At Bahrain's Internet Cafe, U.S. news is just a click away

BAHRAIN—Hungry for news from home after spending time at sea, Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason Lindsey pages through the Dallas Morning News at the Navy Central Command headquarters compound here.

Lindsey is not reading a week-old newspaper delivered by mail but rather today's news via the World Wide Web at the booming Internet Cafe set up by the Navy's Morale, Welfare and Recreation Department.

Lindsey, a Texas native, said he uses the terminals at the Internet Cafe to keep up with sports news back home and to correspond by e-mail with his wife.

"I have a Hotmail account, and my wife uses America Online," said Lindsey, who called the $5-an-hour rate at the Internet Cafe a deal compared with long-distance phone calls.

Sitting next to Lindsey, Petty Officer 3rd Class Ron Frank scanned his Hotmail account and said the service at the Internet Cafe was far better than he has aboard his ship. Frank is stationed aboard the amphibious ship U.S.S. Dubuque, which lacks the satellite systems of larger amphibious ships operating in the Persian Gulf and so the crew does not have individual e-mail accounts, Frank explained.

Asked if any sailors in the Navy of the late 1990s bother to write old-fashioned letters, Frank said he doubted it, calling regular mail "just too slow."

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