Made it to Paris. Charles de Gaulle is a "fantastic" airport, a 1970s or 1980s hallucination of what the future, that is now (2007) was supposed to be like, with no one walking, everyone riding on people conveyors. Trouble is, the froggers actually built the thing (OK, no snide remark about the French meant, the US has Epcot Center) The monitors are there to say that one's baggage will be delivered at this Spaceport 2000 (vintage 1978) like 40 minutes after the plane lands.
Arrived at the Hotel Concorde de Lafayette, rode the elevator to my floor, which opened on a scene out of what upscale whorehouses look like in the movies -- winered wall-to-wall carpeting and mirrored wall panels. The room is nice, 25 + TV channels, many of them bizarre Arabic TV shops and Japanese channels with elderly people doing strange things and huge captions in Japanese characters, apparently so the elderly watching can read what is going on.
The cathouse hallways were a premonition of what this place charges for wireless internet. EUR 30 for 24 hours (people do sleep and attend events, so figure it out). Fortunately, the press center set up by Alcatel Lucent has free wireless. Considering that the newly merged company went several hundreds of millions into the bag in Q4 2006, I would not have been surprised had they charged for it :). This promises to be interesting, as everyone is probably waiting to hear how the company will get it together over the next few years. It is a supplier of switches to Lattelecom (wrote that earlier).
I am yet again glad that most Baltic hotels have free WiFi by default (or for the price of a cup of coffee if you walk into one of the Revals in Riga off the street). EUR 30 is more than I pay for a month of 5 Mbps Lattelecom DSL, FFS*!!!! (for f**k's sake, if you didn't guess)