Working Remotely from the Middle-East
One of my goals for the year had been to visit the middle-east, so I decided to put one and one together, packed my bags, and flew to Cairo.
Note: This is a fairly old article, but I’ve kept it around for posterity. You might enjoy my more recent article about working from the beach.
On my first day, it took a couple hours for me to get my mobile office set-up and situated :
- I found a delightful quiet little hotel in downtown Cairo for $45/night. Hotel Osiris
- I picked up a pay-as-you-go ‘holiday’ SIM card from Vodafone and inserted it into my unlocked GSM cellphone. I now have an egyptian telephone number, and can call the US for between 20c/min and 60c/min.
- I set up a Skype-In number, and forwarded it to my egyptian cellphone number.
- I forwarded my US home phone and cellphone to my Skype-In number. – Calls to my US landline and cell forward to skype and on to my egyptian cell number. No-one will even notice I’m gone. Unless, that is, they call me at 5pm which is 3am my time. Then I’ll be grumpy!
Does it work? On Tuesday evening (11pm Local time, 1pm Pacific) I fired up my laptop, plugged into the hotel router, called into my clients from my cellphone, and badda-bing, badda-boom, and I’m working…. just the same as in SF.
During the mornings and evening, I work on my laptop from my hotel, and in the afternoon I take off for a little walk around town to pick up the culture. I’ll head out to the pyramids at the weekend, but for now just getting around the traffic is good fun.
On to the beach
A week later….
I’m now in Dahab, working by the beach. I’ve been called into a few conference calls while here, and been meeting my deliverables, and so far so good. No-one even realizes where I am.
A couple weeks later…
My cover is blown. I arrived in Jerusalem today, and found an affordable hotel in the Arab quarter of the old city. It’s beautiful and the wifi works well. I had a call to present my work this evening at 6pm. I tested the connectivity with a friend, and it all went fine. Then at 6, I called into WebEx, made small talk, and then….. Alllahhhhhh-uuuu-akbar. There’s a mosque right next door, and sunset coincided with the call.
Well, that was embarrassing. We all had a good laugh, and I called back in 15mins later. Call went well. Clients are happy.
Now that my work’s done
Headed back to the US on Tuesday. That gives me five days to get to the root of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.