Friday, November 6, 2015

Better Late Than Never

Riley Facetiming me while I was in Bologna

All this modern technology just makes people try to do everything at once.  ~ Bill Watterson

My latest victims group and I are back from Italy, as you may know.  You may not know that since it's been some time since I was able to write the blog due, mostly, to the fact that we had internet problems from the time we left Bologna on October 28.

When Mike and I headed to Europe the first few times in the 90s and 2000s, we took neither cell phones or computers because they wouldn't work there. Internet was too new, slow, and costly. I remember signing up for 30-minute access to internet on a cruise ship in 2007. The cost was $50 for about 30 minutes, and I spent most of the 30 minutes waiting for one or two emails to Jason to send.  Even in 2010, we took my iPad to Italy hoping to have internet access and found very little.

What a difference a year made.   In 2011, I had a scholarship to Charles University in Prague, and we hit a few places in Italy before that.  Every apartment had internet access. I could use the iPad easily no matter where we were.  Unfortunately, our phones still did not work in Europe. You may remember that someone broke into our Prague apartment in the middle of the night, and we had no way to contact the police except for me to walk to the police station at 3:00 am.  (Story here and here)  I swore after that experience that I would not leave home without a phone that worked everywhere. And, I haven't.

Vernazza during the rain
Remember the America Express commercials that urged, "Don't leave home without it!"  These days, I—and probably most of you, too—don't leave home without at least one piece of digital equipment, the cell phone.  Most days, the iPad accompanies me, too, since I use it for work.  And, should I go out of town, I'm loaded for bear: iPhone, iPod, iPad, MacBook Air, and every stupid cable that I need to charge them up.  I'm addicted, I tell you.  How did  I survive before I had these umbilical cords?

At any rate, the group and I had all of our "stuff," and while we were in Bologna, the internet worked great. That was a good thing since BLVDS was in proof mode, and I was able to edit while I was there.  We left Bologna on 28 October, the day the final proofs were coming through.  Our apartments in Vernazza were to have internet, so I wasn't worried. First mistake.


"Can you sign on?" Kerri asked me not too long after we had lugged ourselves and our suitcases up 50+ STEEP steps to our Vernazza rooms.  She was waiting for a few important emails from work.

"It shows I'm connected," I yelled back, "but I can't get anything to open."  She couldn't, either.  At the time, we blamed it on the horrendous downpour going on outside.  We were, after all, in the Cinque Terre, an area on the rocky eastern coast of Italy.  I asked the owner about the internet, and he told me that they were having problems in the rooms and that we could use the internet in the restaurant.  While everyone ate, I edited BLVDS at our table, as did Kerri.  After I complained again, the owner gave me a portable hot spot, which Kerri and I shared since it worked in only one room at a time.  And, while it worked, it was slowslowslow because we were, after all, in a small town on the coast.

Rome would be better.

What I needed after dealing with internet problems
HA! Our Rome apartment was in the Prati district — a quiet, business/residential area of the city close to the Vatican and Piazza del Popolo.  Paolo, the owner, got the internet working for us and showed me what to do if we had problems.... which we did.  I won't bore you with all of the details, but suffice to say a lot of the conversation over our three days in Rome went something like this:

"Are you able to sign on?"

"No.  Are you?"


OR, "I'm online, are you?"

"Yes... No.... Yes.... Wait...."

OR, "I give up."

"I gave up last Wednesday."

Paolo, the owner, wrote me yesterday and apologized. He told me that he's planning to get a new service provider and hopes that that will take care of the problem.

So, we're home, and the internet is working.  Yay!

Excuse me.... I have a meeting in an hour, so I need to pack up everything and get ready.

See you back in Venice tomorrow.

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