May 16th, 2007

cruising log

Wi-fi less in St Quentin

Today was meant to be a day of rest, so after a quick run over the boat with the vacuum, washing the breakfast dishes and cleaning the galley worktops, we headed chatted to fellow boaters and the President of the Picardy cruising club before motoring into town for a leisurely lunch at Le Brazilian. We each had a main course (a steak New York special for me, Veal for him) and desert (mine was a Dame Blanch, his was apple crumble with the chantilly cream from mine). I then made the mistake of believing MWNN when he said I would get a real cappucino as this was an Italian restaurant. When my coffee arrived, it was topped with a mound of chantilly. I found it unpalatably sweet as a result and passed it over to MWNN who drank some then addedthe remainder to his own black coffee.

The rain was bouncing off the pavement in the square throughout the meal and we had to dash for the car and find another parking place closer to the tourist office where I tried to track down the local internet points. There aren't ANY in the town. The girl at the tourist office advised us to try the library and proceded to give the most garbled directions of how to get there while pointing to the tiny map she was holiding on her side of the counter. After a few unsuccessful tours of the one-way-system in the centre of town, we finally tracked the library down and I ran in and asked again for wi-fi access for my laptop. The woman in the library spoke no English but mumbled something about the possibility of my connecting to their phone line. When I explained I needed wi-fi access, she looked blank and called her assistant who informed me they didn't have any wi-fi. No they didn't know of anywhere in the town that might help. But I'd spotted a computer shop on the corner of the street that advertised setting up Macs and PCs with internet access. I asked the girls on the sales desk - they couldn't help, but they pointed me to the tech assistance counter. The young man understood my concern about updating my virus protection and told me to come back later this evening and he would see what he could do about providing me with the 'mot de pass' for his wi-fi connection. We returned to the boat for afternoon tea, prepare the laptop for its updates and to purchase more roaming ISP credits, and wait and see what happens at half 5 this afternoon. I am still amazed at the lack of provision in a town this size. The only alternative is to spend the night in a hotel such as the Etap which offers connection to Orange Wi-Fi for around 5 Euros.

The plan is to stay in port for a few days until the weather clears, do some boat maintenance, laundry and cleaning and reccie another 'ring' (the Somme) by land before castinbg off at the weekend or early next week.