Internet connection thoughts – free(!) wifi or Internet cafe?

Arrival in Otranto was wonderful. It was like walking back in to a different time, a different part of existence. I realized that time and space was not the same here, as the rest of the world. There is magic here. Traveling throughout the country side, it felt that the elements themselves held sway: by the Adriatic Sea, it was water and air, and the deeper inland, it was fire and earth. Kinda reminded me of the Robert Jordan tale of Rand Al’Thor and the Aes Sedai.

How to keep connected to the outside world was a hard one for me to decide. Because of my budget, I had to forecast how much the internet cafe would be, and how much purchasing a phone would be. At the internet cafe, it cost about 2EU for half an hour, and that was the minimum amount of time that I was spending on the net per day. I did all my typing at home on my mac, and brought a thumb drive to upload. Even so, keeping up with  my family, my husband and children, was an important thing for me to do.

The town has a free wifi, but in order to get a login, I had to send a txt message to them. The response from them was one’s login and password. Seemed easy enough. My blackberry worked with SMS, but I never got an answer back. After a few attempts and trouble shooting (which cost about $25 Cdn in SMS charges) I realized that it had to be an Italian phone. Checking out prices, I found I could get one for about 50EU.

Weighing out the costs, I decided to purchase the super cheap Samsung cell phone. No bells and whistles, it only does calls and SMS, no camera etc. I already had a camera in my ITouch, so it was not important. Instead the importance was cost. I did have to provide my passport as identification, but that was not a problem.

The phone was 25EU, activation was 10EU and I got a 5EU prepaid card. For being in Otranto for 30 days, at a minimum of 2EU a day, was 60EU. Even with the SMS charges already billed, it made sense to do this, so that is what I did. Plus, when I come back next year, I will be able to use it again, and it is good to have in case of emergency should we need to call anyone during the remaining time in Italy.

The only downside of this equation is that the service is not guaranteed, it is interrupted and disconnected often, and it is very slow. But for what I need to use it for, it is excellent. And with this much magic in the area, how can it not affect the mundane connections?

Lastly, if you are ever in a cafe in Italy, ask if they have wifi. The answer may be yes, they just have to turn it on.  There is also a required by law pre-amble of proper use (i.e. no porn sites), but the shop owner is happy to oblige. He will tell you what the connection name is, and just let him/her know when you are done, with Finito, grazie!  I leave a few EU for them, as a thank you when they do not charge.


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