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109 days in Kathmandu
Sunday, 05 August 2007
We stayed a total of 109 days in Kathmandu – Patan. First of all to service our truck and replace a few essential parts. From April upto July 2007 we’ve seen a bit of the life in Patan, at the southern end of Kathmandu city. It’s been pretty good times, with many different episodes during our stay. Certainly we will try to come back and see some more of the life in the capital valley of Nepal. For now we had to go again, our 150 days visa expiring in 2 weeks with the heat and the monsoon waiting patiently for us.
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Hands-on experiences with a Thuraya phone
Friday, 15 June 2007
Over the past 5 years satellite telephone systems have become significant cheaper and affordable. In fact the cost of ownership can be lower compared to travelling abroad with a GSM phone in a roaming agreement. On top of that it comes with several features unavailable in GSM networks.

Choosing a satellite phone system isn’t like shopping for shoes – the tech jargon creates considerable confusion and the cost structure mystifies any newcomer. Luckily there are only a few satellite phone systems to choose from.

We’ve been using a Thuraya phone for more than a year now and pretty much covers our expectations. However getting to use it takes time and a lot of fiddling – it’s different from a mobile phone. Also there’s not much practical info available and real life satellite phone experiences are hard to find – even on the Internet. So here a few experiences using a Thuraya phone in Asia.
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GPRS in Asia :: Experiences on the road
Thursday, 14 June 2007
Mobile phone networks have expanded very rapidly in the last 10 years. Asian and Middle East countries have seen an explosion of mobile phone usage. It’s everywhere in the bigger cities and coverage on the main roads isn’t rare anymore. The phones are the latest models and even beggars have been spotted with mobile phones.

Now a new generation of mobile phones with build-in cameras have a feature that enables the user to send pictures to others. It uses an extension on the SMS text message service called MMS. In turn the MMS service uses the GPRS service for delivery. This in turn has started mobile phones companies to offer the GPRS service on a wider scale. GPRS can also be used to connect a laptop to the Internet using a mobile phone. However the limitation of GPRS is speed. Compared to ADSL & Cable based Internet it’s like going back to the early stages of the ole modem era. Which is a huge step backwards.

But still the advantage of being able to access e-mail and web surfing at any location in the GSM network outweighs the lower connection speed by far. But getting access to the Internet working using a GPRS service isn’t as easy as it seems, especially when it’s not part of a daily routine. Here you’ll find a few experiences.

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Practical mobile pharmacy - travel experiences
Tuesday, 05 June 2007
On long journeys it’s inevitable you’re becoming your own or someone else’s doctor at some stage. Professional medical advice is not always available and sometimes not necessary. In any case it means being prepared by having basic knowledge about  health, treatments and medicaments. In a year’s time of travelling we’ve learned quite a bit about being medically self sufficient. Also the internet is a valuable source, although it comes with a lot of misinformation.
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Water purification - experiences on the road
Sunday, 27 May 2007
Like many of the motorized overland travellers we carry a lot of water around for basic living on the road. Keeping our water tanks topped up with clean filter water for drinking is a ongoing activity wherever we are. So far we’ve never had major problems getting water, however water purity is a constant worry. 

Nepal is the first country where our water purification system was tested to the max and even beyond. We tapped into mountain streams round Pokhara, which is biologically contaminated due to upstream human and animal activity mixed with the sediment of the hills. We’ve been warned – it’s unsafe to drink even though it’s used as drinking water by locals. We took our chances and used the water for drinking after several filter steps. And again we learned new things about water purification and water filters, even by mistake after a few toilet and bucket days.

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