Thursday, June 25, 2009

Details, Details, Details

Well, we invited 4 of our single friends over for one of our Tuesday dinners; one was going to be out of the country, one was otherwise engaged on a regular Tuesday evening thing and one phoned up at the time they were supposed to arrive and advised they had a migraine headache and couldn't come. The friend that did arrive was appreciative of all the attention we were able to lavish & we talked about the election in Iran, putting ads in the paper to find a significant other, cooking at high altitude, real estate ventures in Ecuador and elsewhere and news radio. It was a pleasant evening and we ended up with lots of leftovers to freeze for quick suppers. Shelley has decided, however, never to eat smoked muscles again; they don't seem to agree with her.

SuperMaxi has been having a promotion for the last few months whereby you collect red & blue stickers (depending on how much you spend on your groceries and/or on purchasing specific products) and place them on this paper grid. How far along the grid you manage to get will allow you to purchase 2-for-1 airplane tickets to a regional destination in Ecuador or to accumulate airmile points. As of course, all the instructions are in Spanish, we've been trying to figure out the details and have been discussing it with several other English speaking SuperMaxi customers as to how the whole thing works. We finally found an English speaking clerk at our SuperMaxi and thought we had got the complete low-down on the situation, but it turns out our understanding was wrong. We had headed off to the AeroGal office to redeem our 2-for-1 tickets and they advised us we had to make the redemption at SuperMaxi. It's our understanding if we purchase the 2-for-1 ticket now then it's good for up to a year. We'll try again at SuperMaxi and see what happens. We have until July 5th to make the redemption; this we do know.

One can't underestimate the amount of stress that ensues when you try to do complicated procedures in a language that you are not totally comfortable with.

We set off to Supermaxi and redeemed the coupons for tickets to Galapagos. It turns out there are 2 options:

1. You can claim all of the Airmiles (we think there are a total of 6000 on the coupon sheet) by going to AeroGal.

2. You can claim one of the 2-for-1 ticket deals. There are several on the sheet. One gives you a flight in the country, another is labelled "regional" and is apparently good for a flight to Colombia or the Galapagos and the third (if you have completely filled your sheet up) is good for a trip to Miami.

However, if you claim one of the 2-for-1 ticket deals, you forfeit the Airmiles.

If you decide to go with the second option, you go to the service counter at SuperMaxi and tell them that you want the AeroGal tarjeta for the trip you choose. They will then program in 2 cards, a card for you and a card for the second person. Then you take the cards to one of the check-out counters and you pay for the trip. In our case, the fare for the 2 of us from Guayaquil to the Galapagos was going to be $290 return. Brian claimed the seniors' discount, so it turned out to cost $245 for the both of us. So, in essence we paid $245 and now we have prepaid AeroGal cards. All we have to do is get in touch with AeroGal one week before the trip (within a year).

After struggling with SuperMaxi & getting our discount cards in our hot little hands, we then hopped in a cab and were off to Direct TV. We've been having trouble with our satellite TV in that some of the stations come in only intermittently.

"You know they're going to tell us they'll send someone out tomorrow" Shelley said to Brian "...and then we'll wait around all day tomorrow and no one will show up".

We decided to make sure we got the direct telephone number of the person we were dealing with so that at least we'd have a name to call when the inevitable happened.

Sure enough, we have an appointment for between 10 a.m. and noon tomorrow. We'll see what happens.

Upon arriving home, there was an e-mail from our investment broker wanting us to phone and give details he couldn't receive via internet. Shelley phoned and at least we could talk to him in English. After the call, we both were exhausted and Shelley had one of her weird headaches.

There was nothing for it but that Brian & Fredi had to have a nap and Shelley went to Twitter.

NOTE: We're rather proud of ourselves that we can now deal with complicated matters in Spanish by ourselves. It's not easy but we struggle along and we're always very appreciative of the patience shown to us by the Ecuadorians. Our major problem these days it we still don't have the skills and/or confidence to deal with a complicated issue in Spanish over the phone. Apparently we required hand gestures.

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