I have already shared the many woes of our internet experience. The first company showed up and then never came back. The second company came, took our money for a Wi-Fi system and then never came back to install more than one direct line that only sort of works. The third company said they would come right away and then determined that they can’t provide service to our area.
So, we have decided to try the internet sticks. They look like a data stick at home that stores info, but instead it can access the internet from wherever if you plug it into your computer. It doesn’t help to solve the problem of I pads and I touches since they can’t plug into a stick, but it’s a start.
Like mobile phones in India and at the same stores that seem to be located on ever road, big and small, purchasing a data stick is very difficult and even more so for a foreigner. The process involves a several page application, a passport size photo, a copy of your passport, a copy of your visa, proof of residence in India (a lease). Buying a house would be easier in the United States than getting a data stick in India. I had to return to the store three times to get my paperwork correct, since the guy that I worked with also said that we needed our Foreign Registration paper. And then the lease copy wasn’t good enough.
Getting a copy involved driving about 10 minutes away to this little storefront of a guy who sells sewing machines. In this little shop is a copy machine. I think he does more business on copies than sewing. The copies are 2 rupees a piece (remember that 50 rupees are a dollar). Here are some photos of his shop.
The view to the left and the right
If you are lucky enough to get the stick, it then takes several hours to be activated. That means that you can’t check while in the store. And if a problem is found with the paperwork after you leave the store, they don’t call and tell you. They just never activate the stick, which has already happened to me once.
This one finally did! (again, note the three people huddled around the page, but the guy in the sweater was definitely in charge at this store. Ultimately, it costs only $20 to gain 3G access from this process, but it took over a week to actually acquire the stick. Happily though, now that I have it, I can Skype from any room in the villa or anywhere else for that matter. And my email goes through much more smoothly.
Meanwhile, as we are headed to the copy store, the courier calls me. We had sent two boxes of books to India in December via “diplomatic pouch” which is a cheap way to send books to other countries where you will be working via the consulates. So, a good month later, the books arrived in Chennai and then were couriered to me. But the person trying to deliver the books did not speak English. So I handed the phone to my driver. The next thing I know, we are pulling over the car, and a man is running across the road with two boxes of books. He delivered them to our car!