Toby in Hue

First a computer digression. We have beenhaving “interesting” times with internet access. I realize I have come to find net access to be partof my life, an assumed presence, a resource like running water. Like running water, I can live just fine without while camping or away, but it is part of the quality of life. Need a definition, remember a snippet of song lyric, bingo it’s there in an instant.

First, internet access has penetrated deeply into unexpected places. Any town with 1000 people or more has an internet room. These are usually the main room of a house, converted to hold 10 to 30 or more computers. Kids play games, girls (mostly) chat, foreigners access the internet, though only here in Hue have we had other westerners in the place at the same time as us. Often we have 2 or 3 kids looking over our shoulder unabashedly watching what we type. Usually access is ADSL, though in some remoter towns it has been dialup. There have been power problems, the whole town goes black, kids groan and giggle, and everyone pays up and leaves; we curse for our lost, partially written emails.
The computers can be an intersting problem. The age of the computer isn’t a problem, it’s the age of the keyboard. Sometimes one or more keys require repeatedpounding to react, or like this computer, thespace key is nearly dead. Access to US web sites is tenuous, so sometimes email refuses to be sent for several tries. Before we learned this, we would lose emails we had written when they were not sent, but were no longer present either. We learned to copy the email with a Control-C before sending. The tragic and worst, for me, was just a couple days ago. I had a nice chatty and, I think, entertaining little message all written, ready to go. I hit control-C tocopy it into memory, only to find out that the control key on the keyboard was not working. This means I replaces my entire message with the letter c, which left me SOL. Trying to recreate the moment was futile, and frankly I was pissy for quite a while following.

But hey, ithas had an amazing effect on our travels. International phone calls are a pain, expensive and wierd to schedule. Postal service is good only for postcards that arrive that arrive home after we do. We feel much more at ease being able to hear if something is up with family, or at work.

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