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Staying Connected While on the Road

One of the issues we face as we travel from developed to developing world is matching the ‘always on’ level of connection we’ve come to expect and enjoy. It becomes particularly critical if you plan to be away for longer than a week and you’ve committed to post everyday.

Prior to leaving the US, I researched connectivity options available through the major providers in Jamaica – Digicel, Lime and Claro – and felt confident that the only difficulty I’d have is deciding which company to use.

Last Monday, I set out to get a new phone and SIM – I had misplaced my Jamaica SIM and the professional I paid in London to unlock my Nokia phone damaged it instead.  Getting the phone was the easy part.

When I told the sales person that I wanted to purchase a wireless modem, she asked where I lived. She might have seen the look on my face and quickly added that she had to check to see what service was like in my area. I was surprised. According to Digicel, their 4G service was available everywhere.

She tried the modem on their laptop and it fired up instantly. I’d learned from previous experience that getting anything done with a Mac in Jamaica was problematic so I had her try it on my laptop.

Just as I thought, the modem failed. She recommended another, which at about $100, was almost twice the one I wanted to buy.  I was ready to buy but they had none at her location.

We drove to the store she said would have it. When I got there, I decided to check with computer technician at a computer store what modem he’d recommend for the Mac. It wasn’t Digicel’s, the one I was trying to find, but Claro’s, the Mexican company that is reportedly eyeing Digicel for purchase.

Luckily for me, Claro was on the floor below but their Mac expert was out and the modem resupply had not yet arrived. It’d be here in about an hour, I was told.

View of the Caribbean Sea from the Montego Bay Convention Center

View of the Caribbean Sea from the Montego Bay Convention Center

Since I hadn’t eaten since breakfast and it was getting closer to 2 p.m., I decided lunch was my priority. After lunch, I called – the modem and technician were both there. But he was doubtful their modem would work properly in my location. The signal would most likely fade or drop entirely, he said, so he advised me not to buy.

I thanked him and made my way to the Digicel store. The modem was in stock. The sales person (and Mac expert) to whom I was directed was there. Again, the modem that was supposed to work with a Mac, didn’t. She tried three different devices and called their technicians to assist but no joy. I left the store near 5 p.m. — no modem and no way to get connected.

When I told my cousin, she said I should use her DSL service. I was able to hook my laptop up but the connection is so slow, it drops every few minutes.

So, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to be online long enough to keep up with all your posts. I do hope to get this sorted out soon as I do miss my ‘always on’ connection.

I guess the best part is that I’ve been reading more and getting to bed earlier!

Comments

  1. totsymae1011
    Twitter:
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    Well, I suppose rest and reading is a positive. Will be glad when you are reconnected again. It’s been forever! I went through that for almost a week in Taiwan. I had to learn the art of patience and discovered that I did have some and that I would live despite being disconnected from the world at large, Sure hope I don’t have to wait that long at my next location. In the meantime, good luck to you and looking forward to communicating again.
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  2. Girl, I’m learning that lesson in spades. I didn’t realize how much time I spend online until I couldn’t and had to look around for things to do. The thing here is that almost all the services I had in NY are here — I’m talking internet-wise, it just depends on where you are. I’m just not in the ‘right’ place yet.
    I am too, miss reading about your adventures. Soon.