I had considered renting an international MiFi device for our recent Hong Kong trip, but decided against it after calculating the actual data usage cost. Instead, I added an international data package to one of our phones. Not knowing what our actual data usage would be, I selected the 300 MB plan for $60. We used data roaming judiciously, switching to WiFi at the hotel or in the airline lounge. We shared the connection via the iPhone's personal hotspot and mainly used it for Facebook, email, and some web browsing. It turns out we averaged less than 30 MB per day, using a little less than 54 of the 300 MB available. We could have easily gotten by on the 120 MB plan. I have a significantly longer trip planned this fall, but it seems like the 300 MB plan should be more than adequate.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Sunday, May 25, 2014
We had another good breakfast at the hotel this morning. I tried the pancakes and they were delicious served with natural maple syrup. The coffee is also good, hot and strong brewed individually on an espresso machine. Our plan for the day was to visit Victoria Peak. Before going sightseeing we went looking for an ATM to replenish our supply of HK$. We didn't find the ATM but stumbled upon Hong Kong Park where we realized we were only a short walk from the Peak Tram so we headed toward the peak without stopping for cash.
|Hong Kong Park|
|Hong Kong Park|
|Victoria Peak Tram|
|View from Victoria Peak|
|Chinese Dinner Party|
|Hong Kong Friends|
|Temple Street Night Market|
|Night Market Vendors|
Friday, May 23, 2014
We finished the first full day in Hong Kong today. It was a very tiring trip coming here. 13½ hours to Tokyo then nearly 5 hours more to Hong Kong. We arrived about 10:15pm and by the time we were settled in our hotel it was after midnight. The hotel is a very nice Marriott and we have a club level room on a high floor. We received a welcome gift of fruit and hot tea that was a pleasant surprise.
|Breakfast in the club.|
but soon the weather improved and we set out for some sightseeing. Our first stop was the Wong Tai Sin Temple, a colorful Taoist shrine in the midst of the city on the Kowloon side.
|Wong Tai Sin|
|Wong Tai Sin|
|Nan Lian Garden|
|Symphony of Lights|
Monday, May 19, 2014
I do some international traveling and the one thing I miss when I'm abroad is the ability to pull out my phone anywhere and have access to the web, Facebook, or a map showing where I am. Cellular data roaming is notoriously expensive with pay-per-use rates typically around $20/megabyte. In the past I've always forgone having complete connectivity and restricted myself to the hotel's WiFi which isn't necessarily free, and often inadequate.
A recent post on the AirfareWatchdog blog reviewed a product from Xcom Global that provides a portable international hotspot and promises unlimited connectivity for up to 10 devices for $14.95/day. This seemed like a good deal until I looked into the details. Xcom Global indeed offers a MiFi device for $14.95 a day, but you are charged for each day of your trip, not just the days you use it. You must tell them the start and end dates of your trip, and they will ship you the device the day before you leave, and you must return it the day after you return. You pay for each day in between, including those while you are in transit. In addition, you are charged $29.90 for shipping. So for my upcoming trip it would have cost $104.65 for a little over 2 days of access. I decided against the Xcom Global solution this time.
My wireless carrier offers a monthly international data roaming package with access capped at 120MB for $30, or 300MB for $60. Also, the access is only for one phone, although you can share the connection by enabling the phone's personal hotspot. Assuming my data usage stays under 300MB this sounded like a better deal so I am giving it a try this trip. I'll report back afterward on whether my internet needs were sufficiently met.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
I intended to do a post convention update a lot sooner after my return, but you know what they say about good intentions. The convention wrapped up on Thursday night with an entertaining concert by Sting and Adam Levine, but the surprise hit of the evening was the rendition of Con Te Partiro by the winning Voice of McDonald's contestant Lucila Ospitia that brought everyone to their feet.
I checked out of the Rosen Centre Friday and spent the weekend at Disney's Beach Club Resort. The accomodations were excellent as I was able to get the convention rate for a club level suite. The Beach Club is only a few minutes walk to Epcot which is another nice advantage.
The many days of company sponsored dinners and evening libations were unfriendly to my weight loss plan, and I confess I did little to avoid it. I did eat an Isagenix meal replacement bar for breakfast a couple of times, but that was more for the convenience of saving time in the morning than to control calories. I hate to admit that altogether I gained 15 pounds during the time I was gone. Some of that I expect to come off as fast as it went on, but the rest will take effort to remove. I have another trip coming up, and my present goal is to lose at least 10 pounds of the convention weight before I travel again. So far I'm on track to do that.