2006-08-27
Phone fun
I wasn't going to write about this until it was all set up and squared away, but it's been almost 24 hours and it looks like it won't be done today. So I might as well write a little bit about it now.

Yesterday I got a new phone. The Motorola SLVR.



You know the one where, in the commericials, the dude is walking around, rocking out listening to Apple iTunes until his phone rings, and then his shadow keeps rocking while he talks on the phone? That one.

It's a sweet phone.

Although it did bring about yet another reminder that we're not in Kansas (or Maine) anymore.

See, the SLVR for sale on the international market doesn't come with iTunes.

Of course not. Why would it? I'm sure people around here wouldn't want to plug their phone into their computer and be able to play songs right away, using what is probably the easiest, most intuitive computer application ever devised by man.

Nope.

Instead, the phone comes with some crummy media player and - well - it's too laborious to even go into here. And you know that must be bad, because I generally like pointing out flaws in really convoluted and poorly thought out systems.

Anyway, that was last night we bought the phone. We were at one mall, The Mall of the Emirates (it's got that indoor ski slope you might have heard about), but the SLVR was sold out there. So, being on a mission and all, we went to another mall, Ibn Battuta Mall. (Although they're only ten minutes apart.)

But, in Dubai, you don't just buy the phone. You also have to buy the Sim card separately. Now I don't know, maybe this is how you do it in the United States these days, I'm really not up on my phone buying. The only cell phone I bought was at 5:30 in the morning the day after Thanksgiving. I don't even think I was awake for it. (Luckily my roommate was driving, not me).

Oh, that's another thing. It's not called a "cell phone" here. It's a "mobile". As in "MO-bile". Like British and junk.

Anyway, Sim card. You can't buy the Sim card at the cell phone - er, mobile / electronic store. Nope. That'd be just too easy. Instead, you need to buy it at ... drum roll please ... the grocery store.

Seriously.

Well it's more than a grocery store, Géant is almost like a mini-Wal-Mart ... but attached to the mall. And it's French. And a little less skeevy than Wal-Mart. But just a little.

Of course, Ibn Battuta Mall is just about the world's longest mall. I guess Ibn Battuta was a famous Muslim explorer ... well, you can go read his wikipedia entry as easy as I can summarize it. Needless to say, the mall tries to recreate Battuta's journey, from China, India, Persia, Egypt, Tunisia to Andalusia (Spain), with themed sections of the mall. And it's pretty great, too, very Epcot meets the Forum Shops at Caesars. But it's loooooong.

And naturally the electronics store is in the China section, while Géant is in Andalusia. Complete, 100% opposite ends of the mall. At least a twenty minute walk.

So we didn't buy the Sim card last night.

But we actually went back to the mall this morning, since I had to go get passport photos taken for my visa. Thus we bought the card today.

However, not only do you need a phone and a Sim card, you also need credit. See, all cell phones in Dubai are run through the state-owned phone company, Etiaslat. (They're also the only internet provider here, so it really wasn't a surprise when they blocked all usage of Skype this summer).

Yeah, so there's no choosing your own plan here, everything is pay as you go - like the cheap-ass cell phones they sell in 7-11 for people with crummy credit.

So you need a phone, a Sim card, yand pay-as-you-go credits.

And those can take up to 24 hours to charge, 'cause this phone still isn't working.

So all day today I scoured the web to find a way to get iTunes onto my phone. After spending the better part of the afternoon on sites named MotoModders.net and The Moto Guide and finally iTunes on Slvr Mac OS X Guide I got the phone to download iTunes.

I was thrilled.

I was psyched.

I was ... reading Russian?!?!?

Apparently the dude who hacked the Cingular iTunes was Russian, so the application is in Russian.

Five hours of my life I'll never get back.

So now I have to spend another day looking on these fine web sites for an English version of iTunes ... or learn how to read Russian.

Huh.
posted by Josh @ 7:53 PM  

Josh and Liz are two American kids who got married in August. Liz has lived in Dubai since 2003, Josh since August of 2006.

Follow along in the culture shock of being recently married and (for Josh, at least) recently transplanted to Dubai.


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