Thursday, August 22, 2013

un-fast at any speed

Now and then I hear from a reader who thinks I romanticize Mexico at the expense of life in The States.  The comment often takes the tone of:  "Mexico -- good.  America -- bad.  Blah blah blah."

Come to think of it, that is almost a direct quotation of a comment about one of my posts while I was in Bend.  About organic food markets, if I recall correctly.

I suspect I do talk a lot about what I enjoy in Mexico.  But it is certainly not a perfect place.  And it is certainly not paradise. 

That thought was highlighted for me yesterday while listening to a song from A Chorus Line -- where the performers discuss their lives at ballet class.  "It was not paradise/But it was home."

That is how I think of Melaque.  As a place to live, it has many positives and many negatives.  Just like living in The States.  But, after weighing everything in both countries (especially the current circumstances in The States), the balance tilts to Mexico.  At least for me.

And "balance" assumes that there must be some negatives to living where I do.  There are, and I have been contending with one over the past few months.  Internet speed.

Let me start with the obvious.  I am happy there is internet where I live.  In 2007, when I was drafting my list of potential nesting sights, I ran into a recurring theme.  There was either no internet -- or the speeds available were glacial and the cost stratospheric.  (I would add another cliché, but I think I have shot my wad.)

I settled on Melaque -- on the representation that the area was served by "high-speed internet."  I should have asked just how fast that "high-speed" was.  In the same way that "lovely dancing girls" is not necessarily a description steeped in fact.

When I left Oregon, I had become accustomed to fast internet both at home and at work.  Just recently, I was receiving up to 50 Mbps in Oregon.  And that speed builds certain expectations.  Expectations that Melaque could not -- and cannot -- meet.

Take a look at the speed test at the top of this post.  It is from Wednesday night.  A download speed of .36 Mbps.  To put that in context for most of the world that does not track this sort of thing, that is slower than the normal internet speeds in American homes two decades ago.

Or try these practical examples.  It is so slow, it will not allow me to use my internet-based telephone system.  I can hear the people I call.  They cannot hear me.  It also means no YouTube (though that is not a great loss).  And no Netflix (a sightly worse outcome).

I am paying for an internet package of speeds up to 10 Mbps in Melaque.  The "up to," of course, is the qualifier.  It is not a guarantee I will receive that speed.  And I don't.  And there is no other competition with faster speed.

My problem is the system is ADSL, and I am at I am the very end of the copper telephone wire that brings me my signal.  If I go into the central village at one of my favorite restaurants, I can regularly find speeds of 3 Mbps.

Until the lines are replaced or until internet cable shows up in Melaque, I will just need to deal with it.

And, yes, this is one issue where Oregon beats Melaque hands down.  But it is not enough to convince me  I need to move north.

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