Day 2- Finding wee-fee

Why is it so hard to find Wi-Fi?  Or as the French say, wee-fee?  Maybe because old town Antibes has no Starbucks or McDonald’s.   Marc, the rental agency owner told me that he thought a restaurant, Le Jardin had it.  I went by there last night- a cute little place with a couple tables under nice lighting situated against the sidewalk.  I asked the lady, “Do you have internet?”  She looked at me like I had just belched.  I tried again, a different way, this time in French of all things.  “Avez-vous wee-fee?”  “Non, non” she said, shaking her head like she could poof me away.  I wasn’t about to give up.  Marc told me I could get service at “Le Jardin” and that was where I was.  Maybe she thought I was asking if this was an internet café.  “Avez-vous internet service? I have my own computer” I said as I was fishing in my huge purse for my new netbook.  “NON, non.” She said, acting like I was a fly she wanted to swoosh out of her sight.  “Merci!” I said as friendly as possible.  Hmmm…. Why would he say they had it and she act like it was impossible?

I finally found what appears to be the only place in all of old Antibes that offers free Wi-Fi to customers, The Blue Lady Pub.  It’s a restaurant/bar that stops serving food and goes to all drinks after 3pm.  Most people were drinking beer- definitely not the cute, little French restaurant I was hoping to find.  The bartender/owner gave me the pass code, but it wasn’t a place where they seemed to promote their internet service availability.  At least I was able to finally get on-line… but I felt like the underbelly of the street people.

Todaythe streets of Antibes I walked around and asked many, many store owners if they had Wi-Fi.  No one did.  And they acted as if it was a ridiculous question.  All I wanted was to sit in a characteristic French shop and have coffee and pastries and use my computer.  I was starving- I hadn’t eaten anything all day and it was already 3:30 pm.  My body was still on the eastern standard time of 9:30 am.  I passed by Le Jardin and thought I’d give them another chance.  Perhaps the person I spoke to yesterday had been an employee and wasn’t sure, and just answered no since I was speaking a foreign language.   I wasn’t sure if the woman today was the same person I had talked to yesterday- I’d asked the question of so many shop owners.  Apparently it was, and she obviously remembered me.  No wonder.  I think I’m the only person trying to find free Wi-Fi.  She looked at me like I was nuts and shook her head.   Maybe I’ll play with her and go back tomorrow and ask the same thing.

After an hour or so of no luck I figured I would just go back to the The Blue Lady and use their service again.  I was feeling fairly comfortable with my familiarity of the town and walked to the corner where I remembered the bar.  It was about a mile from my apartment, but a nice walk, through the tiny streets of the old town, lined with cute shops and little restaurants.  It wasn’t there.   I walked around to several corners in the area and couldn’t find it.  I walked and walked and walked.  It was nowhere.  I aLe Blue Lady Pubsked several people if they knew where Le Femme Bleu restaurant was and no one knew.  It was a big, busy place.  How could they not know?  I started saying “Le Femme Blue, The Blue Lady Restaurant” thinking maybe it was referred to by its English name.  No luck.  I kept walking and walking.  I must’ve walked by Le Jardin five times.  Not on purpose- I just kept ending up walking by the same places.  I think I made the Le Jardin owner nervous.  She probably thought I was stalking the place.  It took over an hour to find The Blue Lady.  Two full hours on the second day of being in Antibes to find free Wi-Fi.

I know I sound confused, but it is confusing.  The streets are so small and wind around.  And the buildings are so high on each side.  It’s like walking in a maze.  I have a little map (that I have to put on my glasses every time I look at it which is very often) but even with that it’s hard to follow where I am and where I’ve been.  I tried to use the water as a navigation point, but the water surrounds the point of where Old Town is situated so that caused even more confusion.

Since I had woken up very late (not by my EST body clock time), unpacked, showered and left the apartment at 3:30 it was almost 6 pm when I sat down with my computer to have something to eat.  It still felt like breakfast time to me, and the Blue Lady had stopped serving food three hours ago.  My desire to drink coffee and eat French pastries at a little sidewalk café had been reduced to having a coke in an English pub.  What an odd first full day.

I wanted this trip to be a time for thinking.  And writing.  Deep things.  So far my effort has revolved around getting myself organized in the new country.  And finding the internet.  Hopefully I will get myself settled, get my feet underneath me.  And sit in the French café, alongside the sea, eating my pastries and drinking coffee and typing my story.