My favorite game…let’s find the address
Well, we were off on March 20th to see a possible new internet provider. For several months now, we have been unsuccessfully trying ones that are based in Arezzo since our neighbors are connected to them. The farm that we rent is on the top of a ridge. Our neighbors on each side look towards Arezzo. We look towards Siena. Arezzo based internet providers make us fill out a contract, give our bank details, wait and wait and wait and then come out, climb on the roof and pronounce that they can’t get a signal. It finally occurred to me that since we can’t get connected from Arezzo we should look in Siena. Well..why not try it? My Italian language skills are not quite to the level of negotiating over the phone for much more than a dinner reservation. And the static on our phone line does not make it any easier. So I prefer to just drive to the place and discuss things face to face.
I finally got an internet connection for long enough to find our new candidate on line. No where on their site is the full address given, just Via Toscana and our fav, a pin tack on Google maps. “4th exit from the roundabout. 230 Meters on the LEFT on to Via Toscana, building on the LEFT.” We know Via Toscana since this is where the DVD repair guy is located. (an earlier adventure) We know that if you take that exit, it is really an entrance ramp for the highway that we just got off of. But there are some businesses there and a big car dealership.
So we took the ramp which is also Via Toscana. But after 230 meters, (I suppose) Via Toscana turns to the RIGHT while the ramp continues on to the highway. So we turned to the right and stopped. And just as we knew, the car dealership was on the left. There was a building on the right that we thought might have the internet place in it. Nooooo. I got out and wandered around.
See the big car dealership which is completely fenced off and you can’t get into it. I finally got a helpful man to call the internet folks for me. After chatting with them, he tells me, ‘oh go up the stairs, 3rd door on the left’. As he says left, he points right. Do you see the stairs? At the end of the road there is a white line snaking up the hill through the cypress trees to the shopping center, office complex above. Those are the stairs that you can see from the front of the car dealership.
Leaving Ben in the car, I truck up the stairs. There must be 75 businesses in the place and the third door on the right or the left on the first level and the second level is not what I am looking for. I call this time. I tell the lady at the internet place the businesses that I am standing in front of. ‘Come down! Come down!’ she says in Italian. I go back down the stairs.
It seems that at the back and the above the car dealership building is a row of offices. I try the 3rd door on the left. Noooo. Up the stairs and again the 3rd door. Finally! (Only by turning could you see these stairs at the back of the car dealership)
We have a fairly successful meeting. This provider, unlike all the others, actually uses technology and software to put in our GPS coordinates and look at our location and the location of the transmitters on Google Earth. The guy was able to figure distance and examine the topography and figure out without coming all the way out to us if they could provide service or not. So I left with promises that they will come to install next week.
Next week comes. I have to harass the provider to commit to coming out. I even have to get my neighbor to call for me too, since the guy speaks so fast over the phone. I am told that the technico will be here around 3. At 5 I call and ask where they are. An excuse that I can’t understand and he will be with us after 6. Finally just as the sun is setting almost 7:30, a car arrives. A young woman, not appropriately dressed for our windy mountain top, gets out along with a young man. He introduces himself as Giacamo. Now, there is a Giacamo who lives up here near us. Always when I explain where we live, the person I am explaining to will say, ‘oh, near Giacamo’. My neighbor Alessio speaks of Giacamo. To my knowledge I have never laid eyes on Giacamo and don’t know where he lives. But I do know that he has the same crappy internet provider that we currently have and that he has had the same problems and that somehow he has gotten them fixed. I have been trying to get Alessio to find out how he got the problem fixed. So I am standing there in the cold thinking that this is Giacamo, my neighbor that I don’t know, and he has come to explain how to get our current set-up to work. Giacamo starts speaking in rapid fire Italian. I am trying to get him to slow down. The young woman starts translating into almost flawless, unaccented English. The confusion is cleared up. Different Giacamo. They are both technicos. The ones that I have been waiting for all day. While he looks around and searches for a signal on his cell phone, she and I chat. She reveals that she talked with me on the phone to give me directions. So as we stand there in the freezing wind, all I can think of is why couldn’t you have told me that you speak English a week ago when I was trying to figure where the office was.
Oh well, another week, the week before Easter has started and we are still waiting. I am still talking on the phone with someone (not Giacamo) who insists on rapid-fire Italian. And now it has started to rain and there is rain forecasted for several days and of course there is the upcoming Easter holiday. So the internet saga continues. Look for more in another post.