Perhaps in the Americas, where there are more internet connections than you can shake a stick at, an internet cafe would be a shitty choice to get on the internet. I know, because I had a cozy ethernet LAN connection at Cornell. Now for my brief stay in Shanghai, I'm stuck with a pathetically slow dialup, which can barely access to American sites without timing out. As I speak, I'm going through a proxy server in Hong Kong in order to connect to E2.

In China, the internet cafe is a much better alternative, because they usually offer fairly decent connections (>ISDN, pretty good in China) at minimal prices. In addition, most internet cafes have LAN's set up for gamers to play multiplayer games. Not bad at all. I don't know why it's called a cafe, they don't even serve drinks.

Also, these are the only places where you can find people who really thirst for the internet. See A glimpse at the Chinese internet scene.