Bida si Brosia

by Ka Edong on October 18, 2005

I took Brosia, my SmartPhone, to South Africa. Brosia kept me company in a variety of ways.

• E-mail. Brosia let me moblog by drafting e-mails, articles, poems or just plain take notes of names, places, expenses etc. One Swazi young man approached and asked me why I kept typing on my phone. He thought I was sending so many SMSs. I explained that I was just typing poems.
• Ice Breaker. Brosia was a good icebreaker for conversations with the locals or with fellow travelers. The HTC Tanager (Brosia’s model name) isn’t a common phone in South Africa. Two-year-old Brosia still is a head turner. Tweeet twiiiw!
• Locator. When I tell some locals that I am from the Philippines, I often get a blank stare. I have to add that the Philippines is in Asia, “South of Hong Kong and China, above Indonesia, to the right side of Malaysia”. I sometimes go further and whip out Brosia to show them the world map through my cellphone. I would start with showing them where South Africa is, and then scroll to the right to India, then further right to Malaysia and then show them the Philippines relative to Australia and China. Getting graphic with Brosia is a way cool way to show them where the Philippines is.
• Music. One evening, there were a handful of us travelers at the lounge area of our backpacker’s hostel. On one of the lulls in the conversation, I put on some Bob Marley music through Brosia. The speakers were good enough to fill the room and people sang and bobbed their heads to the beat of classic reggae.
• Snapshooting. There were times that my brother’s camera bogged down. I had to make do with Brosia’s detachable camera. It doesn’t do a great job in the indoors. But it’s enough for outdoor snapshooting.
• Games. Although I didn’t use this often, I had a couple of games (FreeBubbles and DukWite) to keep my boredom at bay in extreme situations.
• SMS. Almost forgot, I used Brosia for SMS, too. I did receive some SMSs from Philippine contacts and some missed call alerts too. Receiving SMS while roaming is free. I didn’t receive all messages, though. I did not reply, it’s too expensive for me. I didn’t take or make calls either, too expensive. (Calls are charged twice, once for the Philippine telco, another for the roaming telco partner + some currency conversions etc.) When I urgently had to make an international call, I chose to borrow a local cellphone and just bought some airtime (cellphone load). It turns out cheaper, just charged once by the local telco.
• Audio Recording. Not everybody carries around an audio recorder in their pocket. I do, through Brosia! My favorite souvenir from my trip to Swaziland is an audio recording of a local song “Sengyahamba”. Three young men sang this song for me at a ranch one drizzly afternoon. By recording the song, Brosia allows me to remember better and allows me to share the experience. Priceless.

Tomorrow, I share the story of the “Sengyahamba” song. You’ll be able to download the audio recording of the song.

ka edong

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