Thursday, March 25, 2010

It kinda drives me crazy...

So it kinda drives me crazy when I can't do something I've set my mind to. For example, today, I decided it was time to get a cell phone here in Europe. I've spent a week figuring out which cell phone I want, which cellular provider I wanted, and which plan I wanted to get. I spent a lot of time on this. Other than sleeping, and maybe working, I probably spent more time on getting this all figured out this week than anything else. So I've figured out the phone that I wanted: a Nokia N97 Mini. Why? Because it is Skype-compatible, (I think I can video call with it), it has a keypad, so I can actually send email/messages at a reasonable rate, it's got GPS capability, it fits nicely in my pocket, it's got wifi, and pretty much everything else I can think that I'd want. I figured out which provider I wanted: DREI (3), because I've heard good things about them from coworkers (in terms of reception), they have SUPER cheap international rates (2.5 euro cents to call the US, when I pay an extra 4 euro a month), and they have very good plans. I basically decided on a plan with 1GB data, 2000 minutes of phone calls, and 1000 texts for 19 euro a month, as part of a 2 year contract. Add 4 euro for the international calling, and 4 more euro for 100 international texts, and I can call or text the US as much as I want for 27 euros a month, plus 2.5 cents/minute. And while I've heard mixed reviews about skype over the phone, I can give that a try, and if it works, perfect, I can skype over the phone, and only pay 19 euro a month; or if I go over my 1GB data with skype, I can pay 4 euros more, and have unlimited skype capabilities.

Oh, and if I failed to mention this, I had to figure all of this out in German. Yes, I had translators to help...thank you Stefanie from work, and thank you Ricardo from Iraq! (Gotta love Skype and Instant Messaging!)

PERFECT! This is what I want, and what I spent the better part of my free time for the last week deciding what I wanted. It shouldn't be so hard to get this. Except the Radio-Shack type store a block away from me doesn't have the N97 mini for that company. Fine, I can walk a mile or two to the fancy mall with the Drei store. Which I do. With my passport. And my Austrian work visa. And my proof of Austrian residence. And all my US credit cards. And 350 Euros. And everything else I think I might possibly need, including my laptop and an english-german translation book. I'm ready to have this phone, and be calling family and friends back in the US, just because I can.

But turns out you have to be a resident of Austria for 3 months for them to give you a plan with a contract. No avoiding it. No talking to the managers. No paying THE WHOLE CONTRACT UP FRONT! For crying out loud, what FREAKING COMPANY IS GOING TO TURN THAT DOWN!?!?!?! So anyway...

I give up. It can't be done. What now? I decide to get a prepaid SIM card from them, and just use that for 3 months. Maybe I'll buy my Nokia N97 mini on ebay or something. So I do that, and they still have the international calling plan for 4 Euro a month, so this will work fine. I get home...and pop my new SIM card into my cell phone, and oh 4 year old Motorola RAZR (from CINGULAR...not AT&T, but CINGULAR!) is locked. So of course it can't read my new SIM card.

So now I'm mad, and frustrated, because I still can't call home without paying 1.49 a minute. But mostly, it's driving me crazy because I had my mind set on getting this done today, and now it's not going to be done. So I just have to let it go. And sometimes that's hard for me to do.

Oh well...IAPOTA--It's All Part Of The Adventure. (My new saying.) As long as I have my passport, and a credit card, I'm not going to worry too much.

Here's to Cingular/AT&T hopefully unlocking my phone for me!

Otherwise I'm doing my air shipment in today, and I think I've got just about everything I want...except for a backpack and camelback. I'll survive. Maybe I'll go to Vienna this weekend.