Tag Archives: lauren

and the quest continues

Costa Rica WILL happen, but not until tomorrow for Lauren or I. To make a moderate length story short Lauren arrived at the airport this morning with only 15 minutes to check-in, pass through security, and run to the gate to board the plane. Needless to say, she was too late for any of this to be accomplished. However, her tardiness proved to be fortunate given that she was bumped to a seat just shy of first-class on my flight leaving tomorrow. So, one problem with this voyage resolved (we fly together and Lauren avoids wandering into any unsavory alleys alone in Costa Rica) but as of today yet another one created: NO CELL PHONE!

The phone I have attempted repeatedly to rent over the past week and a half is a no go. Why, you might ask? Horrible customer service. The company I have been “working” with on this necessary endeavor, for lack of a better word, sucks. My emails went unanswered for days on end and any progress I made in reserving the phone was erased by the incompetence and general lack of business etiquette of the company’s employees. Taking a direct quote from a phone conversation I had earlier today with one of these gremlins, “We rent hundreds of phones each month. They’re gone. You’re out of luck. You’re renting a car, just rent a phone from them.” Fine, push your problem off on me, I’ll push my problem with you off on a bad review you can find here (in case you should ever need to rent an international cell phone).

Moving on, given that this phone is vital for me to continue running Illstreet while in Costa Rica I called the car rental company to see what could be done . . . and I called . . . and I called. Each time new issues arose and one persisted, that being what the junk are these people saying?! Dealing with an American company whose customer service sector is riddled with an incomprehensible mosh posh of international dialects is no bueno. On top of that, first I’m told I can’t rent a phone through the company. Then I’m informed that I can but that I need to speak with a representative from the local office in Costa Rica. Excuse me, but I’m not all that interested in paying six dollars a minute to be on the line with CENTRAL AMERICA. I inquired from the rep if it would be possible for him to make the call: “No, we can’t do that.” After that I landed on the line with an office located in India and an agent reiterating that he can not place the call to Costa Rica which is understandable, who would want to call India from America or Costa Rica from anywhere apparently. I’m left with the option of hoping that a phone will be available to rent at the local car rental office in Costa Rica. Wish me luck.

Despite all of this I remain optimistic about this adventure, albeit exasperated with waiting on hold listening to mediocre melodies that sound like midi ringtones crafted by a fourteen year old in a basement somewhere. Well, maybe I’m exaggerating. I DO have lots of awesome camping gear to play with and a mad cool pack I picked up from Appalachian Outfitters in Greenville, SC though. I suggest stopping by there if you’re in need of good conversation and even better gear. More to come seeing as how anything could happen.

Two days before the big trip!

Only two days left until I’m off to Costa Rica with Lauren to backpack for 2 weeks. Things are starting to shape up a bit better.

ol laurenThere has however been a slight change. Lauren will be going to Costa Rica on the 16th and I won’t be arriving until the 17th. She’s staying about 5 minutes from the airport in San Jose. I’m guessing she’s just going to hang out and stay relatively close to the airport. I really wish I was going but travelocity is AWFUL. This is definitely the first and last time I will use them for ANYTHING. Good luck getting someone who isn’t an Indian named Tom. I spent 4 hours navigating their maze of automated phone lines and worthless customer support. I may have found a way to get a credit back but a lot of good that does us NOW.

Anyhow, some of you might be wondering how illstreet is going to run while I’m trekking around the hillsides and remote beaches of Costa Rica. Well fortunately, most of Costa Rica has relatively decent TDMA cell service. You can’t do a pay as you go plan or get a temporary phone number in Costa Rica because their systems are overloaded. GSM lines won’t have any space for new numbers for three years!

So as a result I’ve had to rent a TDMA phone from cellphonescr.com. So far they’ve been relatively slow with communication and they haven’t been particularly accommodating but you can get unlimited minutes for about $13 a day. Additionally, they deliver the phone to the airport. I’m a little concerned about the delivery process but hopefully it will be smooth. Additionally, I purchased a phone matrix system and 1-800 number for illstreet that will forward to my cell phone for $.23 a minute in CR. This purchase was probably WELL overdue and I’m pretty psyched to see how it works.

So now you’re probably like well yeah, you can talk to people but how are you going to find your away smart guy? Ha! I’ve got that covered too. We have a 4 wheel drive SUV reserved (with rental insurance of course) so we will be driving the long distances between regions and then we will explore on foot for a couple days. Costa Rica is only a few hundred miles long and a couple hundred wide. For offroad, I downloaded an awesome and FREE TOPO map for my Garmin from http://rwsmaps.griffel.se. Thanks to that dude!

For routing and getting out of San Jose, I bought a map from NAVSAT off ebay. They’re the only company authorized by Garmin for mapping CR. I did however find this and there is a torrent seeded on piratebay as well.

Hopefully tomorrow I can post a little something about all the gear I bought. I have tons to write about still so keep up with the blog! We’re going to see volcanoes, sea turtles, monkeys, rain forests, cloud forests, beaches, awesome surf breaks, awesome wind surfing/kiteboarding areas, etc. Also, I haven’t even written about everything that has changed in the states for me! I just moved into an absolutely massive house on the marsh with a three car garage and awesome dock (plenty of room for a nice home office and my cars). I’m right on the 14th hole of the club’s golf course so I’ll be taking up golf I spose. I also bought a ski boat :) Anyhow, stay tuned for details!