Meanwhile, techno-frustrations abound 2

JISHOU, HUNAN — What do cell phones, washing machines, the Internet and electrical supplies all have in common? Aside from the obvious, electricity, they all added to my frustrations — or shall I say challenges — this week. The cell phone issue was the biggest. I had bought my Treo 600 off eBay ages ago with the understanding that it was unlocked, meaning that I could use it with any carrier as soon as I inserted the appropriate SIM chip into it. Wrong. Sure, the Treo could find China Mobile and China Unicom signals, but without international roaming enabled (not that I could afford it), I could not use those signals. So, senior English students Christopher, Ava and Sophia took me to the China Mobile tents set up for returning students, where they helped me get a China Mobile account and SIM card. Of course, it did not work. Believing my phone to be the all-powerful, unlocked, works-anywhere-in-the-world SuperTreo, I was of course mighty perplexed. The kids took me to the China Mobile store in downtown Jishou, where I got another SIM card that worked the same as the previous one. “SIM card not allowed,” my SuperTreo informed me. “Your ...
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