Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Cost of Communication

Wednesday, May 9, 2012
The Cost To Contact
Okay this is a technical day!
After doing tons of research this is what I've found out about contacting me while overseas:
Okay, that's an exaggeration but here's a breakdown of charges:
It'll cost me 50 cents to send you a text message.
It'll cost me 5 cents to receive a text message.
Me - Hey what's up?
You - Not much.  Going to the zoo today.

Me - Cool.  Be sure to checkout the new Panda exhibit.
You - I think they've taken the Pandas back to China.
Me - Are you sure?
You - Yes... I think I'm sure???
Me - Uh...noooo..."sure" means "YES" and "I think" means I'm not sure.
You - Okay then... I "think" they are back in China.
Me - I wonder why they went back to China?
You - Something about grinding them up and feeding them to old people for arthritis 
     Okay that sick little mundane conversation cost me $5 + $.25 = $5.25!!!  And I wasn't even invited to go to the zoo!!
It only gets worse with phone calls at $.99 a minute.
Me - Well...gotta go.
Mom - Okay, bye hon...
Me - Love you
Mom -  Love you too
Me - Take care of yourself
Mom -  You take care of yourself
Me - I will
Mom -  Oh! Real quickly.  Where are you headed next?
Me - I don't know.
Mom -  Well call me when you get there.
Me - I will
Mom - Will you?
Me - Yes
Mom -  Okay then.
Me - All right then...good bye
Mom -  Good bye
Me - I love you
Mom -  I love you too
... and so it goes!!
The next thing you know, I'm teaching English at the Ho Chi Min Elementary School and eating lunches wrapped in banana leaves because I have to pay off the phone bills.
The cheap ways to stay in contact are:
email - free
Facebook - free
this blog- free
texting if both people have an iproduct - free
texting and you don't have an product, then download an app named Text+
 The only catch is that I have to find a hotel/cafe/etc that has wifi.  In other words, it'll be spotty.  I can foresee days of not being in touch, which is probably a good thing for all parties.  But to help out with this tragic event...(You mean I can't Facebook 24/7???!!), here's something cool, especially for someone like me whose techie skills are circa 1800's - I downloaded an app (Did I just write that??!!) that finds every wifi in the world!  Awesome!!  I also downloaded an app that finds every ATM in the world!!  (I'm currently scouring the internet for that "pot o' gold app!!)
Traveling 30 years ago, I'd make three collect phone calls the entire summer - one to my Mom to wish her a happy birthday, one to my Uncle to wish him a happy birthday, and one to my brother to wish him a happy birthday.  Graduations, funerals, etc. had to wait till I returned.
To receive mail,  I'd have to go to an American Express office to receive letters from friends back home.  At most, I would pick up mail 4 or 5 times a summer.  There was no texting, no Facebook, no blogging, no Twitter, etc.  Familiar words were hard to come by and because traveling for 80 days alone can get very lonely, I would read the letters 50 times. 
      After the 37th time of reading a letter, I'd start imagining things like, "I wonder why she didn't put a period in this sentence...hmmmm....what's she really trying to say?"  or "Why did she write, 'Dear Steve' instead of her usual, 'Dearest Steve'?"....hmmm....what's she really trying to tell me??"  Auuughhh!!!
I sure love this 21st Century!

Don't worry Mom -
I'll still fork out the $.99 a minute on your birthday!


  1. Skype is great and free too....

    I heard of a new app for phones to send text messages for free to other countries ...but I still think you would have to have a local phone number at each location...

    Google chat I hear is available when you are outside of the US and it is free of very cheap...maybe someone else knows more then I do about it

  2. I am determined to get you into this ridiculous the geocaching app from Groundspeak and set off to find the caches around the world! ---Kathryn