Posted by Rainer Brockerhoff (away):
Live from Paris, rather to my own surprise.

I should have arrived today instead of Friday, but circumstances conspired to make us skip Amsterdam completely. Not only were there no hotels available within 100 Kms. of the city, but my companions neglected to mention our Amsterdam stopover to the lady at the KLM counter; as their luggage was going to go to Paris directly anyway, we decided to go with it.

Fortunately our hotel had rooms available and we took the opportunity to see Paris. I’d been here previously in 1995, but two of my companions were new to the city. So yesterday we had a day-long walk from the Île de la Cité to the Tour Eiffel. Today we spent some time in the Louvre and then I walked to the Place de la Republique, where I’m posting this.

Internet Cafés are not very common in Paris, although people tell me more are opening; we also saw some signs advertising WiFi hotspots, although it wasn’t clear whether access was free or not.

I’m typing (or rather, hunting and pecking) this on a venerable Pentium II, running Windows 98, with a French AZERTY keyboard. Grrh. I had less trouble in Budapest and Prague; only the centermost keys are at the usuql plqce (oops, “usual place”). The ambience is rather unusual… the place seems to cater mostly to Asian youths intent on playing net games and/or downloading p0rn. Cables are strewn all over the place and there is no sign advertising its presence; I walked past it twice, in fact, until a helpful pedestrian set me straight.

Fortunately, on Tuesday the Apple Expo starts with the anxiously expected Stevenote (sorry, typing URLs is too exhausting with this keyboard) and I hope to able to use my Airport-equipped iBook inside the Press center. So expect more detailed updates in a couple of days. Au bientôt…