January 2010 Archives

Frostiness is back...

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zuganzeige_zuerichairport.JPGI am back after two weeks in Cameroon. At Zurich Airport "my" town was already shown at the display auf the airport train station - telling me that the frostiness is back.

It is snowing, people are silent, everybody looks down. They don't talk to each other, the white faces are showing a mix between frustration, boredom and unhappiness.
Ok, there are no thieves trying to aggress me, there's no ague (Malaria), there's no chaotic traffic and no "motivation money" or boodle as well - but there isn't a warm family, no beautiful women with their special smile and no lust for life either. Not to mention the extraordinarial food which we substitute here by industrial products.

I thought this time it will be easy - not as last year when I returned from Ivory Coast - but I was proved wrong. It's even tougher. I am back in frostiness - where all seems to pe perfect, where everybody's telling to me that I should be lucky because I am in Europe and I have all I need. But that's not true, I am cold. Frostiness is back.

Pascal

CFA Franc != CFA Franc !

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1 Euro (EUR) has the value of 655,957 Francs CFA (XAF). This conversion rate is fixed.

The banknotes however differ:

Banknotes in central african states like Cameroon are issued by the banque des états de l'afrique centrale (BEAC).

The ones used in western african states like Ivory Coast are issued by the banque centrale des états de l'afrique de l'ouest (BCEAO).

It won't work to buy something in a central african CFA state with western states CFA money and vice-versa.

Orange Internet in Cameroon ...

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antennewimax.jpg
Many internet connections in Cameroon are done via Wimax as there are not many fixed lines available - the structure of the cities are not made for that. Communication is done mostly wireless - as in our case.

Orange offers a "high bandwidth" connection with 512 kbit/sec downlink and 128 kbit/sec uplink for 75000 CFA francs per month (approx 100 euros).


Orange, Cameroon and the Livebox...

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liveboxflash1.jpgliveboxflash2.jpgliveboxflash3.jpg

In Cameroon Orange (France Télécom) offers a "high speed" connection (with 512 kbit/sec download rate and 128 kbit upload) for 75000 CFA francs per month (approx 100 euros!).

A "Livebox" device has to be bought separately which is in fact a simple NAT/WLAN/DSL/Ethernet router. The Wimax antenna (which forms the primary internet interface) is connected to the ethernet WAN port - yes you heard right, here internet connections are done via Wimax - there are nearly no fixed lines at all in most of the parts of the country).

Turning the livebox on it flashes. I managed to take photographs of it (see above, click on the images to get bigger ones).

The Wimax connections works but roundtrip latency is between 350-400ms which is very high and noticeable. The livebox itselfs crashes often - once a day for sure :(

More on this tomorrow!

I'm in Cameroon until Jan 30th

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so answers to your questions will be delayed.

Pascal

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Pascal Gienger
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