About Me

A slightly over-educated sailor sharing the wet and dry sides of his life.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Sri Lanka Again, Death by Slow Connection Speed, and International Phone Calls

Once again, I'm defeated by slow Internet connection speed. I was hoping to post pictures of some cool street art I saw in Singapore. I guess that will have to wait until I get to the Seafarers Center in Charleston. When I was wandering down that street, the graphics I saw looked strangely familiar. I think I might have seen them posted at either the Wooster Collective website or at Boingboing.net. If you haven't checked out these website, I have to strongly recommend them. Some good eye and brain candy to be found.

Right now, I'm killing time at the Flying Angel Seaman's Club. In about fifteen minutes, I'll be heading out to the hotel next door for something to eat. I've heard that the food is good, so that should be interesting. My experience with Sri Lankan cuisine has been limited to a platter of spicy shrimp I had here at the Seaman's Club. It was very good, so my hopes are up for some good grinds. After that, I'll be heading back to the ship for some quality phone time with Margaret. We killed a couple of hours when I was back in Singapore. It's always nice to chat with her and get connected again.

Speaking of calling home from overseas, it is so important to have an unlocked SIM card phone. When travelling from port to port, one can obtain local SIM cards to insert into a 3G phone to make calls home. If you can get a local international calling card, the price of calling home gets reduced dramatically. A $20 top-off card and a $10 calling card can get you as much as 10 hours of talk time from Singapore. Of course, calls get dropped and connection fees can rob you of minutes. Still, even if you get half the talk time, you're doing very well.

Another option is something I've heard about but haven't yet fully investigated. It's MaxRoam.com. They provide an international SIM card that supposed to be cheaper than ATT and T Mobile when roaming overseas. Additionally, you can get the area code of your choice assigned with your number. That's a nice thing for the people back home calling you.

The one combination that they can't beat is using a local SIM card with a local international calling card. I just visited their website and used their rates calculator, and saw that a local call in Singapore is about $0.24/minute, while a call to the United States is $0.86/minute. This is pretty good; however, the above cited Singtel top-off card and the Sunshine calling card will give you something like a $0.02/minute rate (that's if connection fees reduce your talk time to 7 hours). There's your comparison shopping done for you. Nonetheless, if you can't get an international calling card where you live, the MaxRoam option seems a good one.

Gotta go. It's time to eat.


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