Thursday, December 16, 2010

Messages From Nowhere - Roaming Messages in Indonesia

Fogbound tea plantation on my way to Cetho Temple up Gunung Lawu (Mount Lawu).

For some reason, I find it hard to discard these automatic messages that come from local telecoms and networks during my travels. Like most countries, roaming services in Indonesia are being "shared" by local telecoms thus we'd get several welcomes from different companies. Fortunately, these messages are mere "welcome messages" or "infomercials" that don't charge a dime.

The same situation doesn't apply in India. Indian telecom services notoriously siphon off loads like a hungry vacuum - and rack up exorbitant charges from these unsolicited roaming messages that come aplenty while you're traveling in India. In fact, during my 2nd visit to India last year, I had my post-paid phone as well as my pre-paid phone, and despite not using my postpaid cell, I ended up footing an indecent amount at the end of my trip to the tune of almost PhP17,000 (more than $400). It is thus wise to avoid taking your post-paid phone with you. If you need to call, there are plenty of phone services everywhere. Or you can buy an Indian sim card - though you'd have to "apply" for this. (You fill out a form, submit an ID photo and show your passport. In 4-5 hours, you have your Indian sim.)

I have so far learned not to take my post-paid phone with me during my travels. It was horrible racking up that much for calls I never made! I never call. I text instead, and when I do so, I use my pre-paid which has loads enough to cover more than my whole travel duration. India is just relentless in overcharging in their roaming services.

For my Indonesian trip, there's been several of these messages that come off almost twice a day, but since they're "free", I don't mind getting them. There have been 4 networks rotating so far: Telkomsel, XL, AXIS and INDOSAT.

Here are some of these messages:

From 62811 (Telkomsel) : "Welcome to Indonesia! Dial 100 for your Voice Mail, the same way as you do in the Philippines. Have a pleasant stay with Telkomsel."

From AXIS: "Thank you for choosing AXIS during your stay in Indonesia. We hope you enjoyed using our great quality services and we look forward to your next visit."

Waiting for cleansing. During full moons, the Hindus in Bali partake on a bathing ceremony to cleans their soul from worldly impurities. I wonder if Liz Gilbert did so herself. Tirta Empul, Bali

From AXIS: "AXIS welcomes you to Indonesia! Enjoy the best 3G services including data access and Blackberry service with AXIS. To call home, simply dial + . Have a pleasant stay with AXIS. Dial 838 for AXIS customer care."

Father and child at the mythical beach in Parangtritis.

From INDOSAT: "Dear Smart customer, welcome to Indonesia. Thank you for choosing Indosat. Dial 001 or 008 for international calls."

Heading towards Prambanan temples.

From XL: "XL provides an automatic local number +6281905798963. Roam Roam in XL to enjoy free Receiving CALLS and SMS in your XL local number. For more information, call +622157959817."


From INDOSAT: "Stay in Indosat network and enjoy special discount in many merchants. Simply show INDOSAT/MATRIX sign in your phone and this SMS. Info:"

These "voices" join you in your solitude at unexpected times. I like the randomness of their "appearances" - seemingly reminding one that no one is too far removed from his origin.

This is the Eye in the Sky.

Cetho Temple's ill maintained bas relief.

Jumog Waterfall

Devotion of the faithful, Bali.

Sukuh Temple, Berjo Village, Karanganyar Regency

Floating Pavilion, Klungkung

A relaxing corner at the Delta Garden Hotel, Yogyakarta.

Cafe Java along Jalan Prawirotaman I in Yogyakarta.

Statue in Cakra, Solo


Siddhartha Joshi said...

interesting story built with text masgs, images...

eye in the sky said...

Thanks, Sidd. :->