Monday, April 03, 2017

plugging pesos into telcel

For those of us who do not use automatic bill payment, travel can serve up surprises far more original than a hissing cockroach in the bathtub of that charming hotel in Saigon.

Whenever I am going to be away from the house-with-no-name, I try to remember to put advance deposits on my electric, land line, and cellular telephone accounts. That always presents two problems.

The first is logistics. I can pre-pay my TelMex account (my land line) here in Barra de Navidad. But I need to drive to Manzanillo to prepay my TelCel (my cell phone) account, and to Cihuatlán to prepay my CFE (electric) bill.

The second problem is estimating how much to pre-pay.

Take my electric bill. When I left for Australia, I left my brother and sister-in-law in charge of the house. I also knew they were going to have two sets of friends down while I was gone.

I had no idea how to plan the electrical usage. But I have had visitors at the house since December. I simply doubled the cost for the previous two months and deposited it.

Not surprisingly, I overestimated the cost. I now have a healthy balance in my CFE account when I head to Colombia in a week.

I was not as fortunate with my calculations for my cellular plan. My usual monthly plan costs $360 (Mx).

I have heard of horror stories of cellular telephones eating up data on cruise ships. Cruisers return home to find bills in the hundreds of dollars.
To avoid that, I deposited $2,000 (Mx) in my account to cover my January bill, with over $1,600 (Mx) as a deposit -- just in case something went amiss. As you may recall, I spent nearly $600 (US) for internet access on the ship. I left my wi-fi on, and turned off my data usage.

In theory, I should now have a healthy balance left in my TelCel account. I don't.

My TelCel bill arrived on Sunday. That is a portion of it at the top. Not only was all of the $1,600 (Mx) eaten up, I now owe an additional $1,569 (Mx).

While I was in Australia, I checked the website to see if Telcel offers an international package for travelers. It does. It is a bit expensive, but it is far less than the $3,100 (Mx) I have shelled out for cellular telephone service for the past two months.

I take Darrel and Christy to the airport on Wednesday. On Thursday, I will drive to Manzanillo to work out whatever I need to do to get on an international plan for the Colombia trip.

Even if I do not consciously use the telephone, some applications keep on ticking on their own -- like my step counter.

And, yes, I know, I could solve the deposit issue if I simply joined the twenty-first century and signed up for automatic bill payment -- just as my credit cards are paid up north. But, I have told you before why that is not currently a possibility. There is no need to plow that ground again.

For all of these small travails, it feels great to be back in the traveling saddle.

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