That said, we have very much come to the realization that we cannot function via free (borrowed) wifi alone. We always check to see if there is a stray open signal in the anchorage and if there is a bar or cafe with free wifi all for the purchase of a drink or a croissant, we will often wait to connect, but for those really important moments we like to have the security of a 3G SIM card available.
While this seems like a pretty straight forward proposition, of all the business transactions we have conducted over the last three months, obtaining, and retaining, our 3G access seems to have been the most problematic. Even though the carriers provide packages for data plans only, there must not be that many customers or I can't imagine that the level of service would be acceptable. The regulations in the U.S. must also be much stricter than elsewhere (which I suppose is not surprising - land of freedom?) since we are not allowed to move our SIM card between devices as we please, without additional registration.
Just to give you an idea...
St. Thomas - we had problems with our mobile hotspot device but it took three visits to AT&T and the replacement of two SIM cards before they could get us up and running with my iPad. Then, three weeks later when we were in the BVI but still within range of the AT&T coverage, our 3G access completely disappeared. Only with a visit to the AT&T store back in Crown Bay did they figure out that our registration had mysteriously switched to a Panasonic device, none of which we own. Once they got our registration switched back we were good to go but with the loss of a week's access couldn't possibly use all that we had purchased.
St. Martin - we purchased another SIM card, this time from Digicel. Annoyingly, the maximum you can buy in one shot is 1GB at 20 Euros, no deal to buy a 3-5GB package, but I guess that is their business model and supports my supposition that they really don't sell too much of this product. We made a fatal mistake by putting the card in our hotspot and immediately pounding through 300MG with updates, which we quickly turned off. We purchased another 1GB to see us through the next couple of weeks, chalking up our mistake to a lesson learned, and then in Grand Case immediately lost our access. Frustrated once again we made the mile walk to the Digicel store at Hope Estate only to be told that they couldn't possibly be held responsible for what we do with our access and with no receipt they couldn't help. Only once I bared all and showed them the transactions on our bank account would they agree to credit back the 1GB that we had never used. Surprisingly now, when I check our account online we have 2GB available (for the moment) ... WTF??
On our walk we did see that where there was a beach yesterday, there is now a drain from the salt pond. I guess that either this is a regular occurrence or it was filled in with the hurricane in October. We also walked past the most decked out house in the street, just dripping in Christmas decorations!
|Laundry 1: Catherine 0 (and a nicely coloured bruise)|
|In with the new...|