Traveling through Offline Country

13. April 2011 § Leave a comment


My latest backpacking trip brought me to Burma/Myanmar. People there live like they did in the West several decades, if not a century ago – at least on the countryside. For the average citizen, a mobile phone is unattainable (a SIM card alone is approximately 500 US-$), and Internet connections are hard to come by. For me, having just finished a project in mobile app development and working a lot on social media, this was quite a change. In fact, I spent almost four weeks without really accessing my email, apart of two occasions when I managed to open my Gmail account in a hotel and an Internet café in Mandalay, after waiting ten minutes for the site coming up. So, is this the perfect trip for the digitally overwhelmed? Somehow, but the story behind it is sad, because lack of infrastructure is, obviously, not the only reason for this situation: The country is controlled by a military regime. As you can see in the picture, I carried my iPad with me, not only to shorten long-distance bus rides with movies and games, but also for using a helpful language application. On a train with locals, the machine caused quite a stir. Nobody had ever heard of such a thing. That guy behind beat me twice playing Memory Cards…

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