I realized a day after my first Thailand post that my netbook wasn’t actually tethering to my Fuze properly. The Fuze side was fine and easy with the custom ROM, and Ubuntu would detect the connection and connect…yet nothing would load in any browsers. After scouring several forums for answers that did not involve purchasing anything (cheapo mode, remember?) or installing subversion because that would take the length of my trip on the hotel’s Wi-Fi, I found a suggestion to set the MTU to something lower. The default was at around 1400 and the suggested value to try was 1000. I probably know as much about Linux and networking as I do about cars (sigh. Always sad to admit these things) but dropping it to 500 did the trick. While transfer speeds became significantly lower, for my basic needs it worked fine.
Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category
Island time on Koh Chang: massage on the beach, bum-guns, motorbike battle scars, and my first bucket.March 28th, 2011 at 11:25 pm 7 Comments
It’s been a week since I left Koh Chang and am back in the states now, but I did have a lengthy write-up in progress while there so all is not lost. The last leg in Bangkok might require more memory muscles. (Read the rest of this entry.)
Chiang Mai decided some rain would be nice and gave an overabundance of it. The first day was dry at least, which gave me a chance to wander around the Old City. I’m generally a fan of rain until I have to be in it. Especially bothersome when all I packed in preparation for rain was a small umbrella. (Read the rest of this entry.)
Wrapping up my first two days in Bangkok now and waiting at the boarding gate to my next destination surrounded by a bunch of people sleeping on the chairs.
I almost had to check in my bag when an attendant at the check-in counter insisted that I drop it on the scale and it came up 1.5kg over the limit. Baggage land is a scary place to put all of your possessions while in a foreign country. While seriously sad-facing and pulling out my netbook to keep it from being crushed, I realized that it probably weighs a good amount with the extended battery – just enough to bring my duffel down to 7kg. I stuffed my purse and netbook into a plastic H&M bag I happened to have, then patted myself on the back for being so SMART. Honestly, I don’t think security would’ve noticed/cared about my extra 1kg anyway. They didn’t even blink at my excessive amount of liquids (picked up several things after I got there without considering that I had to go through the airport again).
Lessons learned (so far)
- The rate is actually 800 baht (~$27) for 1 entire month of unlimited data transfer, but as there’s no 3G in Thailand (or maybe DTAC just sucks. Didn’t see a True counter at the airport), the speed is so slow you probably won’t even get close to 3GB (the next package down) in 1 month. It’s still good for loading maps and tethering, but for the most part I prefer not to bother unless there’s free Wi-fi.
- My duffel bag + backpack plan sounded awesome in theory, but with all the walking I’m doing (that often involves getting lost and backtracking), having all of the weight on one shoulder is unpleasant. Very wince-y.
- When I stopped over in Taipei’s international airport, I found the background Mandarin chatter a comforting, slightly-less-foreign transition into the upcoming very-foreign territory. Then I landed and continued to hear Mandarin being spoken almost everywhere I went. What… is that?
- Okay, so a friend told me to expect this for my travel time frame meaning this is not technically “unexpected,” but still strikes me as odd. I’ve run into people from China, Taiwan, France, Germany, Israel, Australia, Canada and India, yet no Americans.
- Falling into the “expected but not really” category: It is incredibly humid and warm (i.e. shade is useless) this month. During my research period I always saw any inclusion of air-conditioning in guest houses/buses/trains emphasized and thought, “Pfftphthph A/C’s for tourist wimps.” I’ve been taking 2 showers every day so far and will gladly wear a “tourist wimp” sticker if it means I get free A/C. I’ve begun to accept it not due to temperature acclimation, but because everyone else around me is also sweaty and gross.
- Not sure if I’m simply looking for the wrong thing here. Every time I pick up street food or drink, I end up carrying the container it came in around for another hour because I can’t find any garbage cans.
- As a female solo-traveler I was concerned that I’d have to be exceptionally watchful while navigating the city. How surprising to find that the overall vibe here is one of peaceful indifference, bordering on friendliness. I haven’t bothered with the money belt thanks to my superb last-minute zipper-sewing skills (and constant paranoia-induced bag-clutching).
My flight was rescheduled and everything’s packed… What to do but blog?
Communication & Connection to the Internet
This was one of the first things to address on my to-do list, which sort of runs counter to the idea of backpacking in the sense that it’s not really necessary to prioritize. PC Cafes are all over Bangkok and I could easily bring my very old & non-smart but small, beautiful, and unlocked LG Shine from 4-5 years ago to cover any local calls I’d need to make. However, I’m psychologically dependent on continual access to the internet – I could survive without it, but why in the world would I do that to myself?
- This was the questionable item because it’s easily the single heaviest thing I’m bringing with me. I put Ubuntu Netbook edition on a partition and it runs beautifully though. It’ll be useful for storing photos, updating ze-blog, and days where I’m stuck inside (due to unrelenting rain or darkness). Plus, I can tether it to my HTC Fuze thanks to an old ROM flash if Wi-Fi in the area isn’t free.
- Intended to be a secondary phone for my dad’s sake (he has the mentality of “being prepared for everything” and keeping 2 phones while traveling is one of his “must have” points. If I didn’t bring 2 phones on this trip, I think he would disown me).
- Originally to be my primary phone post-unlock and once set up with a 2-week data SIM, until I found out that my update to 4.2.1 in December rendered the unlocking part impossible. Now the Fuze is my primary (had no problems getting an unlock code for my Fuze from AT&T), and the iPhone is just around for an offline map app and to give my parents some peace of mind that they can still reach me via my normal service provider. Note to people who have my number: please don’t call me for awhile.
Everything I’ve read tells me it’s very easy to purchase a 2-week unlimited data SIM for ~$20-25 bucks, so I’ll probably be getting one at the airport when I land in BKK.
Trying to pack light
The backpack is empty, and everything in the picture (aside from the shoulder bag) fits into it! There were a few things I had to go out and buy:
- Picked up Jungle Juice from REI based on a friend’s recommendation.
- It’s like a hand-towel-sized-super-absorbent length of fabric. (Not the tiny yellow thing. That would be ridiculous.)
- Also based on a friend’s recommendation.
- For keeping the important stuff close to me (literally in my pants). Picked up a silk variant and it’s incredibly comfortable. I forget I even have it on after a few minutes.
- Seriously impossible to find an appropriately sized bag that felt secure enough (checked H&M, Forever21, Target). I ended up just buying one with the right look and sewing in my own damn zipper.
Wasn’t going to bring anything for entertainment. Really – nothing. (I’m aware that I do not know how to use dashes properly, by the by.) Trent somehow convinced me to get the new Pokemon White, of all things (he has the black version because “it’s for guys.” Laff. Okay really though, the creature on the front of the white version has breasts). I’ve never played a Pokemon game. It’s a good idea though, right? There’s no way I’m going to complete a Pokemon game in 40 hours of airplane/airport time! I figured that since I was able to fit all of my crap into a regular-sized backpack, the DS could come along. Flights to Asia are pure pain for me (hatteeee the smell of airplane food. Haattteeeee). When I return I’m going to have so many freaking Pokemons to show you guys.
I’m sticking the backpack into a duffel bag, and am just saving the extra bag space until I stop switching cities.