Best Installer Excuse EVAH!

by Dave on October 13, 2009

Kathmandu - Week 1

VanRobertsHam Intl. - Our Connection to the World

(Subtitled: How we learned that our landlord is great and so is WorldLink Nepal …)

It pains me to say this, but with Robin studying online and most of our communication happening through the computer, Internet is like water – there is no life without it.  So when we arrived at the apartment for the first time and I heard that we had to arrange our own connection, I was pretty worried.  Utilities, developing nation, language challenges – based on all my dumb-ass assumptions, I thought it was going to be a hassle getting it installed.

Day 1: My boss, Tatwa,  gives me all the phone numbers, insisting that WorldLink would serve me in English and that they had the superior technology. Shalik, our business development director tells me that the local wireless is even faster than cable. Everyone’s confident, but I think they’re  just placating me.

Day 3 – AM: After two days spent finding money and groceries and the office, I call WorldLink. Press 2 for English. Wow. Appointment for an installer on Day 3. Double wow. The only challenge is describing our address in Kopandol – we don’t really have one yet. I arrange a rendezvous point for the next day at the chowk near the Summit Hotel. I assume that this is where it all falls apart.

Day 3 – PM: Enter our landlords. I thought it would be a good idea if they knew our plans, but Susan, the landlord’s son and chief translator,  insists on taking over. Is this a mistake? Will the process grind to a halt? Nope – it accelerates. At 5:00 PM, a WorldLink sales guy shows up at the gate and schedules installation for the next day – “If it doesn’t rain …”

Hunh?

Day 4 – AM: It monsoons. No installation. Aha – I’m right!

When I see Susan, I ask why they won’t come in the rain. Simply put, electrocution. The installers can’t climb the poles in case of a faulty electrical installation. After seeing all the wires on the post outside the house, it makes immediate sense. Best installer excuse evah!

Then I make a  mental note not to touch electrical poles during rain storms.

Day 5 – AM: One hour after the torrential rains stop, Annalise calls me to say that we have Internet. The installer is showing Robin how to connect the laptop as we speak. I stop to consider that before we left Calgary,  I spent two of the longest  hours of my life on the phone with Telus sorting out details for our tenant’s  phone and Internet. That’s about, oh, ten times more than I spent talking with WorldLink and Susan.

I’m not sure whether to hug our landlords or buy shares in WorldLink.

Postscript: I’m (guiltily) installing a wireless router when the WorldLink guys turn up to see how we’re doing and to sell us VoiP services for overseas calls. Erm – we’re only supposed to have one computer on this connection. Naturally, I’m having challenges with the router, but after some politely raised eyebrows and a call back to the office, the router is working.

Susan drops by later and I proudly show him the router. He seems impressed and tells me he’s been wondering who the new router belonged to. How did he know? He draws his smartphone to show me how he found it. I give him the password to connect. Seems only fair, right?

We still have to pay for this all. Susan’s going to WorldLink to get the bill – he’ll pay and we’ll pay him back. In short, Nepal is much more efficient than I expected.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

carla October 13, 2009 at 3:42 am

So… that electrical wire that’s tied into a knot is your interenet connection? Will they service Canada soon?

Sophie October 13, 2009 at 4:40 am

Jeezzz……,
how much time do you guys spent on writing these stories??? It’s been a couple of weeks ago since Carla gave me the adress of your website and I still didn’t read all of it… You should write a book about all your adventures! I’d be the first one to buy it. It’s great to read about your experiences! Less then 8 weeks to go and then I’ll be there to give you inspiration for another chapter ;)

Sophie

LeeAnne October 13, 2009 at 8:00 am

Great story! Brian has had his share of Telus waits, I mean calls :-)
Very glad that you are up & running once again.

Dave October 13, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Hello, Everyone

Sophie – don’t tell anyone, but we’re actually holed up in a mansion in the Grand Caymans where we spend entire days making up these stories so that people *think* we’re in Nepal! Opps – you already bought your tickets, right?

Leanne – you couldn’t believe our relief too. Thanks for the Skype call this morning.

Carla – yes, that’s actually our Internet cable tied to the balcony rail. It’s not an electrical cable – it’s actually a piece of Category 5 ethernet cable with a ruggedized casing for exterior installations. Of course, the big frickin’ knot they’ve tied in it isn’t up to Cat 5 installation standards, but we don’t really notice the difference in the speed that much. The service, however, that came with big knot, was impeccable!

Mom October 13, 2009 at 3:05 pm

I’m thinking of forwarding this to Shaw- our cable looks the same (really!), but is tastefully draped so that passing trucks can have fun with it.

Shirley Robertson October 15, 2009 at 6:04 pm

David,

I am really impressed at how quickly you guys have sorted things out. Your landlords sound fantastic and I am looking forward to meeting them.

And I see from other comments that you now have other votes for writing a book

Love
Shirl

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