Going Cold Turkey

August 31, 2010

For the last ten days or so I have had troubles with my Internet and for the last week I have had no connection at all.  Seems like it started with squirrels chewing on the telephone lines and now, after new lines have been installed, and after my fifth desperate call to my Internet provider, we still don’t know what is wrong.  One doesn’t realize when one has become addicted to something until you have to go without.  So I am now going cold turkey from Internet withdrawal.

If you are the kind of person who gets bent out of shape and really upset whenever there is an electricity blackout, or a water main breaks, or your satellite TV can’t find a signal, or your Internet goes down, or when you lose any of the 100 other things that a modern person has come to rely on, then maybe Thailand might not be the place for you.  Although Thailand has much more reliable services than before, stuff just happens here to remind you how close modern man is to reverting back to the Stone Age.  Thunderstorms cause the lights to go out, trees fall in front of your satellite dish, water buffalos wallow right on top of you water pipes, and squirrels chew on your Internet cables.  It’s just a fact of life.

Knowing that hasn’t made my going cold turkey any easier though.  With my regular Internet connection, living in Thailand is not really much different from living back in Seattle (especially in the rainy season like it is now).  I wake up to America’s National Public Radio to listen to the news of the day, I check the New York Times front page, Then I go through the excruciating task of seeing how much my investments have diminished, I check my email, and then see if the latest torrent downloads of my favorite U.S. TV shows has completed.  I then check on what my “friends” on Facebook have been up to, and maybe make a video call on Skype to my children and see how much my granddaughter has grown since my last call.  I later view the latest episode of The Daily Show, and then go to bed listening to the BBC’s World Service.  It makes for a full day.

I also keep myself busy writing this blog, updating my webpage (retire2thailand.com), and checking on my eBook business endeavor (ebooksinthailand.com).  That doesn’t include every time I have any kind of question and I Google the answer, or use an online Thai/English dictionary, or check in with my publishers, or see what movies are playing at the local multiplex, or just surf around.  I’m not doing any of that now and am beginning to suffer from cold sweats, muscle aches, headaches and nausea.  Cold turkey from Internet addiction is no picnic.

But maybe this unconnected cloud I am living in has a silver lining.  I now have time to do things I haven’t done in a while and enjoy the reasons I came to Thailand in the first place.  It’s the rainy season and I now have the luxury to sit and watch the rain turning our garden a luxuriant shiny green.  I am taking things a lot more slowly too.  I am typing this blog post on a simple, unconnected computer, and listening to Beethoven on my stereo.  Later I will read an eBook I recently downloaded (when the world was normal and I was connected).   I’m also reading one of my dozens of regular “paper” books that I have ignored for months and months.  And I just got off the phone with my son in the U.S.  We talked over a regular land line.  I might even have a conversation with my wife later today.  Who woulda thunk it?

If I could I would start a 12 step program to help me deal with my withdrawal.  But since I don’t know all the 12 steps, I would have to get on to Google and look them up.   Looks like I may have to ride back into town to an Internet café.  I can check my email, and then upload this post.  But then again, even though I may be “disconnected” from a world I have grown used to, I am beginning to feel more of a connection to a lot of things I thought I had lost.  Maybe I’ll just postpone rejoining the 21st century for a while and give “cold turkey” a few more days.

8 Responses to “Going Cold Turkey”

  1. Snap said

    Hi Hugh, firstly I apologise for commenting on a non related posting. I was almost certain I read an article on your blog or website regarding insurance?

    We are about to take out insurance (the usual travel/medical/loss/theft) in Australia, to cover our year long stay in Chiang Mai. But, I am wondering if it’s worth considering taking out insurance after we arrive, perhaps just cover our travelling time via local insurers.

    I have quite a good price I think, AU$650, but if for some reason we have to return to Australia in that year, we forfeit it and have to pay again.

    Do you have any suggestions?

  2. A good insurance policy is the one that lets you sleep well at night. Some people can sleep great without any coverage. Others need the max to get a good night’s sleep. For reasons of keeping “Fair and Balanced” I don’t give specific recommendations. But below is a short list of travel insurers. Get the policy that will let you sleep best and good travels to you.


    Columbus Direct


    Lonely Planet http://www.lonelyplanet.com/bookings/insurance.do?affil=googleins&gclid=COOu3e-k6KMCFcRR6wodiQiJ1g

  3. Bob said

    Hi Hugh,

    Another interesting article that reminds me of another issue of concern. I have read in several places about the ‘frequent’ loss of electricity in Chiang Mai. How ‘frequent’ do the power or utilities go offline? I ask because I am considering getting a condo and I wouldn’t want to move to the 7th floor and have to walk up all those stairs frequently. Not that I don’t need the exercise but I wouldn’t enjoy it  I do enjoy the internet but I am sure I would miss the elevator more.

    Take care,


    • Interesting you should ask. We had a power outage just last night. Here is how it usually goes. It is the rainy season, and lightning is all over the sky and the heat has become oppressive. We know that a storm is coming.

      Usually, just before, or after the rains start coming down, the power goes out. Sometimes just for a minute, sometimes for an hour or so. Very rarely longer than that. I am going to look into it but the timing makes me think that maybe the electricity company turns the power off during the storm for safety. Rain storms here can be pretty violent. (Check out my post from a while back on a rain storm I was in https://retire2thailand.wordpress.com/2010/04/25/praying-for-rain/). I’ll report back if I find anything out.

      As to power black outs. They are very infrequent but they do occur. Nothing like when I lived in Iran though. One day we counted the times the electricity went down. 26 times in 24 hours. Now, that was fun.

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