Monday, 19 October 2009

Communication Problems

Back in the North West of England autumn is already making progress: piles of leaves all around and trees turning interesting colours. We appeared to have taken the fine weather with us on our short visit, maybe not the warmth but at least the sunshine.

It would seem that the obras also followed us there. Last Monday morning I set out to catch the bus int
o town from the crossroads near our house, only to find road works in progress there. Then the driver of the bus I intended to catch decided to miss out the usual detour through the village centre because he could not get round the road works. Those of us at the bus stop watched him turn left and disappear!!

Between buses cancelled in Vigo because of flooded roads and drivers taking one-man decisions to change the route, I am clearly fated to have a bad time with public transport at the moment.

Having finally made it into town on a later bus which did manage to get around the road works a
nd collect its passengers, I discovered to my surprise that Christmas has arrived already. The shops do still have witch and ghost outfits for Hallowe’en (fair enough that’s only a couple of weeks away now) but they are also full of Christmas cards, Christmas wrapping paper and boxes mince pies on two for the price of one offers. I wasn’t really surprised at that but I WAS astounded to find that the streets were already festooned with Christmas decorations. Somehow I expect to get bonfire night out of the way first.

My other (not so) little moan about the UK is the relative lack of WIFI facilities around the town. In our haste to pack our bags and set off on our travels we managed to leave behind the one mobile phone which gives us an internet connection on the laptop. So there we were without internet, unable to check our email at intervals throughout the day, a very strange experience in this age of instant communication 24-7, as they say. We had to make use of visits to friends and family to use their internet connection.

When we arrived back in Vigo yesterday we expected to get onto the internet in our usual way, using our mobile dongle –Orange’s Internet Everywhere. No way, José. We just kept getting the message: No ha sido posible establecer conexión. So we phoned the Orange helpline, were passed from pillar to post in the usual fashion. You know the sort of thing: If you want to do this press 1, if you want to do that press 2, hold the line, don’t hang up, listen to this boring and repetitive music, ad infinitum.

Eventually this morning we went to the Orange shop and went through the whole procedure again but this time with a result.
It turned out that we had inadvertently, carelessly, thoughtlessly used our Orange dongle in Portugal. Well, it’s nearly the same country!! And it connected!! BUT it charged us a ridiculous amount of money per minute. The Orange people noticed this and decided it was possible our device had been stolen and used by someone else so they closed our connection.

Only after we had assured them it was not so AND had paid the extortionate amount of money did they reconnect us.
Fortunately it’s easier to find a cafe with WIFI in Spain and we weren’t obliged to go to Starbuck’s or MacDonald’s to check our email which is what happened in Manchester!!!

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