Event planner torture: The splendid city of Vienna (or Budapest, Paris, New Orleans, Brisbane ... you name the spot) awaits just outside your hotel room walls. You've got half a day to kill before you're off to the airport, but duty calls. Sightseeing is off the agenda--you need to hunker down with your laptop to answer e-mail messages and do some research for upcoming events.
How about a compromise? If you're feeling a little daring, do your work in a cybercafe. In Florence, sip an espresso at one of the 17 computers at Internet Train, a cybercafe just a block from the Duomo (www.fionline.it/internet_train). While in Paris, after a couple hours at Web Bar (www.webbar.fr), you might have time for a quick trip to the nearby Picasso Museum.
Details on these and 600 other cybercafes are packed into Cybercafes: A Worldwide Guide for Travelers by firstname.lastname@example.org. The small, inch-thick 334-page guide covers the globe, including Africa and the Middle East (with 42 cafes listed), Asia (85), Central and South America and the Caribbean (53), Europe (264), and North America (158). Each entry includes the number of on-site computers and whether printers--color or black and white--and scanners are available. There's also info on prices, hours, how to find the place, phone and fax numbers, as well as e-mail and Web site addresses.
It would be nice if the listings included whether or not English is spoken, since browsers in non-English-speaking countries will almost certainly not be in English, and cafes have varying systems for clocking your time online, which you'll need to understand. Author cyberkath does have advice on making your way around an Internet cafe, with tips on getting your e-mail from both POP (point of presence) and Web-based accounts. She also has a section of online resources for business travelers.
While the content is terrific overall, perhaps the most remarkable thing about the guide is its scope. It's a testament to the globalization of the Internet. Who knew there was a MilkyWay Internet Cafe in Johannesburg, South Africa; a Cafe Virtual in Santiago, Chile; Mark's Internet Center in Urumqi, China; or The Cyber Up Internet Cafe in Negril, Jamaica? The $14.95 guide can be ordered online from TeleAdapt, San Jose, Calif., www.teleadaptusa.com, (408) 965-1400.