Here you see Frank with New Zealand’s own James Watson–no, not the infamous James Watson biology Nobel but the deservedly honored (with a 2005 Ig Nobel Prize) author of a paper on Mr. Richard Buckley’s exploding trousers.
New Zealand is a lovely land full of surprises, whose only non-good surprise has been just how hard it is to get internet access even from hotels that advertise “broadband internet.”
Item: Palmerston North Coachman Hotel, where we paid for “broadband wifi” and then discovered that the signal didn’t reach as far as our room.
Item: Albany Executive Inn, just north of Auckland, which charges $4 for your first 20 Meg per day and $.15 more for every Meg on top of that level. Heck, 20 Meg hardly covers my uploads to Flickr!
Item: Jet Park Airport Hotel south of Auckland, which offers broadband in only “deluxe” rooms, and charges an extra $26 per day if you use it.
New Zealand is not alone in the problem, of course. Our worst “yes, we have internet” story was near Poitiers in France, in a lovely chateau (it was not our nickel) where the “internet” was one computer behind the front desk, the very computer where all the chateau’s daily business was done. But if you wanted to check email, the clerk would kindly let you sit in her chair a few minutes and try to access your email through her very slow telephone modem.
Tomorrow, however, we move on to even less internet. Our hotel on the Coromandel Peninsula has “internet” in the sense that you get 20 minutes each day to check up on your email. That’s 5 minutes per Wilczek, since all four of us will be together, something I’m incredibly happy about.
So if my blog goes a bit silent next week, don’t assume that sharks got me–I’ll have lots more to tell you about once we get back online.