Having traveled and worked internationally before, we did all we could to prepare for the inevitable connectivity challenges. No matter. So much went wrong that our week in Paris turned into a week of technology terror (between meals, of course).
Just one example: When we were ready to download the first batch of photos from our new digital camera, we realized we forgot the necessary USB cable. So we checked a French megatechstore’s website. And talked to them on the phone (thanks to our French-speaking hosts). They claimed to have what we needed. So we drove across Paris to one of their stores. There, two “experts” disagreed on which cable would work. In the end, neither did. So we ended up FedExing the original cable from the states—which took days and barely arrived before our exit because of a French holiday. Meanwhile, our memory card was full so we could take no more pictures.
LATER IN ITALY, things went from bad to worse. Although we had a local access number that allowed us to get plugged in and turned on, the erratic 28,800 bps connection made completing this website a frustrating exercise in futility. Then the storms that blew out electricity and phone (intermittently and for our final week) made it completely impossible. We did have nearby friends with web access available, but they were fighting storm outages of their own—plus a rash of viruses, hackers, and nightmares too numerous to mention.
At home, we take 24/7 DSL, voicemail, c-phones, and more for granted. So far on our journey, we take what we can get—when we can get anything at all.