Okay, where to start… ah, headphones, apple for breakfast… there we go :)
So, our flights took us from ft lauderdale to San Juan, then on to Beef Island, Tortola without incident. Interestingly enough, as I called to cancel my sprint phone in San Juan during the layover (after finishing my game of starcraft), I was informed that Sprint *will have service here* and in the usvi in a few months!!! woop!!!
We got to the rather smallish airport (they’re currently building a new one) and proceeded through customs without any problem… after all, we are here on legitimate business, so I was able to provide rapid and direct answers to their questions that seemed to satisfy them… (they turned away three guys recently who stammered, said they were here on business, then claimed to be staying in a hotel that does not exist). I’ve only got a temporary visa, however, so that needs to be converted into a permanent residency.
After we waited about a half hour (I had a Corona), rob and scott arrived, we loaded in our shit, and rob’s like “don’t worry! there’s kickass bar / cybercafe about 200 ft from here!”, and sure enough, there was.
The place is run by this dude Jeremy, and *as soon* as I walked in, I knew there are kindred souls here on the bvi :) His primary thing is renting out boats / windsurfers / sailboards and such, so the place is adorned with related paraphernalia… there was a distinct air of style… almost psychedelia about it… not much more than a single large room with attached bath and kitchen, could comfortably hold maybe a dozen people or so. He had three computers (an iMac and two iMac look-a-likes… needless to say only the iMac ever saw any use from the four of us). Nice sound setup, dsl ala cable and wireless (more on them in a bit). Anyway, this guy is a definite character… could easily be one of the more garish characters out of a douglas adams book… I rather enjoyed his spoken mannerisms and the sort of rapid-fire back and forth that the English seem so disposed to :) So, we hung out there for a couple hours, drank beers… he made us some kickass food… quite a delightful mix of a bunch of various things. He seemed quite happy that we were there, as I immagine there’s not a great bounty of tech-savy internet mongers passing through this little corner of the world… but of course it’s not just about technology… it’s about the surrounding thought process, open mindedness, ability to explore… etc, etc :)
We then drove from Beef Is. back to our place at the top of MacNemara hill… took a solid 20 minutes, considering the average drivable speed is somewhere around 25 mph. We saw most of the major areas of town and such on the way over… there’s really not a whole lot to this place. As I said, we’re way up on this hill, and the road up here is seriously steep / switch back (dan is going to attempt to bike it… gradually ;) We have a spectacular view of road town, road harbor, and the ocean from here (including a few spotty islands several miles out). We’ve got the third flood of a rather large house… there’s two other tenants below us. Even just this floor is quite sizable; three beds, 2.5 baths, etc, etc… there’s a deck that runs the length of the house on the side facing road town, two of the bedrooms and the living room have double doors out to the deck. I’m staying in the master bedroom with dan, and soon brian as well. I carved out a little nich below one of the windows facing the direction the constant trade wind comes from… it’s actually quite nice, once you sit still long enough to cool off :)
Yeah, nobody really has air conditioning in their homes, it seems, though it does exist in most public places. Everything seems to be built for self-cooling, and the winds really are constant and refreshing… without them, it would be close to intolerable, but with them, it’s perfectly tolerable :)
Our water is collected rain, and drains into a large tank in the floor of the second level of the house. This means rather judiscious use of water, very short showers, etc, etc… but that’s no problem. Small price to pay, really… (and besides, I haven’t once even considered a long hot shower since I’ve been down here…).
Friday we did some running around… picked up some basic supplies. All of our stuff is still in shipping containers in florida (and I do mean all of it, except the stuff we took with us on the plane). No furniture, no refrigeration. My bed is a conglomerate pile of clothes, bubble wrap, scott’s sleeping bag, and some foam stuff I bought at a department store… heh. Definitely as “rough” as tropical paradise can get, I rekon.
Friday night we set up our first link to the house of a friend of ours up the hill a little ways… We used only 12 dbi antennas and 30 milliwatt radios, and with a seriously kludged antenna setup on our side that splits half of the signal up the hill and the rest into the house… thus, this is by far a weaker link that anything we’ll set up once we’re fully functional – and of course, it works marvelously. about 3 ms latentcy… can’t do any real throughput tests without a server on the other end, but we can fill the dsl pipe no prob (up to 150 KB/s).
Today we’re gonna set up the demo link between our place and the gov’t building that we’ll be demo’ing on monday… tomorrow we go sailing :)
anyway, I’m a bit pressed for time at the moment… so more later :)