mardi, novembre 22, 2005

Cafe de Flore: Famous, Expensive, Sucks

You can take the shotgun approach to cafés here, and you'll do alright half the time.

Today our buckshot caught dirt.

Café de Flore is famous, nearby, and had a table when we went out today for our noon o'clock breakfast. I wanted it to be special, because it was Piet's last day. But I broke my own rule when hosting visitors, whatever the town: don't experiment with their meals. I thought we were safe, I thought Dear Wife and I had eaten a pleasant lunch here on our first visit to Paris in '03.

What we got was a crappity-crap-crap meal that cost about 80 Euro--and we were only eating cheap stuff! And lest this give you the idea the place is too fancy for what we needed, and the error was ours (well, it was): the place is the closest thing I've seen yet to a Parisian approximation of a shabby American diner. Just crap. 80 Euro's of crap. Sartre ate here? No Exit, indeed. It's the kind of experience that leaves you so shell shocked you actually wonder if you should leave a few coins on the table anyways--like tipping the staff as you exit the casino that has just bankrupted you. Or something.

Second fiasco (again my fault): I wanted to share with Piet a manly oogling of that Aston Martin Zagato they've had on the showroom floor of the FDR Blvd. Aston dealer for months now. Here's a shot of what I'm talking about for all the poor, hardworking American businessman out there (a large constituency for EUROCHINO):

Note double-bubble roof. Nice. They were asking 349,00Euro (a Café de Flore kind of car). So I drag him on the two Metro lines necessary to get there, and damn if it ain't gone! And we're so behind on time, snapping a quick shot of the Arc d'Tri while crossing the Champs is all Piet can do before we're back on the Metro, back on the next Metro, back to the Bonapartment, back to the Metro, back to the RER "B" train, back to CdG.

Except we don't make it. This time the trains are stopping--stopping prematurely at the Gare d'Nord. No cops, no threats, no explanations, just no trains to CdG today. We have to take a cab.

The cab's fine, and isn't very expensive because we're departing from the far northern part of Paris Centre. Maybe we get a Transit Worker's Strike Discount. We learn it's a strike that has stopped the trains.

Once at CdG, I get to watch Piet in action with the British Air customer service folk, trying to track his bags. They have his green valise, "Oui," it arrived just today (3 days late). But as for Piet's bass...? Priceless to watch the uncontrite fatalism on the face of the B.A. flak as he explained to a very calm Piet that there was no record of his bass ever entering their system, "So, I'm sowwy, but I'm afwaid...pffft!"


Piet's got a concert to play tomorrow night (for his record label!), and instead of his instrument, he gets, "Pffft!"

Our buckshot was kickin' up a lot of dirt today.