One of the most fascinating things about riding the Eurostar with my laptop is that I see everyone’s wireless networks come and go.  Alice has set up a wireless network for her home in le bainlieue, for example.  In an instant Alice is gone.  As we leave les bainlieues, the wireless networks grow scarcer.  It is like a living indicator of how many, whom, and who has what.  It isn’t long until I don’t have any available networks, just green fields, the steeples of little provincial churches in the distance, houses huddled around them, and the massive electrical lines that run across the country.

I am interested in how people live with technology, especially in other places.  I was shocked to find a dearth of wifi access points in Paris proper, and I had been warned previously about abyssmally slow internet connections throughout Europe.  The best bet seems to make friends with someone who has a wireless router.  I was able to join Tristan’s network pretty easily.

The other choice seems to be le Centre Pompidou.  I wish I had had more time to explore la bibliotheque there, because one of the things they have are vast tracts of computing stations.  As a museum of modern and contemporary art, le Centre Pompidou does have a focus on the use of modern information technology in the creation of art.  I actually almost bought a French book about the internet in the creation of art in the bookstore there, but I didn’t.  Probably should have.

I think I am seriously falling in love with France, with the French — our gracious host Tristan, the beautiful girl who asked me for a cigarette as we left le Centre Pompidou, the bartender at le Cafe Noir with the great sense of humor, Tristan’s friends who embraced me as a friend of theirs.  I do look forward to coming back.  Maybe one day my dad and I will rent a BMW and drive through the beautiful French countryside.  From the train, even in the rain and the afternoon haze, the fields fallow for winter, I realize this is a place I want to get to know better.

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