In my room, I decide to check the wireless. Wow! I can see AirJaldi3. But it requires a WEP password that I can’t guess. But now the phone. Looks like it’s fine and even gets GPRS for data. I connect. Read the index of mail as I walk out to the balcony. Connection dropped. Reboot etc. No relief. I reboot in the small kitchen area and I get data. I walk over to the bed and before I can get the first page of mail, I’m dropped. I go into the bathroom. I get data. I stay there a while and madly answer select emails as briefly as possibly. They seem to work. I go to the balcony. Dead again.
Finally I realize that the Pema is on a ridge. I’m roaming to different carriers as a roam my small room. Only the carrier furthest from the balcony provides data support. Over the course of the evening before I pass out. I find four carriers within a 40 foot square.
Despite all these choices, I can’t manage to dial out. None of the dialing to the USA mojo seems to get me beyond a bilingual message about a wrong area code. And I can’t get through to James or Phuntsok either.
This will bug me for the rest of my visit. I can almost read and reply to mail, then I can’t. Finally cybercafes, which close at 8 pm or so, are my only option for mail etc. Luckily the price per hour of use is only about 40 rupees or less than a dollar. My hosts keep me pretty much in motion so I only check in in the evenings.
At the moment (Tuesday morning), I have somehow locked in a single provider. They don’t do data.
I experience the phone mysteries on the road back and in the airport. Coming down the mountain, I switch carriers often gaining and losing data access with no warning.
In the airport, things are more mysterious. My most reliable data carrier AirTel gets the phone, but for the first time it doesn’t show GPRS aka data support.