Wednesday, June 20, 2012
This past winter we were hiking (I was stumbling, actually) down Kelimutu volcano on the island of Flores in Indonesia. At one point, there was the choice of crossing a thin bamboo bridge over fast-moving water or wading across that same fast-moving water. For reasons that I will write about in another post, I chose the wading. It was only when I was safely back in our guesthouse in Moni, a half-hour later, that I realized I had been carrying my Iphone in the moist thigh pocket of my cargo pants.
The phone was damp. I dried it. Blew on it. Then I went to turn it on (apparently, this is the worst thing to do), and was horrified to see that the screen stayed black, it wasn’t coming on. Bummer! There was no internet in Moni so I couldn’t send out an advice-seeking SOS. I figured the least bad course of action was to put the phone out in the hot tropical sun to dry, turning every few minutes so it wouldn’t melt like an electronic chocolate bar. Every few hours, I would try turning it on, with no result.
The next morning, still no iphone bonheur. I get on a bemo (local minibus) to our next destination (Mauméré). I got an uncommonly good seat for a change, sitting next to the driver. Because there is no A/C on these buses, my window was fully open and I couldn’t think of a better way to pass the time than to hold my iphone out in the hot wind to get a modest hairdryer effect. But truth be told, I had the awful feeling that I was like a doctor doing CPR on a patient that wasn’t going to wake up. (This last sentence suggests that I place an equal value on my iphone as I do on a human life. This is simply not true.)
After an hour or so of bus breeze drying time, still no luck. At one point, our driver, who only spoke the language he was supposed to speak but which I didn’t, looked at me inquisitively. I gestured that my phone was kaput and that this made me sad, even going so far as to demonstrate how nothing happened then I pressed the on button. And that was the moment that my Iphone woke up! I giggled with joy. The driver laughed. Co-conspirators. The Gods and busdrivers of Kelimutu were with me! Sort of.
For the next 3 weeks travelling around Indonesia, my phone would stay on for about 5 minutes at a time, then suddenly reboot for 2-3 minutes. Then be usable for 5 minutes again. It would charge but the % of charge would vary from one second to the next, never going above 61%, even after an overnight charge. It would hold the charge for anywhere from 2 hours to a full day. This was obviously better then nothing. I could take photos and receive emails if and when there was internet available.
When I got back home, I upgraded the software from IOS 4.3 or something to 5.1. Now, 4 months on, the device works a charm. Hah!