Thursday, October 9, 2008

Africa Trip - Zambia

I'm getting ready for my Africa trip. I'm going at least to Zambia and possibly to Ghana (either immediately after Zambia or a week later). It's been interesting preparing for the Zambia trip, it will be for business, so I'm not sure how much "site seeing" there will be. So far I've had to get several shots (Flu, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Yellow Fever, Polio). I've been told to eat nothing raw (except for fruits like bananas and oranges), to stay away from the water (even for brushing teeth). I've been given medication for Malaria (this makes me a bit dizzy, it's supposed to also give me wicked dreams, but I haven't had that, damn), Travelers Diarrhea, Ambien (for jet lag) and Prednesone (this is for a weird issue with my platelets and only to be taken if needed). I've also had to spay all my clothes with insect repellent (this will last for a few weeks) and I've gotten plenty of deet 30 for myself (don't want to get Malaria). Finally to get the Visa I had to go up to the embassy here in Washington DC and apply in person (OK, so there is a benefit to living near DC, well other than the first ones to die in a massive nuclear war).

I've placed all my paperwork in folders by country and project, so my anal retentive side is working overtime. It'll pay off when I want to find something quickly, it's just funny to see me do it :).

On the tech front, I'll be taking my laptop, iTouch, and a few odds and ends, but nothing fancy. Upon my brother's suggestion, I only got plug adapters, but not current adapters, it seems that laptops will handle the current change on their own. Items like my iTouch I'll charge off my laptop :). I've purchased a month subscription to Skype, I'll see if I can use Skype to call the people I care about back home (this required me to purchase a USB headset, I need to test that out), Skype is only $3 a month for calls to the US. For business I'll need to have a Ubuntu Linux box set up, so I've installed VMWare and Ubuntu on a virtual machine on that server (I love VMWare, it's very nice and it's free).

Cell phone's upset me some. I can't use my Verizon Wireless phone, since it's CDMA only. I don't want to upgrade phones yet, because ALL the Verizon phones are horrible. I would go with the iPhone, but I'd need to jailbreak it first before using it overseas (which is a tragic waste of technology). My brother will have a cell phone that he can just insert a simm into for the host country, so we should be set there.

I'll go through a test packing today, make sure I've got enough room. I'll most likely google for the most effective way to pack my clothes. I've got a few requests for gifts, my doctor was funny because he wants something, he's a pretty cool guy so I'll get him something, besides after giving me my first prostate exam, I figure we should be exchanging gifts and such.

I'm told that I'll have decent internet connections (if not then Skype, Yahoo, Twinkle, Twitter, etc... just won't work, now will they ;)). I'll be taking my baby camera and will be updating my blog while I'm there :). If it's decided that I go to Ghana, I'll post that also :).


Amanda said...

Both my laptop and camera battery charger were able to adapt to the current change while I was in Germany. They usually say right on the device what current flows it can handle, so if you know what the voltage is of the place you're going, you can look at your computer and verify.

Skype is hugely popular with people my age - a lot of my international classmates had it when we were in Germany to talk to people back home. And cell phones are a bitch. I had my brother bring mine over to Germany, but it didn't work there (I didn't expect it to) and I only wanted it so I could call people once I got back to the States.

Woo, Linux! I just installed Ubuntu on my brother's laptop, but I like Kubuntu better (it's what I'm currently running on my desktop).

Good luck/have fun on your trip! Even if it is a work trip, you are going to a place not many people get to.

Unknown said...

@leopard I've been using skype on and off for a few years, but since VOIP I haven't had to use it to call locally, instead I'm using it to talk to my nephew in Brazil. I think my only issue with Skype is that the wifi in the hotel won't be great (that reminds me to take a cat-5 patch cable in case I need to hook up that way).

I'm impressed that you're a linux geek :). I've always been a Windows geek (I hope you'll still love and respect me though), but I do run Ubuntu on one machine for development, and have set it up in a VMWare instance for my trip.

Amanda said...

I used to be strictly Windows too, but my dad deals with Linux at work (and has his computer at home run on some type of Linux for years), and these days there aren't as many compatibility issues as there used to be. I love Linux, because it is what Windows isn't, and it's come to the point where Windows just drives me nuts. The world is a Windows world, though, and there have been plenty of instances where I've had to switch to using my laptop (which runs Vista) because I can't access certain things for school with Linux.