mardi, janvier 09, 2007

Infotech-shopping with "les chinois"

At 9am, the buzzer on my door went off, signaling that the femme de ménage (cleaning lady) had arrived to clean my studio. One of the slightly ambivalent perks of staying in the care of the University of Chicago is that they pay the residence an additional sum so that the cleaning staff do a weekly cleaning of the student's apartments. However, it's not a full-service cleaning. They will come and mop the floors, wipe down the kitchen and bathroom surfaces, dust your table/desk--but you're expected to tidy up before they arrive. So the night they visit is always a late night of doing dishes, putting crap away, and generally clearing space. I had taken care of all of that last night, but I got to bed late. This, combined with the cleaning staff's tendency to arrive early in the morning, made for a rude awakening. I ran to my door, threw on a bathrobe (before she let herself in with her skeleton key) and asked her politely-but-groggily to give me 5 minutes. She headed down the hall to take care of another room, and I quickly threw on some clothes and went downstairs to grab a coffee while she took care of my room.

My day at work was wonderfully quiet, especially compared to the day before. I spent a bit of time towards the end of my day planning to head over to rue montgallet to buy some more memory for my computer. Rue montgallet is this street in the 12th arrondissement that seems entirely interchangeable with every other chinatown-computer district I've ever been in. As you can see from the pics below, the stores all have the same "EVERYTHING IS ON SALE!", wallpaper-the-window-with-signs approach. What's even more interesting is that most of the shop owners have put together an online meta-store,, where you can search for a specific item and compare the prices across stores. Of course, you'll notice that there is a bit of fine print saying that the quoted prices aren't a guarantee of actual prices (i.e., you may have to argue to get them to honour their prices), but at least you save yourself some time, since there are nearly a hundred little shops that all look like this:

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Thanks for pics mostly to Florian's Blog.

I headed over there after work, with the precise model of memory I needed in one hand, and a list of stores and their alleged prices in another. The first store I went to said they would have the stock "in an hour" and the part would cost about 20€ more than listed ("oh, but it has a warranty!"), so I headed over to the next store on my list. They had what I needed for a more reasonable price, so I took care of it and headed home.

I got home all excited to install the memory in my laptop, but came to the realization that I didn't have a screwdriver small enough to get at the tiny little screws that hold the metal plate over the computer memory. !@#$ !! Ah well, I'll drop by work tomorrow and borrow their tools.

For dinner, I had passed by my boulangerie and picked up a pain tradition, which looks like a half-baguette, and is sort of the purist's bread--French law states that you can only sell bread under that name if the ingredients are flour, water, salt, leavnening and nothing more. I was in luck; the bread had just come out of the oven. I it was really, really hard not to eat the thing on the way home (I did have a nibble). When I got home, I threw together a leftover-sandwich, with some raclette cheese, some rillets, some little pickles, dijon mustard and mayo (it was a very French sandwich). I had also intended to make a salad and heat up some leftover lentils, but the sandwich was so filling, I couldn't eat anything else. Hooray for eating! I had been eating pretty light this past week, so I didn't feel too bad about tonight's dinner. However, tomorrow must be a salad day...

2 commentaires:

Mark a dit…

No tiny screwdriver? And you call yourself a techie-type-person...

Oh for a fresh loaf of bread.

LMGM a dit…

Yeah, I'm a bit embarrassed about it. I eventually installed it and my little laptop purrs just a bit faster now. yay!