Huawei, the problem isn't the phones

Huawei Phones

The problem isn’t the phones


The problem with Huawei isn't the phones, they are awesome, I loved my Mate 8 and still love my Mate 9 but the problem is service. I travel a lot for work and unlike Samsung and Apple who have service centers in all corners of the globe it is extremely hard to get service for Huawei in most places in the world and even in many States in the US. It is a sad disappointment for me because I actually really like the devices but I probably won't buy another because when things do go wrong there just isn't any service. I'm currently working in Hanoi and their is a service center here but they told me they won't service my Mate 9 because they don't sell that specific model in Vietnam. Super lame. The girl in the shop actually told me to fly to Taiwan to get service. That was her actual suggestion. Even after I offered to pay for the shipment of the needed parts and service from China to Vietnam, (literal neighbors), she still said she wouldn't help and I should fly to Taiwan or Hong Kong. For that cost I can just buy a new phone, likely not a Huawei, unfortunately.

It is doubly unfortunate that Huawei can’t figure out the service side of things because they really do make great phones. My present struggles with Huawei service do bring back memories of poor service from Huawei not long after I bought my Mate 9. It was a little over a year ago and after buying the phone I wanted to switch all my household chargers over to USB 3 and get a nice case for my brand new thousand-dollar phone. The problem was and still is, because Huawei doesn’t have many of their own stores and in Taipei where I bought the phone they have exactly zero of their own stores. At the time of buying the phone Huawei didn’t even have an online store where you could buy accessories for the phone. You could buy the phone through one of their local partners but you couldn’t buy anything from them in a store or even online. I thought it was pretty weak because I have a couple of online stores myself and I know how easy they are to set up. So I was pretty disappointed that a billion dollar company couldn’t figure out how to create a couple of jobs at the same time as improving the customer experience surrounding their products. Here we are 14 months down the road and it seems the company still hasn’t figured out how to solve these really minor issues. At a time when they are spending millions of dollars on marketing trying to penetrate the US market it seems od to me to continue to neglect the other areas of customer experience that could help foster strong brand loyalty. 

I believe this service issue is a greater oversight than the company is capable of recognizing at present. The customers that will buy the high end versions of their phones are precisely the customers that will find themselves in need of service when away from their home country. People with higher salaries travel more and have a higher likelihood of have international jobs that like me need to travel for work. The issue doesn't even require a heavy-handed solution , an internal memo directing device staff to ensure service to all huawei customers would alleviate a high percentage of the issue. With the addition of an online store that ships anywhere in the world would require about 3 additional staff for a global portal. A small price to pay to ensure the level of service expected . 

Come on Huawei, you can do better. 

Also worth noting, there is little to no secondary market for Huawei phones. So after you've had the phone for a year you probably want to upgrade but you will likely struggle to extract any value from your year old Huawei. With other brands you could easily extract half the value of a new device by selling it in a secondary market. But with Huawei you'll be out of pocket the full retail price of the phone every year.  It's a shame. 

Update: Feb 10 2018

I contacted the head office of Huawei in China, and corresponded with them in Chinese to ensure no misunderstandings, the answer was the same. In order to get service on your Huawei device you need to return the phone to the same place you bought it. Even though there is a Huawei service center in my current city they won't repair my phone. Frustrating and very difficult to understand the thinking behind this customer service strategy. 

Article by

Paul Morgan

ballistichydrant@gmail.com

www.ballistichydrant.com

Best place to study Chinese

So First things first What do I mean when I say Chinese? I want to clear up a misconception straight out of the gate. I have lived in Asia for 15 years and have been studying Chinese the whole time either formally or on my own. And everywhere in Asia when I say I can speak Chinese everyone knows that I am talking about Mandarin. It is only in western countries that people are confused about what Chinese is. Certainly there are a ton of dialects in China and the surrounding areas and many of these dialects can be written with regular old Chinese characters but they sound completely different. And in today's world there is really only one Chinese that matters and that of course is Mandarin. The next most popular dialect is Cantonese. Even though Cantonese is widely spoken especially in the south and around Hong Kong it is not really much use because most business people that you meet that grew up speaking Cantonese also grew up speaking English so you don't need to spend ten years learning a language that you will basically never need. If you grew up with Cantonese parents then by all means learn to speak it. But the other thing about Cantonese is that it is tonally much more complex than Mandarin so it is that much harder to learn and again you won't ever need it. Additionally for clarity in my travels around Asia and China I have met exactly one western guy that had a good grasp of both Mandarin and Cantonese, but I have met tons and tons of westerners that have learned to speak Mandarin quite well.

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Best Places to Visit in Myanmar

If you love touristy, commercialized super contrived and straight up fake places then look elsewhere. This is a list of places that I loved in Myanmar. I like small villages, learning about local style, culture, food, and lifestyle. I embrace the struggle that comes form being surrounded by people who don't speak any of my languages. If you also enjoy these kinds of things then read on. But, if you are into the more normal and comfortable path of a tourist then look at other lists or skip to the bottom of my list where it describes places to not go.

GWA - My number one pic is for sere GWA.  I went to Ngapoli which is a few hours from Gwa and booked a bus from Ngapoli to GWA. At the bus station I was asked by the booking agent why I wanted to go to GWA. He said, "Nobody goes to GWA, not even we". I replied that was precisely why I wanted to go to GWA. There are only 2 guest houses in GAW and they have the same name but not the same owner or management. One is a total dump without even a hint of charm and the other is the literal definition of charming and is located at the beach. Hard to find though as it is on a road that does not exist on google maps because a dirt road turns into a cow pasture that turns into a goat path which leads to this little beach-side dormitory style hotel. The owner operator has ducks, chickens, cows, goats and pigs and speaks exactly 3 words of English. He is however very kind and very patient. We used hand gestures to communicate. Mostly I just handed him money and he was happy. He offered me food and help a plenty, a lovely man. His little beach spot is rustic and gritty and your room will likely have the company of jungle critters as you are in the jungle, literally. I had some pretty big spiders in my room but I left them alone to eat the mosquitoes and other smaller more irritating bugs. I have found that jungle spiders are mostly interested in insects and don't much care about you as long as you give them space. The beach at Gwa is desolate and beautiful. You will likely see a few local kids playing here and a few fishermen and women hauling in nets full of Andaman sea tuna and the like. You can rent a busted old scooter in the main area of little town and ride it northward about 30-40 klicks. Sunset along this stretch of road is spectacular and there are several small beach villages with no tourists or systems for dealing with tourists. But, in these lovely little villages you can meet locals and eat some very local style Myanmar curry and fish. The road winds along the seaside and drifts up over small mountains. Amazing views and air. It is a busted old road and dodgy as... and your rented bike will likely feel like it is going to fall apart. But a lovely stretch of road and a lovely adventure

Pyay is a town on the way to the sea and is otherwise nowhere and nothing. This middle of nowhere towny village is wonderful because it is nowhere and has nothing of interest. These aspects keep the tourist from having any interest in going here. Because of this the town remains straight up Myanmar. Lovely people, food, and style. There is a really historic old Pagoda here as there are in most places in Myanmar but this one has an incredible view. There are few places to stay so that can be an issue if other people are passing through town. My favorite two places in Pyay are the night market which is tiny as night markets go but is quaint and the people here are very nice. It has a very local feeling. Nobody spoke English that we met in this town. The other place I really enjoyed was the morning market. Dirty, and gritty and in places kind of gross, but that is the way I like my morning markets.If you thought you weren't going to get an upset stomach in Myanmar you can just go visit this little market and you'll quickly understand why your tummy is upset all the time. Best advice ever while in Myanmar, stick with a vegetable only diet while in country and you'll be better off. 

Hpa An is out of the way for sure but is rich with amazing places to check out. The morning market and night market in Hpa-an are amazing. In addition to these local delights there are caves, temples, waterfalls, under-water temples, treacherous climbs, vistas and swimming holes a plenty in Hpa-an . This place is a treat but it always rains, even when it is dry season elsewhere it is likely raining in Hpa-an. But never mind because this place is really a treat. Rent a bike and go out to the sunken monastery hot spring or go on a tour of the many tempe deep inside mountain caves. Te one downside in Hpa-an is that there is little to no internet here. even if your hotel says they have WiFi, they very likely do not have internet. So be prepared for that. I think it is just a little too remote and the rain might play a role in why they haven't yet developed internet backbone here. 

Maybe my favorite place in Myanmar was Myawaddy . This town is growing so quickly and was so recently destroyed by violence and civil war that almost everything here is being built anew from the jungle and in the jungle. A city of the jungle surrounded in green. The morning markets of Myawaddy are amazing and full of the most interesting things I saw in Myanmar. Wonderful people and food and fresh clean mountain air. As of this writing October 2017 Myawaddy has been designated as special economic zone and will soon be a manufacturing center for both Myanmar and thailand. So, if you want to experince this town as I am describing it you will need to hurry. Within a few years this will be a much larger much dirtier place. get over there and enjoy it. 

Here is quick list of places that can be skipped.

Inle Lake, Began, Mandalay All three of these places are the most famous destinations and were the least interesting because they were either super commercialized for tourism and had little authenticity or were just a boring city or as in Began just a really dusty uncomfortable environment with little of anything of interest except for the many many many travelers themselves. If you are limited in time for your visit to Myanmar I would highly recommend not wasting time in these places or wasting time traveling to these places.

I met a few travelers that didn't have fun in Yangon but I did. It was dirty and gritty and often gross as... but I loved it and I'd go back in a heartbeat because it is real and has a lot of reality to observe and participate in. 

Thanks for your support

Beac at Gwa

Beac at Gwa

fishing from the brigde 30klicks north of GWA

fishing from the brigde 30klicks north of GWA

Sunset at Pyay

Sunset at Pyay

Sunset at the edge of civilization Hpa-An

Sunset at the edge of civilization Hpa-An

Durian Farmers in Myawaddy

Durian Farmers in Myawaddy

Sunset at the sunken temple at Hpa-an

Sunset at the sunken temple at Hpa-an

Morning Market at Myawaddy

Morning Market at Myawaddy