13 Apr 5 unlikely places to connect to Wi-Fi
Especially as travellers recording our adventures, the internet is at the heart of our lives. Nowadays, “What’s the Wi-Fi code?” is probably the first question we ask when we check in, so eager to connect with our loved ones and share our experiences on social media. If you’re an intrepid explorer, often with not one sliver of a network bar available, you must learn to improvise, adapt and overcome such hardships. This doesn’t mean hacking through the deep Asian jungle looking for a coffee shop though. No, our precious Wi-Fi is often far more accessible than you would believe and in some truly remarkable places.
From the ski lift’s chair, perched more than 2500 meters above the ground in Val d’Isère, France, there’s more to do than simply take in the stunning Alpine views, as the digital world is right at your gloved fingertips. In addition to heated seats, this smart ski lift is equipped with 29 transmitters spread over more than a dozen of the support pylons to allow skiers to surf the web with wonderful free Wi-Fi. This means, there’s no need to wait for the descent to share your photography skills on social networks or book your table for dinner down in the valley. Make sure that fancy phone is insured though; it seems too many numb fingers drop a selfie in wrong way!
A Cruise Ship
A few years ago Wi-Fi on cruise ships was ridiculously expensive in an attempt by cruise lines to make us all to abstain and not give the system such a headache it buffered for twenty minutes before crashing. Today, Wi-Fi is no longer an accessory but for many the very heart of the cruise experience. As a result, there is currently a cruising arms race in who can get the best Wi-Fi and get you snapchatting from their decks. In this case, Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas is unrivaled, blasting out an incredible 6000 megabytes to power its guest app, “Voom” by jumping from one satellite to another at regular intervals. This means passengers are not only able to Facetime their family and friends and surf the internet, but also play Xbox in the arcade, watch Netflix, book a room for dinner, check in in seconds and track their luggage without a hitch.
Ideal for selfies at altitude with attitude, Mount Everest is today the highest point in the world to offer a free Wi-Fi service. NTA, Nepal’s telecommunications agency, is behind Everest Link, a set of more than 200 Wi-Fi hotspots in more than 40 villages, allowing mountaineers and locals to find their way around (apparently it’s easy to get lost on a mountain…). This not only grants internet access over 5000 meters above sea level, for those breath-taking pics in the thin air, but also allows access to telemedicine and long-distance education to the local community. I guess, you just have to hope your smartphones don’t die from the cold for that top selfie at the summit!
I always wondered what happens to our social media accounts when we die. Maybe the residents of San José, in Grenada, Spain, need Wi-Fi in the local cemetery to update their dearly deceased’s accounts as they replace the flowers on the graves. Or maybe they think their relatives will get bored down there in the dark? After watching Disney film Coco about the Day of the Dead in Mexico, I guess Spanish speaking nations have a bit of different approach to the afterlife than us. Unfortunately, that’s not the reason, as it turns out it was simply necessary for some genealogy researchers’ work. Still, it’s a bit creepy and I hope they don’t use the tombstones as routers although it would look nice at night!
On Belgian beaches Wi-Fi has been installed for several years now but in Peru, it is in the shade we get Wi-Fi. This measure, adopted by several Peruvian beaches with the help of the Peruvian League Against Cancer, is used to invite users to get out of the sun and move away from ultraviolet rays in an intelligent way to use new technologies to improve people’s well-being. Sensors adjust to the position of the sun and broadcast Wi-Fi according to the angle of the shadow. Better than sunscreen, the “Shadow Wi-Fi” seems to work and the project could well extend to other beaches around the world. Call me cynical, but don’t you need to be in the shade to see your screen anyway? There’s no doubting its genius though. I just wish there was also a sunbathing alert app- I’ve fallen asleep too many times in the sun on my wanders.