Monday, November 29, 2010

Merida moments: banking problems and getting a phone

11/10/2010  Much of my first full day in Merida (Doug's third) was taken up with getting a local cell phone (me) and dealing with banking problems (Doug). Doug spent much time on payphones with banking reps who couldn't find a reason why the city's bank machines wouldn't process his cash withdrawal. (The problem magically disappeared the next day.)
Somehow (embarrassing admission) I have never had my own cellphone before, though I borrow other family members' phones as needed. I figured this made me less tethered, freer, and there was one less bill to pay. My new Merida cell phone will be for local calls and texts. I plan to leave it at the house, so it can also be used by anyone else who is staying there. It seems to be something people do here, where a land line can take a long long time to get. The phone was only about $30, and while calls are fairly expensive for the first year, the rate drops significantly after that.
It took a long time to get the new phone to work. I am trying to become more of a technical person but remain clueless about some of the most basic things. I had to take it back to the young people behind the counter at the Coppel department store where we bought it. There, much discussion, fiddling, and conversation with someone on the other line ensued. Finally it was working. But it only spoke Spanish. Not the people on the line, but the prompts and instructions. Tuesday I received a prompt; I thought it was about turning up the volume of the ringer, but when I pressed "si" it started a game of Spaceball, whatever that is.
After a couple of days I've managed to change the phone to English and now am constantly checking for messages, adding new contacts, texting like a teenager (only much slower). It already seems to be becoming a comforting extension of of my very being.


  1. Hi Debi,

    Mary and I will need to get up to speed with Mexican cells, too. (We carry, but rarely turn on our cells NoB.) I was told that cells can't be obtained without a residential address. Did you have to supply proof of address when you got your phone? Many thanks.


  2. Hi Eric,
    I did put down our Merida address but I wasn't asked to show proof of address. I hadn't even thought that I should bring along a utility bill or something. Perhaps other stores would be more rigorous about this.
    It was nice to see you and Mary in IAH, however briefly!

  3. Debi,

    Fun to see you, too, enroute. Many thanks for this encouraging factoid, above. Perhaps you could also let me know the name/location of the store, and the service provider. House browsing might be easier with a local cell.

    Back in Buffalo now, we're getting smothered with snow — more than 18 inches since yesterday, and still snowing. If it melts by next November, maybe will see you in Merida!


  4. Hi Eric,
    It is a Telcel phone, and the Coppel store we went to was, I think, this one: Calle 58 num. 490 x 59 y 61 Col. Centro. I think you can get the same deal anywhere that carries Telcel phones.
    I hope thoughts of Merida keep you warm in Buffalo. I find it seems to help on really cold days.