Rogers Data Roaming Rates = Extortion!

Every time I travel abroad with a Canadian cell phone I generally assume I am going to get absolutely raped come billing time. As a result, I am very frugal when I use my phone. I try and only use SMS, I keep the phone off most of the time, I turn off the data functions, etc.

Still, it never ceases to amaze me what I get billed when I get home…

For example: 2MB worth of roaming (not Gig!) when I was in Singapore = $100!!

Lets put that in perspective, that is less than 1/3 of the song “Everlong” by the Foo Fighters in Apple’s AAC format. So… if I had a hankering for Everlong whilst in Singapore, it would cost me $300 for the download. It is my favourite song, but it isn’t worth $300 to me, unless maybe I had it played to me in a private session by the band!

For any of you who have been to Singapore, you well know that this is a VERY modern place, with WAY more cell phone infrastructure than my home city of Ottawa, so its not like they are propping up some 3rd world dictatorship with these fees.

&*^% you Rogers! Next time I am unlocking my cell phone, buying a SIM card while traveling, and cutting you out of the money flow entirely.

For my new post on how Rogers is trying to lock you in with a service bundling contract, check out “Rogers Pushes Their Luck”. There is a LOT of fine print when it comes to this new contract, expectially with wireless plans, so have a look!

Looking for A Great Guide to Siem Reap / Angkor Wat?

Originally uploaded by Adrian F1

I got really lucky and found a great guide via my hotel (The Borann) which takes about a 20% cut of the action. I am not sure, but you may be able to contact ‘Raum’ directly to get a better rate than the $25/day that the hotel charged for his services.

Mr. Sem Sopheara, is an English speaking guide who I used for two days, to visit Ankor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm (Jungle Temple) and Tonle Sap lake. Sopheara (his first name) goes by the short form ‘raum’ (phonetically) helped me see all sorts of detail of all of these sites that I would have been sure to miss on my own. He was very knowledgeable about the sites and Cambodia in general, and a generally nice guy!

Raum was a big part of why my trip to Cambodia was so enjoyable, as he, and my driver ‘Kohn’ were my companions for almost my entire stay. I definitely made the best of my short 2-day stay in Siem Reap with their help!

If you would like to contact ‘Raum’, his mobile is 012 674 659, and I can provide his e-mail address to you upon request. Please leave a comment below and I will respond to the email address that is provided to me.

Cambodia & Angkor Wat

Adrian @ Angkor Wat

Originally uploaded by Adrian F1

Ha, I just realized that I am wearing the exact same outfit as I am in the Singapore shot! I assure you my hygiene hasn’t taken a dive since I have been in Asia, I still change clothes, and occasionally underwear as well. 🙂

I was hoping to have better access to internet while in Bangkok , so I could upload my shots from there (my hotel was supposed to have it in my room), but that will have to wait.

Cambodia’s internet, while available, is really slow. As a result I only risked uploading this one picture. Far from my best shot, particularly because I am in it, does show that I am actually in Siem Reap, Cambodia, home of the Angkor complex of temples.

The temples are spectacular, and I recommend you see them as soon as possible! Tourism is increasing at 30% a year, and there is lots of evidence of this in town, with many many new western-style hotels popping up. There are already too many tourists, so get here before the number of tourists doubles or triples!

There is lots of evidence of the various wars that have set the region back considerably. There are many people with missing limbs as a result of land mines that are still dotting the country side. You can also see many bullet holes and vandalism on the temples that occurred during the civil war.

The best temple, while not the biggest, is the ‘jungle temple’ where the French, who instigated much of the renovation work now overtaken by the Germans and the Japanese, decided not to get rid of all of the huge trees that overgrew the temples. You can really see how powerful nature is when a 200-300 year old tree totally splits and crushes a sandstone temple.

Some suggestions on travel here: I highly recommend the Borann hotel that I am staying at ($40 a night for A/C room), which offers very good English speaking tour guides ($25 a day) and drivers ($25 a day). You can go much cheaper as well, but I decided on this approach to see as much as possible in a short time. The guide named “raum” (phonetically) really helped explain many details of the temple that would easily be missed by a tourist. He also helped explain much of the mythology that is etched on the walls of the various temples.

Another note: Don’t bother with the local currency, the “Riel”, nobody wants it, and will penalize you with a bad ‘exchange’ rate with respect to the USD. Get lots of $1 bills and even some quarters to help you buy bottled water when you visit the temples.

Next stop is Phuket, Thailand via Kuala Lampur, Malaysia.

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