First World Issues in a 2.5 Life

I’ve been out and about around Panama the last few weeks and I have a few stories and photos stored up to share. I’ll explain more about the how and why in my next post. Today however; I’d like to share one of our First World Problems that occurred while I was away and that SU had to try to deal with.

SU is not very tech savvy. Lead Techie falls under my job description. He’s very good at many things and can maneuver his was around the internet not too badly for a guy that never had to sit in an office or use the computer until he was in his 40’s. And let’s put it this way, I felt so sorry for the clerk that had to teach him to fill out forms and learn the computer software that I sent her a gift basket that included a big bottle of pain relievers. Having said that however; using the internet in Panama is a lesson in patience and a test of overcoming frustration no matter what your skill level.

We don’t have much choice out in the campo for our internet service. When we move here Cable and Wireless refused to bring their system down our street because there wasn’t enough houses built, and now we don’t want to even bother changing. We chose to use what most people in town use and that is a Claro Mobile Stick and a router. We never had very many problems with it as we live a mere 250 meters at most from the tower that our signal comes from. In fact when compared with our Telus Mobile Stick that we used for a short time before moving to Panama, Claro was like driving a Ferrari compared to the Telus bicycle. That’s now changed as Claro has now put severe limits on usage.

We don’t normally have a lot of downloads or uploads nor do we stream movies that use a lot of bandwidth but for some reason our internet totally s**t the bed as SU would say, a week after we recharged it. Rather than rehash the thing word by word here is the translated text from my “chat” with a Claro customer service rep yesterday:

Good afternoon, we have recently acquired new 4G SIM for the use of the internet router. The employee charges $14.99 for the data. This is our current speed. We live in the interior of the Republic of Panama and the speed never has been good. How can this speed so low when we are not able to connect to the tower which is 250 meters from our house. Do we now pay more for more capacity? It is difficult to even send this message at this speed.

I attached this picture with my first question:


CLEAR Panama
Good Afternoon Madam Karen, please provide the identification number of the owner of the line via direct message in order to be able to assist you.

I’m not sure how it will be of help. I am often disconnected, because the service is terrible. Please provide a list of prices for internet service with GB, so that we can tell the employee of the store in Las Tablas. The company is cutting back on service that is clear. But we have no alternative. I’m going to lose the connection again after this.
CLEAR Panama
Lady Karen, could supply me with the id number of the owner of the services for speed verification.
** 274 ** My husband has told me they do not sell a new chip for 4G. He bought a new router in the local computer shop that has been configured to the old SIM and the employee of Clear sold him a service of $14.99. This is our third service of $14.99 in the last 30 days.
I am surprised that the Internet is even connected after 10 minutes.
CLEAR Panama
Lady Karen with the identification that we provided services not appears to us with Clear, in this case you must go to a customer care center.
The chips are registered by cedula?
Can you not provide prices of 4G mobile Internet service so we can buy the right plan?
CLEAR Panama
Lady Karen we asked for the id number to check since the sim card must be in the name of a person, in the same way I can provide the line number that belongs to the sim card.
Number of my cedula: ** 656 ** it is possibly in my name.
CLEAR Panama
Lady Karen identification that it is providing belongs to a SIM card which is disabled.
It is an old phone card probably. The interior of Panama suffers with poor service and no choice. Thank you very much.
CLEAR Panama
Lady Karen, in this case you should go to the customer care center to raise its inconvenience.
Do I do it via chat on your website? I am not in the city to go to the customer care center.
And here is where I think I got a new customer service agent helping me because the previous agent passed me off without asking from the SIM card number after he/she couldn’t find it with the cedula number…
CLEAR Panama
Lady Karen in order to help you, we need the number of the SIM card that you purchased or the identification number of the person who purchased the service so that we can verify.
The SIM number is 6230 ****
CLEAR Panama
Allow me a moment to verify.
CLEAR Panama
You maintain a package of 30 days, includes 2 GB unlimited. By consuming the capacity you will have a speed controlled by fair use policy. You have consumed the 263 % of your data and under the fair use policy you are at a reduced speed of 1 up to 128 kb
That is crazy, in a week? The internet has not been working properly during this whole time and we have not be downloading anything.
10/5, 2:50pm
CLEAR Panama
The activation of the package was last September 19 and therefore you have already consumed 100% of your data and it is navigating at a controlled rate of 1 up to 128 kb
I find that impossible already believe that the Internet was used very little because it didn’t work correctly from the beginning. I’m going to upload another $15.00 card. If it is still slow I will contact you. Thank you for investigating this.
10/5, 3:04pm
CLEAR Panama
Lady Karen you should expect to finish the 30 days of its data packet to the 19 October to be able to activate another data packet.
I am sure that a lot of people don’t know this information. I would have to buy another SIM card for internet, right? 3:15pm
CLEAR Panama
Madam to activate another data packet must wait finalize the days of the current package. If you wish to purchase another sim card and purchase another data packet.
It is interesting that the employee of the store did not tell us this. To upload more money on the SIM card does not solve the problem.
Normally I do it but I was away and my husband was having problems within just a week of the new card. The employee just put more money on the SIM.
10/5, 3:24pm
CLEAR Panama
Remember that the consumption depends on the form of navigating.
Are new Internet SIM is purchased in Clear only stores? Would our local Mini Supers sell them? Normally we don’t have the problems that other people in the town have. We don’t watch movies or download many things.
10/5, 3:28pm
CLEAR Panama
It is recommended that you purchase the SIM card in the customer care center.
Understand, we are going to Las Tablas to purchase. Thank you for your help. Although the response was disappointing I appreciate that there was a way to investigate forward and not send my question to another department. Have a good day.
10/5, 3:35pm
CLEAR Panama
You’re very kind, have an excellent afternoon.

And so we wasted $15.00 and today we went to Las Tablas to buy a second SIM card and charged it with another $15.00 pre paid service card. At least they gave us a new SIM for free. After investigating further, it seems that Claro has begun actually enforcing a “usage” policy that limits GB. And even though Claro claims to have “4G”service in the interior now, there is no way we’re receiving it out here. I’ve read further that people get around the limits by keeping more than one SIM card on hand as we have chosen to do. Some even have four or five that they change out. For now, at least the hamsters on the internet wheel are running a bit faster and we have another First World Problem solved…in the campo.

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Wisdom Wednesday ~ 16/09/2015

My Shadow

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow–
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes goes so little that there’s none of him at all.

He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close behind me, he’s a coward you can see;
I’d think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!

One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

~ Robert Louis Stevenson ~


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Bananas do not Grow on Trees

Bananas do not grow on trees. Rather, they grow from a root structure that produces an above ground stem. The plant is specifically classified as an arborescent (tree-like) perennial herb; in fact, it is the largest herbaceous flowering plant. The banana plant being an herb is that the banana itself is a berry.
Bananas Don’t Grow on Trees – Today I Found Out

And here are the latest additions from one of our Apple Bananas that have ripened in the last week.  Beautiful and delicious…in the campo.


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Bird on a Streetlamp

bird on lamp About as monochromatic as you can get on a grey and rainy day…in the campo.

See other interpretations of this week’s photo challenge theme here.

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Talk Thursday ~ The Mind is Too Beautiful to Waste

We watch a bit of the History Channel in the evening, our channels come in through our SKY satellite via Mexico so we’re probably a little behind in what is showing in North America. SU has been watching a series that is a couple of years old called Battles BC. It’s kind of hit a miss when he catches it, but all of our television channels repeat things over and over so we’ll see all the parts of the series eventually.

The other evening we caught The Last Stand of the 300. Most of us are familiar with the movie 300 starring Gerard Butler as Leonidas, king of the Greek city-state of Sparta. 300 men stay behind to stage a critical battle against the Persians so other warriors can live to fight another day.  As I was half listening by multitasking, reading a book and watching television at the same time, I learned that if the remaining army of a few hundred men faced incredible odds. The staging of this unwinnable fight eventually unified all the city-states of Greece into a single nation and changed the course of Western civilization. How? Greek politics, beliefs and culture began to spread after this critical battle along with the concept of democracy. And it all began with the 300 at the Pass of Thermopylae.

The video I bring you today is about critical thinking. One of the things the presenter asks the viewer to do is to research what “fallacy’’ means, as we are surrounded by it constantly in traditional and social media. Fallacy is an idea or belief that is false but that many people think is true, especially one based on unsound argument. Every child needs the skills of critical thinking, they are necessarily important ones in our world.

My mind works in strange and mysterious ways, I admit, and it’s something I’m grateful for. I can take a subject and twist and turn it and research it and be quite happy doing so. SU often says that I’m an expert at UFI (Useless F*****g Information). I don’t consider myself an expert, I just like to consider myself informed and open-minded. There has been much talk about “democracy”, a pretty important concept that many will interpret to suit themselves.  Many people don’t bother to use critical thinking before spouting off about a topic and they are not only…in the campo.

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Wisdom Wednesday ~ 09/09/2015

Because sometimes life is a little scary…
Baton Twirler
You’ll seldom experience regret for anything that you’ve done. It is what you haven’t done that will torment you. The message, therefore, is clear. Do it! Develop an appreciation for the present moment. Seize every second of your life and savor it. Value your present moments. Using them up in any self-defeating ways means you’ve lost them forever. ~Wayne Dyer ~

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Snapshot Sunday ~ 06/09/2015

1 2 3 7 6 8 9

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The Green Dress

One day, long ago a Grandmother traveled a great distance to visit her grandchildren. While she visited she decided to knit. As she worked, she connected strands of different colours of green wool.

1 2
When she was finished there was a warm, green dress for her eldest granddaughter.3 4 When the eldest granddaughter outgrew the dress the youngest granddaughter happily wore it.5 When the youngest granddaughter outgrew the dress it was donated to charity, where hopefully another lucky little girl was given it to wear. Who knows, those connected green pieces of wool may still be keeping a little girl warm to this day.

Click here to see other interpretations of this week’s WP Photo Challenge “Connected”.

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More Critters in the Hood

A while ago I posted about Rock Doves taking up residence in the trees lining our driveway.  Most days you’d never know that there’s a nest there although once in a while we see a little brown bird slide out and then return.

The nest is pretty difficult to see as it is tucked up into the truck of our Buddha Tree and the drooping leaves of the tree make for very good cover.  I did manage to get a few pictures of the little nest and the tail end of an occupant:

A good view of the tail over the nest.

A good view of the tail over the nest.

A little body if you look closely.

A little body if you look closely.

Tip of bird tail over the nest.

Tip of bird tail over the nest.

The last few days have brought us more nest construction.  This time inside the yard in the limón tree which thus far has borne no fruit.  This tree is covered in thorns and backs up against the fence so it allows the birds to be protected from intruders and come and go without coming into the yard.  This time it’s the Ani’s that have decided to take up occupancy:
2 Ani 1 Ani They’ve been collecting dry bits and ripping pieces off the Moringa trees to add a bit of color in the mix. I managed to get a close up of the construction:Ani Nest We’ve decided that if they want live in the yard they’ll have to get used to Dos Gatos and us being out there with them.  Thus far they’ve come and gone depending on how much noise there is, returning to continue construction each time. Ani on post Bandit has taken cover under one of the bushes to watch them and he’s found that he can get a good look from the higher position of the back door.BanditContrary to how these birds that are relatives of the cuckoo look they have a very pretty chirp to them.  We’ll enjoy have some more company of the bird kind…in the campo.

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Talk Thursday ~ Roasting el marañon

Today’s video is an instruction on how to home roast cashews.  I’ve never done this myself as I’ve been a little afraid that being the klutz that I am I’d have a nut explode in my eye or something.  That and the scary fact is that the seed is surrounded by a double shell containing an a toxin related to poison ivy. If the cashews aren’t roasted properly the poison is not destroyed, drawback number one. Roasting the cashews created great amounts of smoke so it must always done outside, the smoke can also cause severe reactions by irritating the lungs so one has to be careful not to suck in a lung full, drawback number two.

I really like cashews, especially the home roasted kind.  We have a tree across the road from us but the grass is so high this year around the tree that I didn’t pay it a visit.  One never knows what lurks in the long grass around here…in the campo.

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