We get so used to being connected - via internet, phones, television... When it's all gone, and all at once, it's a little disconcerting.
While we still had internet at our temporary apartment, Rick got a SIM chip and number for his European phone; it took a week to get to us (lesson learned: go to a kiosk), but we had one all-important connection method to get us through "the dark times." *
France has Internet packages that include all of the other connections, but it is not quick to get. A lot of business here relies on a fixed phone line; without that number, you either can't proceed at all, or it takes a lot longer via a more difficult route. A cell phone number just will not do! Getting an internet package that includes a fixed phone line is one of those things - just one more catch-22 thing we encountered in moving here.
What we did:
- We waited to order internet until we signed our lease and moved into the new long-term apartment - it was probably a certainty that all would go well, but we had no good gauge for that, and too many problems cropped up at the last minute with our bank and getting through to the rental agent for information. So we didn't take that extra chance.
- Rick researched a number of plans and tried to sign up for one ("Alice," using WiFi at a local café); it was one that wouldn't let him past the "fixed line" question. So he tried a different one (b-box) on Friday (March 3rd). He had the names of the previous tenants (from the mailbox), and was able to use that to proceed to a contract. Later that evening, the company called (that important cell phone!) to verify the information (and argued that the apartment number was wrong! OMG, the record-keeping! So precise, and still wildly inaccurate). Still, in the end, we had numbers for our future fixed line.
- This internet requires a box; initially, we understood that we could pick it up from a nearby location sometime between Monday and Wednesday, the 8th (yay! less than a week; they would notify us by text when it was available). Then we got a text confirming our contract, and it said we would have the box by the 16th! Ack!
- With that much time out of commission, we decided to use the Orange hotspot Wi-Fi pass. This is what we had to use last time we vacationed in France. It is weak, very slow, constantly cuts off, and is expensive (20€/month). And you aren't allowed to use VOIP (e.g., no Skype calls, no Wi-Fi phone calls). But, it lets us bridge the gap without going to the café and hogging a table.
to be continued...
*Rick found a better deal for cell phones, and ordered chips for both of us. He'll be able to keep his number, and I should have my own by the 9th.