How low have you stooped, waiting desperately, searching for a decent Internet connection whilst travelling? Have you hidden around the corner of a café in the rain trying to connect to their free service? I have. Have you taken used glasses from an empty table in an overpriced bar, to fool the waitress into thinking you are a paying customer, while urgently scanning your email? I have.
While on the road my priorities seem to constantly revolve around locating the next stable Wi-Fi connection. How many nerve-frying hours have been wasted, praying the tenuous link I finally connected to won’t cut out mid-post upload? More than I care to count.
And sometimes the Wi-Fi connection surprises me. Forward thinking, techno savvy European destinations can sometimes really let the side down, while less developed countries can surprise you with their smooth and speedy wireless availability. Jordan is one such place. Ok, ok you can’t send a tweet from the middle of the Wadi Rum desert, but 3G roaming is generally widespread, even in remote and rural areas and Wi-Fi is prevalent in public hot spots such as popular modern cafés, restaurants and hotels in the bigger cities across the country.
In Jordan’s cosmopolitan(ish) capital Amman, large malls charge a small fee of around 1 - 2 dinar to log into and use their Wi-Fi. Cafés such as trendy Books@Cafe have benefited from their free Wi-Fi policy, becoming something of a hangout for freelancers and the self-employed who wile away their days sipping coffees, smoking shisha and soaking up the hip atmosphere. The city's bigger hotels usually charge a premium for often unreliable Wi-Fi, while at Starbuck the rate is better, but can get pretty busy and noisy.
The alternative? Get offline and go have some fun! I will be doing a piece regarding Wi-Fi at least once a month or more. If anyone has any useful tips please get in touch.