Informal check in from 'the land of the free'

24 February 2011

It's 4.30am and i'm sitting in the hotel lobby trying to leech free internet connection. Jet lag is kicking in and I'm hoping it won't take more than a day or two to settle. My APC' colleague, Jan Moolman and I knocked out at 7pm last night, and I woke up 8 hours later at about 3.30am and just couldn't get back to sleep.

This is an informal check in :) I got to US and the "land of the free" song kept playing in my head. the immigration peeps were alright, no hassles. although this time around, I not only had to have picture taken, all 10 fingers were digitally recorded. Maybe it's in case i commit a crime using my pinkie? Not a nice feeling being so comprehensively "in the system". No full body scan though.

The minute I grabbed my bags, the song turned into "the land where nothing is free". A trolley costs USD5 to rent! Crazy. Taxi was USD50.30. When I got to the hotel, I gave the driver USD60, and he asked how much change should he give me back. When I said USD9, he couldn't even be bothered to open the boot. So I struggled with my 40+kg of stuff, opened the boot and tried to keep my dignity intact.

Got myself a t-mobile unlimited data plan for my phone, cost USD108!, but at least now I can tweet on site. Tried to turn my phone into an internet hotspot, which, of course, is not possible cause Macs are annoying. Now trying to see if it's possible to do internet tethering, but it looks like we might have to buy super expensive connection from the hotel. Crazy. In KL, you couldn't walk 300metres without bumping into a free wifi spot - and this is supposed to be the site of where internet innovation bladifreakingbla takes place. The land where nothing is free.

We registered for our UN passes and it was a breeze - not many people arrived yet I guess. We also got our ground passes to tomorrow. Dafne Sabanes Plou sorted that out but we can only have 1 per organisation, so we have to coordinate between us. I'm covering one of the opening sessions tomorrow. Dafne will check if she's part of the Argentinian delegation, Jan is going for a side panel session called "ICT for empowerment" at 10am. Will try to tweet!

Oh, and it's cold. It snowed in the morning but by now, everything is melting. Always nice to see snow, even when it's melting.

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