I think I’ve recovered enough from my journey to finally write an update. Not that I’ve been sleeping the whole time since I got here, but we’ve been jumping on the bus to go off to get the telephone fixed, running off to immigration to extend the 48 hours I was given at the airport, and other urgent errands. The days have been pretty full.
Things are good here. There is lots to do, but I’ve been working into that slowly as I was still pretty exhausted. And a nap helps.
As some of you know, Robn flew back across the Atlantic on 16 February. With a brief visit to a cousin of hers in Arkansas. Where, much to everyone’s surprise, she almost got iced in.
They had had a series of spells of bad weather. Then it got better and Robn arrived. But then they were predicting an ice storm. Which to those of you from more comfortable parts of the world, means you don’t need to worry about running into black ice, because everything on the surface of the planet is black ice. No one drives 90 miles during those conditions. And it looked like she would be stuck there a week or more. Kiss her ticket to Trinidad goodbye.
Sorry but this triggers Dave to make a rant about airline logic. When we were originally trying to get Robn a ticket from Trinidad to Houston, I discovered that United has a direct flight. However, back in October, it cost about US$700 as I recall. Yet, if you flew through Miami, or other plane changes, it was only a little over US$300, but it took a lot longer. Actually the cheapest way, as I recall, was something like flying from Trinidad to New York, to St. Louis, perhaps to Dallas, and then to Houston. Understandably that took like 20 hours and was a little bit cheaper.
So, Robn flew to Miami, waited a few hours, and flew to Houston, for something like $320.
Upon her return to the New World, since she wanted to visit someone near Little Rock, Arkansas, at first we were going to have her fly from Houston to Little Rock round trip on one ticket and then another ticket from Houston to Trinidad. But, we discovered that she could fly from Little Rock to Trinidad on United for about $345. All these numbers are approximate.
You guessed it. This $345 ticket, had her fly from Little Rock to Houston on United, then change to the United direct flight to Trinidad.
Robn just corrected me that at least in February, she remembers the United direct flight to Trinidad as being ONLY $500, not $700.
We don’t know when we will leave Trinidad. But, I was looking at flights from Trinidad to Seattle, choosing dates in the end of May and early June, it was about $345, on United. The infamous direct flight to Houston, and then another direct flight from there to Seattle. This all may seem logical to you but it baffles the hell out of us.
And not that anyone cares, but another chapter in Dave’s ‘computer related nightmares.’
Literally the night before Dave was to fly to Washington DC, while he was trying to install software on his new Samsung Galaxy S5, smart phone, in case his luggage got stolen again, that he could render the phone useless to the thief, and probably even recover it.
Lojack now exists for laptops cell phones and other items.
Not at all to be confused with the vicious lie perpetrated by ESET that claims it can do that, but when they find out that your laptop is actually stolen, they refuse to tell you, or the police, anything about it. Even though they know pretty much where it is, and know a great deal about the thief. But they refuse to tell the police. Go figure.
Anyway, no big surprise that while Dave was talking with Samsung Turkey tech support, and they were instructing him on how to do a factory reset of the phone to clean off some problems that he was having, the phone totally locked up. It suddenly refused to use the fingerprint ID, and kept asking for a PIN that no one has been able to figure out the answer for. It is certainly none of the several PINs that anyone has used on the phone.
Samsung Turkey finally gave up trying to fix it over the phone, and said just take it into the Samsung store in Antalya, Turkey.
I pointed out that I was getting on a plane tomorrow and there was no way to have time to go to a store en route.
Just to add to the excitement, my passport and other important documents, were laying on top of my backpack as I was leaving the boat the next morning, but somehow in getting the suitcases and backpack out on deck, the passport and documents got left on the settee. The bad thing being that I had no idea of this, until I was about an hour into my bus ride to the airport. When I suddenly noticed that I did not have it and began frantically searched my backpack. I was able to jump off at the next stop, in the city of Kemer and I hired a cab to take me back to the boat and then to the airport. Which, except for the money and the acid indigestion, worked fine. I got there in plenty of time for my flight.
I had to wait 12 hrs in Moscow. Did you know that few have any English there? Signs, menus, etc. Funny that they only use their own language, right? <wink>
When I got to Washington DC, I spent probably a day and a half of my only three days fighting with my locked up Samsung cell phone. I only wasted so much time because they kept telling me that they could easily fix it if I would just go to the next place in line. By that I mean each place that I called, said that, "Oh, if you contact so-and-so, or drive over to such and such, THEY will know how to fix it." But, none of them did. This included many calls back to Turkey for Samsung and Turkcell support. Since everyone kept passing the buck to someone else.
The conclusion I came to, was that I would have to wait until I could walk into a Samsung shop in Turkey, which will not be for four months or more. And, it was not lost on my tiny little brain, that every single one of these, "Oh, just take it to who’s it and they will fix it right up," had been wrong. So what are the odds that I could get it fixed in Turkey?
However, Robn showed me a Samsung place in a mall about a half hour away from here. We walked up to the first guy we saw there, explained the problem to him, and he had it running fine in 30 seconds! This is the first place we tried once I got here. So, if you’re having cell phone trouble move to Trinidad.
He also tried to explain to me how you reset it by pushing a secret combination of keys all at the same time. Then follow some instructions that you will find there.
I’ve been trying to get the exact information on the Internet, because if you do it wrong it actually can permanently kill your phone. But, as far as I can tell the phone is now absolutely fine, although I need to reinstall some things on it. You can be sure that I’m not going to reinstall the things that I believe caused the problem.
Because I believed that I had done due diligence, and my Samsung Galaxy S5 was going to be useless until I returned to Turkey, I took the plunge and bought an iPhone 6 Plus while in DC. Interestingly I had previously spent weeks trying to figure out how to buy an unlocked, international, Samsung Galaxy S5 from any US source, but could not discover a way to do it. They said they were unlocked, but then it turned out that you had to be one of their customers for six months and then they would unlock it. I wanted a phone that would work today. Not in six months.
But, happily the Apple Store was only too thrilled to sell me a very expensive, totally unlocked iPhone 6 Plus. And it mostly works fine. No one seems to know why the hotspot feature doesn’t seem to work. That’s on my to do list for today.
Robn has been using a Mac laptop and an iPad for several years. Dave has now become AC/DC, and perhaps it is just Dave’s black thumb when it comes to computers, but Robn has also had many annoying problems with both her Mac laptop and iPad, beginning before I knew her. Dave has already had several seemingly idiotic problems with the new iPhone. We live in an imperfect world.
Dave’s world might be a little more imperfect than most. Several times in the last three weeks I have called tech support for various products and their computers have gone down while they were talking to me. Often repeatedly during a single conversation.
When I tried to rent the car in Washington DC, the agent’s computer went down, and he had to have me go over to the next desk to successfully rent the car.
The car was just over $18 a day. (And it had wheels and doors and seats. It was just a really good deal that I found online.) The optional Garmin GPS navigator, like a Tom-Tom was $11 per day extra. But without it the car would’ve been pretty much useless. Since I did not know my way around the area well at all. Even though it routed me through every little back alley it could find, I did always eventually get where I was going. It only got right and left confused a few times.
I would be looking at the route on the little map, and it would say turn right but clearly the purple line turned left. Often this was near one of the stupid little "roundabouts" that they seem to love in Washington DC, where, in order to turn left, you actually DO have to turn right. So the first time I fell for it, but later I just faked it.
The final indignity was trying to return the car, when I was already running very late in order to make my flight. Like so many airports, you can sort of drive in a circle, and do it again until you get it right.
Between the, in my opinion, terrible signs above the highway, and the little purple line on the GPS, and the lady’s voice telling me to "turn toward Advantage," I went around three or four complete cycles, including a tour of the inside of one of the garages, before I was finally able to return the car. Good thing I had unlimited mileage.
And part of that confusion was because a nice police lady, who after two times around I asked for directions, specifically told me to go into ‘Daily parking A,’ as that was where Alamo was located. Too bad she was wrong. But I made my flight, and did not lose my sense of humor. I will let you go back to what you were supposed to be doing today.
Every day is an adventure. Presently, ‘My Adventures’ are in a warm lush, tropical paradise, with the woman I love.
A big hug from Dave and Robn