Weekend on La Gomera 2 – Stepping Back in Time

Posted: March 24, 2010 in Life, Spain, Travel
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Searching for WiFi in San Sebastian

Although there had been WiFi on the ferry, the signal was so weak that we hadn’t managed to complete all the things we needed to do before we headed into the wilds (a.k.a our friend’s house on the edge of the rainforest – a place where broadband is still a stranger). There was one email that we really needed to reply to, so after a round of hugs and kisses with Jo who was waiting with her trusty Berlingo to meet us we headed into San Sebastian to find a café with WiFi access.

Ha, ha, bloody ha.

Jo’s a bit of a Luddite and has pretty much ignored the internet revolution, so didn’t know where, or if there was WiFi in town. However, she thought the ‘studenty’ places were worth a try. First stop was the bar El Rincón de la Poeta which at least had a sign saying it had internet.

“Have you got WiFi?”
I asked the barman. He shook his head and smiled.

“Do you know anywhere that might have WiFi?”
Jo asked.

All the heads in the bar turned our way and the bar’s clientele stared for a second at what was clearly los ingeleses locos, before they all burst out laughing as though she’d just recounted a hilarious joke.

The barman spread his arms wide, smiled and gave a reply that said it all.

“In San Sebastian??????”

We told ourselves that he probably wouldn’t have known anyway and carried on with our mission. A few yards further on from the bar we reached the town’s tourist office. If anyone was going to know, surely they would. We popped inside and asked the girl the same question we’d asked the barman…and do you know what her reaction was? She laughed…a lot.
To be fair, when she stopped laughing she did come up with a few suggestions, none of which turned out to have access. We did find one place which had a WiFi sign, but it was shut…for good.

In the end we had to admit defeat. There are plenty of paces in San Sebastian which still advertised good, old fashioned paid internet access. It was clear that the idea of customers having free internet when they were still able to get people to pay for it was too radical a concept for the bar owners in San Sebastian.

We grabbed a seat at an internet café/bar in the main plaza and ordered some beer and bocadillos and spent 50 cents for fifteen minutes internet time to complete what we wanted to do. It was more annoying than anything else. Work completed, we bit into our bocadillos and made friends with a cool glass of dorado.

“I can’t believe that La Gomera’s capital town doesn’t have WiFi in this day and age?” I grumbled through a mouthful of Spanish tortilla in a baguette (a great carb hit).

“It’s what makes the place so charming,” Jo countered.

That’s one point of view I suppose. Another could be that it’s what makes it seem backward and why Tinerfeños make jokes about it.

I knew from the notebook that there were WiFi zones all around us; they just didn’t want to give it away free. One day the penny will drop.


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