Thursday, 12 February 2009


We have had no internet in our apartment for more than 10 days, during which time I have been able to go to an internet cafĂ© three times, only one of which resulted in a successful download of my messages. Thwive I failed once because the connection speed was too slow to connect, once because of Apple’s insane insistence on making you download their browser to be able to access your webmail (boo hiss, I will soon move to gmail). Coming from super-connected Korea where the internet speed is second-to-none, this is very frustrating. But like any kind of deprivation, the first few days are the most acutely painful, and then you kind of get used to it.

So moving into our new house and learning that I will have to wait two weeks to be connected to the internet here (for that read up to a month, since New Year will happen during that period), is not too traumatic. I suppose this is a good thing (the not being traumatized bit, not the length of time I will remain off line). I opened my computer last night to see if, by chance, there was an open wireless network that I could log into from the new house, but there was nothing.

Added to this, the last few days my phone has been playing up. I have been trying to call husband and being told that my calls are barred. I looked into the phone security and it seemed that the kids had been playing with it and locked me out of my own phone security with a password (chances of recreating the password input by five-year-old fingers who know not what they are doing must be about the same as picking the winning lottery ticket). While I like them being able to listen to music (their favourite song at the moment is Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day which, even though it contains the F-word is such a great song that I cannot resist letting them listen to it) I don’t like having my phone settings changed.

Eventually, I restored the phone to its factory settings (deleting Green Day and the rest) in order to be able to make a call. But all to no avail. And then husband called from the office to say that the finance department had forgotten to pay the bill for October so I had been cut off, and once it was paid I would be reconnected.

The mobile phone company helpfully sends you anglicised English messages (Russian but written with non-Cyrillic letters) which means that you can read the sounds out loud, but still have no idea what they mean. So perhaps they had warned me of my impending cut before it happened. I don’t know.

It is difficult to organise life with driver, nanny, three kids and husband all in different places without a mobile phone. I know it sounds so pathetic to complain about having to organise a small army of staff, but there is no point having them if you can't organise things like what time to collect me, or the kids, or husband from a certain place. And with no mobile as well as no landline or internet, I have been feeling quite isolated - and from time to time, dare I say it, a bit lonely!  As with all things in Almaty, a hefty cash sum was dispatched to the office and the problem was quickly solved.

All I need to do now is get a landline in the house.

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