Day 18: Internet Access!!

This was somewhat a curse and a blessing. I had just acclimated myself to no Internet. I began to like the idea of writing letters, reading a book, taking walks and sleeping more. The funny thing is that we had this very discussion in our class and spoke (in German) about the pros and cons.

However, as soon as class was out, I made my way to the office that supplies the modems for our guesthouse. You pay a 100€ deposit to get the device, then install it in your room. The problem after having done that once a couple of days ago, is that you need a computer to hook it up in order to get Internet access. Without one, no deal, and I didn’t bring a computer.

Nicholas, a Ukrainian student, was in the office asking about the same problem I had. Apparently, with only an Ipad, a wireless device is also required. We learned this from Jose, a student from Mexico who had a bad headache on the day we called on him in the room next door to Nick’s. Jose had offered to help me connect my Ipad “with a cable” (he didn’t mention it was a MODEM that we needed to buy at Saturn, a store like Best Buy).

We finally straightened out the communication issue, and within the afternoon and schlepping to the mall downtown for the wireless port for another 25€, we were both connected in our rooms. That took a bit of teamwork, as I knew where the Galleria was and Nick knew how to connect the pieces together. Not that it was hard, just communication.

Whew! Now that I’m fully connected, I feel a little sad. It was fun being off the grid. But after being spanked I guess I have to go back to being good (or bad?) again.

A more interesting afterthought: Nicholas just arrived on the scene, with a scholarship to study in Germany. The language course was part of his offer to study Neurosciences here. He obviously was very bright and he was very resourceful from the get go. He worked out what needed to be done in a very short time for both of us.

On the train, we chatted and he told me about the situation in Kiev, where he lived. He said it was safe there, and everyone just goes about doing their daily activities without too much concern. Most of the disturbance is in the Eastern part of the country. He eventually expressed his disdain for the corrupted officials and explained how everyone had to be paid off for any favor or task.

No one pays taxes or wage earners pay a very token amount. There are very limited public services, so nothing works as a result. The average salary in the lab is $300 a month. It’s not enough to live on, so everyone is forced to leave if they want to get a decent salary. This sounded a lot like the story from the Bulgarian student in my class.

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