The Interweb cometh. And then it goeth. And then it cometh again.

 
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著作 Christopher Lee Molitoris の情報はPlayer FM及びコミュニティによって発見されました。著作権は出版社によって所持されます。そして、番組のオーディオは、その出版社のサーバから直接にストリーミングされます。Player FMで購読ボタンをタップし、更新できて、または他のポッドキャストアプリにフィードのURLを貼り付けます。
As a Fulbright, I can not live without certain necessities. The top three:
  1. The stipend.
  2. Shelter.
  3. Interweb (commonly referred to as ‘the internet’).
Food? Debatable, especially considering my culinary abilities. Clothing? How cold can Morocco get? Right?
The stipend and shelter come easily.
To access our monthly stipend, all I do is enter a 14-digit alphanumeric code into my top-secret Fulbright decryptor ring to uncover another 48-digit alphanumeric code, which I deliver to the ‘banker,’ at a predetermined time and location. I then exchange a ‘challenge’ and ‘password,’ confirming my identity and giving me access to a key that self-destructs within 24-hours unless I unlock a door hidden deep within the quaint and charming medina of Fes. Then I get my money.
As for shelter, I usually hedge my bets on the fact that there is at least one other Fulbright out there who has his or her respective housing arrangement in order. Right now, I am lucky enough to be one of them. Plus, Moroccans are extremely hospitable.
The internet, however, is by far the most inaccessible, unreliable, and intangible of life’s necessities here in Morocco.

The Interweb Cometh

To acquire the interweb here in Rabat, the numerous Maroc Telecom salespersons I dealt with required me to furnish:
  • My residency permit (the receipt, in my case).
  • A copy of my housing contract.
  • My precious time.
If you too desire the internet from Maroc Telecom, you might also be required to furnish, on top of the latter requirements:
  • Your passport -- because one form of identification is never enough.
  • Two passport size photos -- because they may need copies of your beautiful face.
  • A copy of your grandmother’s birth certificate -- just because it would be practically impossible to get this document in a reasonable amount of time. (And hey, why not?).

After I established myself as a suitable and legitimate client, my housemate, Ryan, and I browsed the various Maroc Telecom interweb plans. We decided on a speed of 2 Mb, or as we say, “Jouge mega.” (With emphasis, please). Some of the other Fulbrighters settled on 1 Mb (wahid mega), or even 512k like our friend, Sam... please.
Ryan and I require raw internet power to navigate that galaxy out there, and we will not be cruising at 512k in a world without speed limits. Unfortunately, we could not afford 100 Mb (mia mega). “But let’s be serious here,” Ryan and I wondered, “is 100 Mb even possible?” We doubted the fact that we would even receive 2 Mb.
Realizing our significant purse constraints, Ryan and I decided on the economical -- yet practical -- 2 Mb. And following a series of negotiations at various Maroc Telecom offices across the city of Rabat (because what else did we have to do except take taxis around Rabat all day, dragging my friend Jon with me on his first visit to Morocco), we acquired the internet.
To emphasize the importance of this moment, I will simply write it again, in caps.
WE ACQUIRED THE INTERNET.
But even then, that world beyond the misty shores of Morocco remained inaccessible. We had the means -- we had acquired the internet -- but we had yet to harness its awesome power.

Still waiting for the cometh part...
So there we were... waiting. Sorry I can not paint a more elaborate picture in prose, but there was not much to our house yet aside from the mold or broood growing on the walls, and lets face it -- we could not decipher the interweb.
It might be helpful to think of our situation in terms of ‘The Matrix.’ Ryan and I, respectively were some version of Neo. We needed our Morpheus to teach us the ways of the Matrix. Maroc Telecom -- the Agents.
Our Morpheus appeared in the form of a chatty Maroc Telecom technician. He, in fact, was a sub-contractor, so do not confuse him with an Agent. Our loquacious friend simply dragged a line off the roof and shoved it through our window. After that maneuver, we were supposed to have internet.
“It will come in three days,” he said.
Contemplating the biblical significance of this prophesy, I waited, staring at the light indicators on the XAVI X8822R+ router. And in three days -- nothing. Not even a blip. Why would there be? It would not be that easy we gathered. So we were forced to decode the mysterious blinking lights on our router. Of course, the manual was in French, and I could not track down one single hit on Google referencing "setting up a XAVI X8822R+."
Ryan and I joke now, but we considered our struggles to acquire internet a gift. In fact, Maroc Telecom should consider a new advertising strategy:
Sign-up now for a 1-year subscription to the interweb, and get 2-weeks of French lessons free... as you attempt to set-up the interweb with our crack tech-support staff.

Then one day, the interweb came. I had finally decoded the blinking lights using an alien artifact I had uncovered in some Roman ruins nearby. The key was in opposites. Apparently, green on the XAVI means: “Le lien ADSL n’est pas prêt.” or “Sorry, no interwebs.” Red, on the other hand, signifies: “ADSL ON et PPP ON” or “Inerweb, go!” Let’s not try this with traffic lights.

And then it goeth (as in: it goeth away)
For awhile (two weeks max), Ryan and I were cruising in internet paradise. I was staying on top of emails, reading the news, downloading episodes of ‘The Office’ and ’24,’ and Skyping my family (especially my father, Michael, who has always dreamed about being included in one of my blog entries) and Blythe. We even stopped bumming internet off of our friends. Now we stopped by solely for the enjoyable conversation. Yes, yes. Life was good. That is, until the rains came.
With the rains, came static in our lines. And when the static cometh, the interweb goeth. No amount of pleading with Maroc Telecom could change our situation. For awhile, we tried to deal with it, thinking maybe, just maybe, some sort of thing would click at some sort of place critical to the internet infrastructure and our internet would marche -- to borrow from a French lesson -- once more.
So we waited. And waited. Kain, in Darija, meaning “there is,” and Mkainsh, meaning “there is not,” came to signify the status of our network connection. At one point, we even attempted a séance to call forth the internet. But we only conjured the specters of some Corsairs --think the real Capt. Jack Sparrow.
The Séance. Pictured here: Apple's Time Capsule. Thank you Mr. Jobs.

Sometimes, Ryan liked to joke. Or sometimes Ryan, the luddite, misinterpreted his connection status and would shout: “Kain, kain, kain! For the love of all that is good and beautiful in this world: KAIN!”
I did not appreciate this. There was no interweb. Mkainsh interweb. And there was no hope. Mkainsh hope.
Then one day, after the week of rain had subsided, I went to the roof, where I noticed something quite disconcerting. The line that carried our internet and phone connection had been spliced at various locations. At these splice points I noticed that whomever had spliced, had failed to weather-proof the lines. There, on our roof, lay bare and unprotected copper wires, green and cracked with oxidation.
Ryan, with an improved understanding of the French language, called Maroc Telecom that day. And within two days consisting of technician door tag, a not-so-chatty gentleman arrived at our door:
“L’oxydation,” he deduced grimly.
“Is there hope, sidi?” Ryan asked.
“Do you have scotch?” the technician replied.
We looked at him suspiciously. But then he began the operation with the white masking tape I handed him.
And cometh again
I travelled down to a section of the medina later that day. Ryan and I call it ‘Home Depot.’ I purchased ‘scotch électrique’ for 6 dirhams and redressed the wounds of our recovering patient.
Frankenstein. It's alive! It's alive!

Later that night, I sat in my bed watching ‘The Office.’ “After all of this,” I thought, “we have finally harnessed the power of the interweb galaxy. Alhamdulillah.”
"Mkainsh...."
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