(other than a mountain bike, of course)
I work for a cellphone company. Well, sort of.
My own cell phone is pretty basic: way back when i got it, i wanted to make and receive calls and SMSes. For everything else there'd always be Internet Cafes. So i went for the cheapest phone on the list and bought a cool pair of trail running shoes as reward.
Anyway .... so I have this basic phone that can't blog. Or take pictures. Or calculate total check-in luggage weights. Or check email. Or check if the bike's seat is level. Or even make sound clips.
Then, for some or other reason some people at work, including my boss, thought it was really cool that i go on this adventure to go herd yaks. So he organised THE COOLEST cellphone for me to allow me to access the Internet while i'm away - a Nokia E72.
So I inserted my Sim card, switched it on - and i'm connected to the world. Yes, sure it can make calls and send smses - all the boring stuff that you'd want a phone to do.
- Internet was SO easy! I used the built-in application, but then downloaded OperaMini, and it is so intuitive! Gmail, Facebook, my blog, the hub - everything available right there! (Yes Yes i know - other phones can do this too, and has been doing it for years - but this is so cool!) ... and it's using so little interwebs packets!
- It has Outlook-functions like meetings and work-stuff ... or play-stuffs - i've listed flight details and times on there, just in case i forget. And the to-do-list ... which currently tells me that i have to go get a vit B injection (to try get rid of the cold), see a travel clinic for a typhoid injection, arrange passport photos, organise how i get to the airport next wednesday, and go fetch the hardtail from the bikeshop tomorrow. I haven't set up the mail function yet - don't want work-mail to be spamming me when i'm cycling in snow, and haven't tried connecting it to gmail yet.
- It has a mini-Office, with a word processor and a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet navigation is very intuitive. I've compiled my packing list, logged the weights of all the items, and calculated the total weight on there. Haven't figured out how to copy that spreadsheet over to my machine yet.
- GPS. I've downloaded Sportstracker, which gives me an accurate summary of my workout.
- Other non-cellphone-related stuff, like a dictionary (check spelling, hear pronunciation, and translates, once you've downloaded the foreign languages). There's a unit converter to convert US Dollars to Chinese yuan, but also feet to meters and Fahrenheit to degrees Celsius. There's a pdf reader so I can load all my travel docs up here. There's even a 'scanner' (the camera) with OCR software - Am gonna 'scan' my passport in, then i don't have to carry paper photocopies around.
- Oh, yes, it's got a camera - as a backup for the big camera that i'm taking - and also if there's some really cool stuff that i want to blog right away :) A pretty good lens, i've experimented ant the pictures are much better than those taken by the waterproof adventure-panasonic. Can't use it where i can use the panasonic, though.
- The battery life is a cool 12 days, so i should be able to go through the whole trip without recharging - if i use it only for emails and interwebs, and switch it off while i cycle. The GPS chows batteries, though.
- The coolest thing on this phone is the alarm - you turn the phone around to snooze it.
It probably does what all smartphones do .... but i'm very impressed and will certainly get my own smartphone when i'm back.
It doesn't have a spirit level.
I'm serious - a previous phone (the one that was stolen at a Sabie Xperience years ago) had a miniature spirit level in - you were supposed to callibrate the compass with it, but i've never used the compass - it was very handy to check if the bike's seat is level, though.
Mohan (who organises the tour) says i'd be able to buy pay-as-you-go simcards in Nepal and in Lhasa. Reception is not great, but it works.
..... now i just need to start working on stories of how a yak ate the phone in Kathmandu just before our flight back to South Africa ...