Wednesday, January 19, 2005

blogging from Russia: internet access challenge

it was supposed to be a great blogothon - St. Petersburg through the eyes of a blogger. I've been here for more than a week but this is the first time, I'm blogging.
The reason for this great failure is internet or rather the pricyness thereof.
Having become hooked up to high speed, wireless access in Canada, I came uprepared for the situation here. Using internet absolutely sucks in St. Petersburg. It's not that it's not available - internet cafes are ubiquitous, especially in the historic center, but wireless internet is so friggin' expensive here - what's free in Edmonton here would cost you 10CAD per hour!!!
other internet places are either expensive (how many times I'm gonna type this word :-)) or they're full of kids, playing computer games so you never know whether there's gonna be a comp available.
As a not-yet-fully non-smoker I'm kinda sensitive to tobacco smell. When you go to an internet cafe it's everywhere. In fact, smoking is one thing that sets Russia apart from Canada right away - cigarets are so cheap and people smoke everywhere.
So I decided instead to head to the city's main public library. It's quite and nice here and internet is fast but for some misterious reason the internet explorer version here is very low - 5.0. So I can't use online banking and access my university account.

Cable internet is unheard of. I mean it's available only in new, expensive buildings and God knows, how much it costs for those Russia's riches who occopy them.
Dial-up, that is using the phoneline to access internet, still rules in Russia. The only other available alternative is ASDL which I think was once an alternative technology that ultimately fail in the West.

anyways, no more whining. Once I sort things out with internet access, I'm gonna write about a hockey game I attended and/or other things.


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