Thursday, 17 May 2007

Ulysses in Search of an Apple

This is a walking trip; much more than I realized. I am in the footsteps of Thomas Coryat, and oh, my, were his big. I think he was on horseback more than he lets on. But for me, with a duty to write every day, I need time sitting down as well.

So I am surprised to find I walk so far in the towns as well as from town to town; not just to see sights and talk to people, but to find some kind of internet access. To date this is hard: the language that is most difficult for me to speak I find is not French, but Windows.

How do people use Windows? It is built to confuse. And in French it becomes a Babel of methods to lose work. Where is the USB memory stick? Why can’t I read that Word file. Why is this all so slow? And most of all: where has it all gone? Where is the Wi-fi?

I fantasize about wi-fi for my own beloved Apple Powerbook; walk all of Boulogne in search of it. Get close in the bar of an Ibis hotel; but not close enough. I am Ulysses in search of a cyber-café with Apple computers. Or a café with wi-fi. Everyone is helpful, but rueful. In a computer games store a young couple laugh: they have the answer. “McDo” they say. “Mcdo has everything.”

Perhaps McDonalds has not quite “everything.”

From a bookshop in Montreuil: the Tour de France and Windows - made for each other

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