Top Coffee Shops in America With Wi-Fi Access

What is it about college students and telecommuters? If you follow them they most assuredly will lead the way to a local coffee shop with Wi-Fi access, which is usually free. There seems to be something about coffee shops that make one’s mobile experience just that much better. Could it be that coffee and computer work goes hand in hand?

Before we go any further, I do want to point out the fact that there IS a distinct difference between free and paid Wi-Fi services. You know the adage, “you get what you paid for?”

Well, the same is true for wireless internet services. Free usually means weak signal and slow pathetically upload and download times. Going the paid route is an excellent option. You can pay as you go or subscribe to hot-spot service providers to use as needed.

Thousands of establishments utilize AT&T as their hotspot provider. As of 2009 AT&T offered customers Wi-Fi access through any one of it’s over 20,000 hotspots. That’s a lot of hotspots!

Combined with the number of coffee shops, pancake houses, book stores and printing shops offering Wi-Fi, whether free or paid, is in the hundreds of thousands. Amazing, especially considering the relatively young age of the technology. Did you know that wireless internet service was invented in 1992 by Australian scientists?

But wait; do you know who America’s largest provider of Wi-Fi is? McDonald’s – and they offer it for free! McDonald’s offers 11,000 locations. Want to venture to guess the service provider? Yep, you guessed it: AT&T.

Recently, Starbucks took a note from the pages of McDonald’s success and started offering their Wi-Fi access for free. Not only that, but they also took off the 2-hour time limit users balked at for quite some time. Other coffee shops quickly followed suit. The following is a list of a few national coffee shops offering free Wi-Fi services, with the customary minimal purchase, of course. (Even if you do not need anything, making a customary purchase is just polite, considering the space and resources you are taking. Purchasing a bottle of water and taking it with you is just one suggestion.)

McDonald’s
Cost: Free
Provider: AT&T
Setup: No Account Needed

Starbucks
Cost: Free
Provider: AT&T
Setup: No Account Needed

Barnes and Noble
Cost: Free
Provider: AT&T
Setup: No Account Needed

Borders
Cost: Free
Provider: Verizon
Setup: Account Needed

Panera Bread
Cost: Free
Provider: Unsure
Setup: Unsure

Shopping In Egypt – A Rough Survival Guide

If you hate shopping… you’re really going to hate shopping in Egypt. Forget window browsing, because it doesn’t exist there. The hard sell is one way of looking at it; a fully interactive shopping experience is another.

That bazaar magic is of course, the art of haggling, and depending on what type of person you are it will either send you to orgasmic heights of shopping or scare your wallet so far down your trousers that you’ll find it hard to use that wad of notes as currency again.

I for one am far too genial to haggle effectively, but my wife has no such qualms and would happily barter, procrastinate and emotionally manipulate sellers until we walked away with a treasure trove of bargains for the price other people were paying for a postcard. This may sound awful, but I swear, they love to haggle in Egypt. An Egyptian street vendor who doesn’t haggle is like the American shop assistant who doesn’t say ‘have a nice day’ or the British clerk who forgets to scowl. Am I being stereotypical? Sure I am. But where do stereotypes come from? Well, in the case of haggling, they come from Egypt. And who better to haggle with than the ruthless capitalist tourists of the west?

A vast range of goods are available from Egypt, the most important of these being; trinkets based upon ancient monuments, spices (although these are not always what they appear to be), gold and cotton. All of these items are available at a price that is never entirely clear to you. You will not find a price tag and if you ask how much it is you will generally be given a price that is twice what you will end up paying for it… if you haggle that is. Shopping in Egypt is an art, a delicate multistage process that can culminate in extreme shopping satisfaction or a brain malfunction.

The first thing you must do when you enter a shop or approach a vendor in Egypt is to not act surprised when they correctly guess your nationality. You stick out like a sore thumb and there have been countless droves before you who’ve been drawn into parting with a small fortune based on innocent conversational starters like, ‘lovely people… (insert nationality)… not like the (insert nationality that is not your own)… I no like them.’ Now, I’m not suggesting that you clam up and don’t communicate… far from it. The Egyptian people are warm and welcoming and I would strongly recommend that you enjoy these conversations. Just be aware that your custom is wooed like a gentleman of court would a lady of fashion; the most charming, can often be the most persuasive. You must constantly remind yourself that you are not the best of friends… you are engaged in a preamble to a sale.

One of the nice things about shopping in Egypt is that you will be offered a cup of Hibiscus tea almost everywhere you go. This thoroughly refreshing blend is an acquired taste but you will at least be able to tell everyone back home that you ‘made like the locals’ and had tea with a nice Egyptian man. The tea is doubly pleasant considering that temperatures further south in Egypt regularly top 40 degrees centigrade. Just remember… all that tea must go somewhere. If you plan to make a toilet stop whilst shopping in Egypt, be sure that you have some tissues to hand or a few notes of the local currency to pay for toilet roll from another enterprising native. Is nothing free in this world?

Back to shopping… and if you are interested in an item, don’t make out that you are. This may sound obvious, but pulling off indifference is harder than it sounds. Once you’ve mastered sounding indifferent, you’re halfway to being a successful haggler. A successfully indifferent face will lead to a cascade of price drops… but when to stop?

When you hear them say ‘I have kids to feed’ you know you’re getting a reasonably good deal. It’s like a game of poker in many respects, don’t show your hand too early or you’ll lose out. Which brings me to another important point… don’t produce a wallet ripe with notes. Not only is it a risk (pickpockets are common in busy markets) you risk insulting the vendor you’ve haggled down to the bone.

It’s well worth noting that in the tourist hot spots along the Nile, particularly in the official government shops, goods are generally a lot more expensive than in Red Sea resorts. If you’re planning a trip to the Red Sea coast, many if not all of the goods (including those associated with ancient Egypt) are available in outlets there. In El Gouna for instance you will find things such as jewelry and perfumes are available at a fraction of the cost you might pay in Luxor or Cairo.

At the end of the day though, a good purchase is something that you want at a price that you believe is fair. Haggle politely, haggle responsibly and you may find shopping in Egypt an experience money can’t buy. You can’t haggle for that.

Shopping For Food in Moab, UT

When you are traveling to Moab in the US State of Utah you will be far away from any major city. If you are going to visit Arches National Park and Canyon Lands National Park you will need at least 2 days to have plenty of time. While you can have breakfast at your hotel and go out for dinner to one of the restaurants at night, for during the day you will need some food and definitely lots of water – especially during Summer time. Temperatures easily reach mid-90’s or low 100’s during summer and it is essential to bring enough water for drinking to stay hydrated.

If you do not know what to expect, consider a water intake of 50% to 100% more than what you would usually drink – as a minimum. Staying hydrated in this dry desert climate is very important. You can bring bottled water from home if arriving by car, but space in your vehicle + weight and extra gasoline usage needs to be considered. So, most visitors end up having to buy some food and drink in one of the stores in Moab. One thing to expect is higher prices for all the goods you might have to buy.

If you do not know where to shop in Moab, read on. There is a small “City Market” supermarket right along Main Street. The store is not that easy to spot, but you will find it on the East side of main street (your left if going south on Main Street). The store has a Starbucks Coffee place and a small Pharmacy, too. The selection of products is good in my opinion, but of course you have less choice compared to a supermarket in a bigger metropolitan area. But if you need to buy food or water this is one of the most reasonable priced stores in town. As a matter of fact, you will find many locals that shop at the City Market in Moab. That is usually an indicator that a store is one of the better options when being in a tourist place like Moab. You also do not have to find a liquor store if you want to buy some beer for the night to cool down and relax. The City Market supermarket in Moab offers a small, but solid selection of different kind of beers – including some local brands.

Conclusion: When buying food in Moab, the City Market Supermarket is a good choice. Pricing is affordable considering where you are + the overall selection of products is good (again, considering where you are).