Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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Marine Cyber Cafes I Have Known Sadly

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Why is it, in Turd World countries, that the most technophobic Waspafarian (white-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant-with-dreds) with the least number of active brain cells invariably runs the Cyber Café?

The sad truth is I’ve been in some pretty backward countries with some pretty primitive facilities——all of which are advertised as broad-banded.

I’m not sure they really know what the term means.

“Yeah, all of our employees are broads,” said one fat lady behind the counter in Indonesia and, well, that was enough to shut me up.

I’ve found that not only are the people primitive, their equipment often is too. Thus I shy away from all facilities with kerosene-powered computers, candle-illuminated screens and/or printers first used on the Gutenberg Bible.

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…ditto any place where the help doesn’t know the difference between WiFi and High-Five!

Of course, I immediately check out the ‘history of sites visited’ on any computer I use anywhere in the world… as a rude cultural yardstick.

No, the most popular Islamic sites don’t involve researching the Koran… they show the local ladies… well, veiled women… sort-of ALMOST and/or PREPARING TO step out of their chadors.

I have no idea why they call them ‘adult sites,’ do you? Wouldn’t ‘ignorant, tasteless, dumb’ sites be a more accurate label?

…and don’t their stars have mature-sounding names like Seymour Butts, Max Hardcore and Harry Reams… classy, eh?

I do NOT like webcams in cyber cafes! I mean, I didn’t know the damn thing was turned on… and so I’ll never visit another lesbian chat room while cyber-masquerading as Fatima… at least not while in my street clothes!

But as a sailor I have to conduct MORE than just monkey business on the Net. I have to earn my living. This isn’t easy, especially now that my wife has become my business manager.

She can’t seem to get some rather simple concepts through her pretty little head. “Yes, it is GOOD to email people who owe us money and demand they pay up, but, NO, it is NOT good to tell ‘em to fax it to us, honey… I just got a fax of three hundred dollar bills and a scribbled note at the bot tom which said, “Paid In Full, sucker!”

Of course, as a sailor I have special cyber needs. I often have to transfer files from my shipboard computer to the cyber café’s computer. “I’m an SOB on LSD from the USA who needs, ASAP, an open USB for my ThumbDrive, JumpDrive, PocketDrive, DriveMeNutsDrive,” I said, “is that possible?”

“…no, but if it is thing-a-ma-jig backwards compatible with smoke signals… then it will work… maybe,” they respond.

While in India I had a problem with timing. I’d walk into a cyber café and the smiling/bowing entrepreneurial fellow would say gleefully, “Good luck! I am here to serve you!” until I’d give him my money and then he’d say, smiling even broader now, “But all of life is ying and yang… bad luck exists too, as my server is down… and has been since… well, Gandhi died!”

…did you ever notice that the slower the connection the faster the guy is to take your money?

…I mean, I’ve spent most of the money in my bank account trying to determine how much money is in my bank account!

Mainly I visit cyber cafes just before I shove off on an ocean crossing… to make sure I have a window. This can be a problem.

“I’m in search of a calm spell of fair weather,” I say to the cyber-smirker behind the counter, “and I need to check some sites to find a three day window…”

“Well,” the cyber goon will huffily respond, “whether or not to use Windows as your OS is up to you… me, I HATE Bill Gates!”

Just to make matters more confusing I have a shipboard email system which goes over a hi-tech Pactor modem via sailmail (commercial content okay) and ham ‘winlink’ (strictly non-commercial) SSB servers as well.

This commercial and non-commercial issue is complicated. Example, if one of my mistresses wants to inform me she is pregnant, she uses winlink… unless she wants me to help pay for the abortion… which can only be requested via sailmail.

If my mistresses were smart enough to do this, well, they wouldn’t be my mistresses, would they?

Another surprise: many of the winlink sysops (or ‘hams’ as they are called) read my emails! Unabashed! Why, I had one guy demanding more ‘yachtie jokes’ and another requesting less swear words! (“F-off!” I told him).

…and don’t forget: Big Brother and the NSA is, indeed, watching. If you plan on assassinating anyone important, don’t use email to do it… unless you cleverly encode your triggers, like, “Kill the letter between V and X now!”

There are some bad trends developing in marina cyber cafes. Example: cyber payment based upon vessels’ hull length, tonnage and/or yacht club affiliation. (I’m for soaking the NYYC, sure, but not always!)

Spam, of course, is a problem—–especially for the offshore sailor.

The cans rust.

There are lots of security issues. Alas I haven’t found a good software package to truly limit offensive emails… I still get letters from family, friends, offspring, siblings, Christians, bill collectors and irate husbands no matter what blocker I use!

…why, once I had so many letters from my mother waiting… that I couldn’t get the penis enlarge ads I so crave!

Yes, being a modern ‘connected & cyber-savvy’ sailor isn’t as easy at it might seem.

But there are some enjoyable bits and bytes. For instance, Carolyn was just about to squish one of the three trillion roaches we have on our boat——when I stopped her with, “Wait! I know a cyber café which deserves that!”

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Cap'n Fatty Goodlander
Cap'n Fatty Goodlanderhttp://fattygoodlander.com/
Cap’n Fatty Goodlander has lived aboard for 53 of his 60 years, and has circumnavigated twice. He is the author of Chasing the Horizon and numerous other marine books. His latest, Buy, Outfit, and Sail is out now. Visit: fattygoodlander.com

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