Tuesday, 4 November 2014

A Technological Tale - a Lament by The Navigator

When we set off on our travels in 2003, we took no technology with us. None. Nada.  No mobile 'phone, no laptop, no camera (yup, that's right, no camera), no tablet, no Kindles, no electric boiler.  We bought phone cards in whichever country we were in, we used the Internet wherever we could find it - libraries, cafes, etc.  We used book exchanges, wrote letters and postcards, and had acres of paper maps which we sent home to long suffering friends when we were done with them.

And now.  We left home last month with the following:

Canon Ixus compact camera, with charger, and gizmo for transferring pics to the iPad 
Unlocked Blackberry mobile phone, with charger
Two Kindles, one with wifi, both with 3G, with charger
iPad Mini, with charger
Three-gang extension board
Single cup boiler

And so my tale begins.

We arrived at the flat in Bs As to discover that the wifi signal that we had been pirating for some years had been upgraded - and locked. So we didn't have the luxury of getting organised in comfort before we left.
The SIM card that I bought for the mobile failed to register itself as promised, and it took a fair bit of digging to find a number to call to finally make it happen.
On the Sunday evening, before we left early on Monday on the train, we discovered that the iPad charger had deceased leaving about 23% charge on the iPad.  That's where the mapping program is...
It took about 4 hours and many kilometres of foot slogging in 40 degrees in Santiago del Esteros to find a shop with a charger (fyi - the iPad mini uses the same charger as iPhone 5.  If I had known that...)
My 2nd Generation Kindle deceased as part of the screen degenerated to lines.
Blogsy, the app that we've been using to update the blog, has stopped working.  Just stopped.  Deleting and reloading makes no difference.
The new iPad charger blew up after about two weeks when the sparky Argentine electrical system got the better of it.  Meant that we had no map at all to get into Mendoza.  This time it only took two shops to find an iPhone 5 charger. But at least four gas stations to find a map.
The extension board blew up with a pop and flash yesterday when I plugged it in to the wall socket.  Fortunately, nothing was attached to it at the time. Being nice and simple and made in China and bought in Bolivia, we were able to rewire it and upgrade the insulation

Having sent several text messages from the mobile, it suddenly decided that it didn't want to send any more.  Turns out it had just taken a dislike to the one message, and a different one to the same number was fine ...
Then, let's not forget the bank cards.  Ever since we started travelling, we have used the ATM network, with few problems.  Occasional empty or grumpy machines, but generally no big issues.  Argentina has been meddling with its ATMs.  When we have four different cards issued on four different banks and none of them will yield up a single peso, we reckon it's not us.  Finally managed to achieve paltry amounts from machines at big city banks.  Chatter on line reckons that Cristina is trying to piss off the tourists.
Bought Chris a pair of shorts in the supermarket; when he put them on, several kilometres later, discovered that the zip was broken and surgery was needed to re-attach the slider. (OK, that's older technology, but it still had to be fixed)

The camera and the cup boiler are working just now.

The bikes are great.  The new hub gears are working impeccably.  On other fronts, the Prunes are seriously considering reverting to paper and steam.