Monday, September 12, 2011

Finding WiFi

So I decided to start a blog of my trip about 2 days before leaving and actually created it the night before I left. The big unknown in the equation was access to the internet. But for the first 36 hours I would be in airports, so of course I could find free wifi. And then I would be in Southeast Asia! I imagined that it would be so easy to get access to the Internet.
The airport in LA and Tokyo charged for their wifi. I was not yet desperate enough to pay for it. The hotel in Singapore only had wired internet in the hotel...WIRED? You mean like an ethernet cable? Who even has one of those? This hotel was $275 per night and they did not have wifi. I was stunned.
That first night I wanted so badly to see my babies using facetime or skype but both required wifi to make it happen. So I got into the habit of making short posts so I could just use the cellular network to send my data. But on my international plan I pay a price per MB for data. So that was not going to be an expensive way to communicate with you all. And there is the fact that I can't type anything of substance on a cell phone keypad. Too small and cumbersome (must have keyboard).
Then we arrived in Ipoh and I had so much I wanted to share about Auntie How King and all our relatives and the beauty and the smells and tastes, but my Aunt How King and Lew do not have the Internet in this second home. (the home in which we are staying) In their first home where Kin Kin lives they do and the only other lengthy installment I sent was from his home.
Tim and I are now like junkies who have not had a hit in 5 days. You will catch us checking our phones to see if there is wifi in a market, a mall, a store, a bathroom, a restaurant. We are "jones-ing" for a hit.
There are quite a few wifi networks within the area that you can see from How King's house. They are all encrypted. So I tried all the default passwords that come with Linksys, Netgear, and Cisco. None of them worked. (those of you reading this that kept the default password on your router, shame on you.)
The coffee shop we went to today had wifi. So we bought coffee, even though we were so full we could not drink it. But we were so grateful for the internet we did not care. We sat down with our laptops finally able to read emails, or check the news or find out the train schedule to Singapore, and their server was down.
As I mentioned in another post, today is Lew's birthday (How King's husband). He is the owner and builder of the house we are staying in (and the builder of those houses around us) We were sitting at lunch with my other uncle and my dad and my brother discussing what to get for Lew for his birthday celebration tonight. I looked at Tim and said "we could get him a modem and a wireless router for his birthday". Tim burst out laughing. He said "that is like buying someone deodorant as a gift. It is not really for them, it is for you." Of course we did not buy him a router for his birthday.
I tell you all this because I want you to know how it is that I came to be sitting in my pajamas on the street 5 houses down from my Auntie's house at 2:34 in the morning using my laptop. There is an unprotected wireless router in the house behind me. This is a very wealthy neighborhood with a security gate. I am just waiting for security to appear and ask me in one of the languages I don't speak, why I am sitting here, who I am and what I am doing. The truth is very simple...I am getting a fix.
Please know that it is no small feat for me to write this blog. Jenny, is there an award at the Blogger convention for posting in extraordinary circumstances? There should be.
So now you will see a series of posts that are being sent from the sidewalk outside in this neighborhood. I think that when I leave I will leave a thank you note for this family and maybe I can go in and set their password on my way out. But not right now...

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