Because Herb had arrived in Bangkok a full 24 hours before me, he was nice enough to go out and pick up a local SIM card for my phone. However, we later learned that by signing up with TrueMove – Thailand’s biggest mobile carrier – it’s possible to get a no-commitment 3G data plan with unlimited usage (plus 300 voice minutes) for only $20/month. Now that’s what I call a deal! Into the trash you go, $2 voice-only SIM from 7-11 🙂
So after sufficiently catching up on sleep from the previous late night out (we got to bed somewhere around 6am), we walked straight over to Siam Square, site of the nearest TrueMove retail store. Minutes later we were browsing on a lightning-fast connection even better than AT&T back home – with full bars of coverage everywhere in the city.
You no doubt already know how much I love my travel gadgets. I carry a portable WiFi router, portable minispeaker, laptop, VOIP device, waterproof camera, SLR, UV water purifier, and all kinds of other small yet useful conveniences. But in all of my international travels, this would be the first time I’ve ever had cellular Internet access outside the US.
It took me about 10 seconds to realize how incredibly helpful it would be.
No more screwing around with big paper maps; Google would get me wherever I had to go. No more fussing about WiFi; tethering would keep me connected. No more worrying about phone bills; cheap Skype calls to anywhere in the world. Now this is the 21st century!
Our next piece of official business for the day was to replace Herb’s broken digital camera – although it worked “sometimes” (see photo in previous post), we wanted to make sure he could document every minute of the month of craziness that lie ahead. So we popped into the MBK mall right next door. It was your typical Asian electronics superstore, overflowing with customers scrambling from booth to booth negotiating for the best price on their favorite gadget – or favorite gadget knockoff. Real iPhones for $60? I think not!
In any case, it was a fun little afternoon of “sort-of” tourism, and by the time we finished our contract-signing, shopping, bargaining, and eating, Friday had already come to a close.**