They must have moved mountains of sand since Saturday night when the Seine's north coast seemed somewhat desolate. Compared to past editions everything is bigger, better and more wonderful this year. For some reason the plage near the grand library in the 13th is no show this time around. Could it be because of the métro renovations that have shut down the line 6 between Bercy and Place d'Italie. Again! Cut off from a summer of rollicking at the Batofar are we? Paris–Plages continues until 21. August.

photo, sign, la flore de alba ashtray

This week Météo Jim looks nearby for windy weather that won't be near anybody real soon. Here is Jim's latest Monday up–to–date version of how it will be in and around greater Pommeland and at Water Taxi Beach:–

Bertha, Cristobel and Dolly

About a century ago a famous singer sang the praises of those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. That was before the days of ozone, smog and heat alerts and skin protection of 40 or better. Now they are merely the icky, sticky days of summer. Temperatures in Pommeland have been in the low to mid 90s a–grad with heat warnings and high humidity. The sticky ickies are predicted to last until Monday when a cool front will arrive and lower the thermometer to the mid 80s.

photo, sign, round window

In the meantime, mean Hurricane Bertha has been downgraded to silly Tropical Storm Bertha, but like the Energizer Bunny, she keeps on kicking. The weather service announced the birth of Tropical Depression Cristobal swirling off the coast of South Carolina. Cristobal is predicted to move the the northeast. Another swirl has grown into becoming Tropical Depression Dolly. Her path will take her over the Yucatan Peninsula, and perhaps into the $50 a barrel range.

As for the coming week, expect temperatures in the mid 80s a–grad with a chance of thunderdonnergeboomenearshsplitten storms in the afternoon.

A la prochaine, Météo Jim

photo, saturday night, rue des canettes Almost dancing in the street, again.

Café Life

Hollywood In Paris

I went out for a walk around on Saturday night. The weather cleared up and kept its promise to give a sundown sky with lots of orange and long shadows. I stayed mostly in the Quartier Latin and while walking I was thinking of club member Alan Pavlik stuck in Hollywood. It can't be a lot of fun to be stuck in Hollywood day and night, watching the political shows on TV, reading the papers and surfing the Internet all the time. A guy's gotta have dreams too.

He talks a good game, living in his pad just off Sunset, home of delicious honeys trying to make it in Hollywood. Does he ever go to the swimming pool? Does he ever offer to show them how to play ping–pong? What about taking them out for a spin around Sunset, West Hollywood, or up to the Hollywood sign? See that view – mile upon mile of lights in the flat endless suburbs, as far as the eye can see to Mexico when it isn't too smoggy.

photo, jardin des pierres, rue guisarde, quartier latin Sightseeable obstruction.

Alan doesn't do any of those things because he has Paris. He used to have a cat but that is another story. He still has his pipe, and I assume there's a bottle of some sort of Scotch around, and there's old movies on TV sometimes when he's got the pinwheel eyes from the computer monitor. And sometimes he has Paris.

For example, he used to stay at the Hotel Madison on the boulevard Saint–German. He used to stay there because it is a four–minute walk from everything, almost everything, he cherishes. If he gets up before noon he might feel like breakfast. He has two choices – he can go to the Deux Magots and have a hot chocolate and a fresh croissant with a tiny pot of strawberry jam.

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