Mobile Phones

    I’m back! I’ve been in India for the past nearly three weeks so it’s been quite quiet, thanks Richard for the Valentine’s post.

    Well it’s nice to be back, good to eat decent seafood and be back at tkd. The salinger drivers at the bus station all know me now, so they didn’t even bother me when I arrived back, didn’t even have to bargain :)

    I was thinking, just took my friend to get a sim card for her mobile phone. For those who don’t know how that works here, let me explain.

    You can have a sim card that you can use within Shantou City (this means also ‘boroughs’ like Jieyang and Chenghai), and you pay to make calls but not to receive them. Instead you pay about 7rmb a month. Or you can have a sim card that you can use anywhere in China (not Taiwan or Hong Kong), and you pay to receive AND make calls. Of course on both sim cards you can call to anywhere on the mainland and also receive text messages from abroad.

    They are both pay-as-you-go. Every time you need to top up, go to the booths that sell magazines, usally they top up cards for 50 or 100rmb. They’ll also top your phone up for you if you look helples, but it’s not actually difficult. After you dial the first number, press 2 and the language changes to English.

    You can also get contract phones but I’ve no idea how they work and they seem to cost my friends a lot of money. The two kinds of cards I just talked about are both China Mobile cards. The local one is called a DaZhong(大众) card.

    We get a lot of junk text messages so ignore anything in Chinese if you can’t read it. Also, there are some ‘businesses’ that send messages and if you reply, it costs you a lot of money. Worse are the people that call you but hang up before you answer. When you ring them back, it’s an unbelievably high rate, I mean like 50rmb for a few seconds. So if you don’t know the number, I suggest you don’t ring back.

    And in case you’re confused that everyone in Shantou seems to have two phones, that’s because one will be a XiaoLingTong(小玲通) phone. These are phones without sim cards at all. You can only use them in Shantou City and they’re extremely cheap, but the reception is quite rubbish. People use them mainly for local phone calls. I don’t know if you can call outside the area with it.

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