Friday, December 9, 2016

Mission Unsuccessful

Today I went on an unsuccesful mission to find a suitable smartphone to replace the one I have now. I have a Samsung Galaxy S5, and the 16 GBs of internal memory have completely filled up to the point that I can't even retrieve emails without it telling me that internal memory is full, so I have been having for quite some time to delete cache and unnecessary files several times a day just to accomplish simple tasks. But lately, that hasn't even been enough, and I have had to delete apps. Now it is getting to the point where I am deleting some pretty essential apps just so my phone will be useful, and so I am just hoping to get a new phone soon so I can re-load those apps. But getting a new phone from T-Mobile has proven to be next to impossible, due to uncertainties and unevenly enforced mail and customs regulations. They won't ship a phone to Vietnam, so I would have to have it shipped to the States and have a friend ship it to me, which from what I've read online, may prove to be a daunting and expensive task, and it is highly possible that the package could disappear in transit. Even getting a American SIM card for whatever phone I get is going to be damn difficult. So I am pretty much looking at an unlocked phone that I buy here. I had my sights on the LG V10, because it meets all my requirements, has enough internal ROM (4 times what I have now), and takes an SD card, among other things. And I found some places that claimed online that they had that phone, but then when I drove across town, it turned out they actually didn't. And then I was stuck on the other side of town with no signal, so I couldn't check other places (I haven't topped up on my Vietnamese phone, because I might have to change the SIM card size, and my T-Mobile phone doesn't work in Vietnam). I then just randomly stopped in every phone place I saw on the way back to see if they had that phone, and no place did. Some places tried to offer me other phones that seemed similar, but I needed to check out for sure if they would work for me, so I declined. Apparently a lot of the Asian phones may not have access to Google Play, and it is a crapshoot whether wi-fi calling will work or not. I can get around w-fi calling by using Google Phone with a VPN, or by using Skype or some similar app, so that's not a deal-killer, it's just an extra step. But I have to be able to get into the Google Play Store so I can install the apps I need. And I'd like to have enough RAM to make things work smoothly. I don't want to spend a big chunk of money on a phone and then find out that it can't accomplish an essential task I need, or that it doesn't have enough oomph and just runs slowly or crashes. I'll take my time and figure this out. Tomorrow I will try again.

So I drove all around town all day trying to find a phone, and it didn't pan out. It looks like this will be a multi-day quest. The phone is out there somewhere, but finding it is the puzzle. I can connect with wi-fi in the meantime with my American phone, I just have to delete critical stuff all the time. And right now, I'm not even getting the apartment's wi-fi, so it's a little frustrating. Oh, well, I can post this later. I have plenty of room on the SD card, but there are some things my phone will apparently only do in internal memory, and that is dwindling. So my phone's days are numbered. I thought the phone would last me quite a while, but I didn't count on the memory filling up with ever-growing app data and other garbage. Believe me, I've tried to transfer as much as I can to the card, and tech support at T-Mobile has helped me unload as much as I can.

Anyway, on my way back, I tried to turn around in what I thought was a traffic circle, but apparently it wasn't. And there was a cop there. So I got my first traffic fine. It was paid on the spot, only about twenty bucks, and I was on my merry way shortly afterwards with no identifying information taken from me at all. But now I know that when I see what looks like a traffic circle, but it has a little protrusion in one place, you can't cross that place. Especially if there is a cop there. This in a city where everybody openly runs red lights, drives down the wrong side of the street, and there is no such thing as right-of-way. Just watch for the uniform, and don't do anything weird in the presence of the uniformed person. Lesson learned.

This morning I made some fantastic yellow curry, and a lot of it, so I'll be eating on that for a few days, probably. I probably have to start ramping down on buying groceries, since I'll be leaving in a few weeks, unless I decide to stay longer. I think I have enough basics to eat until I leave, and I can just augment that with a little produce as I need it. But I probably won't stay longer; if I want to spend more time in Hanoi, which I might, so I can take more French classes, I'll just return later. I almost wish that I had signed up for the next round of classes at the next level, but too late now. Anyway, I'm watching French TV almost every day and checking out French movies on DVD from the French Institute, so that is helping a lot. Especially since my oral comprehension skill is the one that I most need to develop. Staying here would help me financially, because it is so cheap to live here, but I don't think traveling through Southeast Asia will cost much more since many of the countries in this area are fairly'll just be that the travel will cost more.

I'm also going to have to get an oil change on my bike and have any minor maintenance done...the chain will probably have to be tightened a bit, tire pressure checked, and so on. I'll probably get that done before I take off from Hanoi.

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