High Speed Internet Is Relative

This post will be redundant for those of you who follow me on Facebook, but it does contain additional detail.

Last night, as dinner (a lovely Moroccan-spiced lentil stew!) was just about done, I ran out of gas. Wonderful. So much for not having to deal with propane this winter!

I called my landlady and, to my immense surprise, immediately got hold of her. She said that she had ordered gas for me the day after I arrived and why did I not tell her they hadn’t come yet. Um, maybe because I didn’t know they were supposed to?

She said she would put in another order and then I asked if she could call TelMex again to find out what the hold up is. She said she would make both calls first thing this morning.

Around noon, she came by to give me bad news in person. First of all, the gas company said that I have been scheduled for delivery since the 11th and that it should happen between the 7th and 11th of December. OMG. She is calling around to other companies and her husband is going to try to jury rig something for me before then, but it’ll take a few days. The tank is welded to the roof, so I can’t take advantage of door-to-door delivery of little tanks.

She also had a brand new internet contract for me, showing that she had gone to TelMex in person. She said that for whatever reason, my original order was canceled and that the clock had reset for installation! I couldn’t even be angry at that point, just frustrated.

I thanked her for her help and decided that since I wasn’t going to get internet till Monday at the absolute earliest and was no longer tethered to my casita, I would go for a mid-day beach walk! I did that, wading into the surf to my thighs, enjoying the hot sun and the warm water. Being a weekday, there were almost no vendors and I didn’t get hassled to buy trinkets.

Instead of going straight home, I took a slight detour to see if the peanut vendor was out today (he’s next to the police station). Yup, so I picked up another big bag of plain roasted peanuts in the shell for 10 pesos.

I came home and continued to work on an easy but excruciatingly boring medical lecture. Around three, I heard a knock at my door to find a man wearing a TelMex shirt…

I swear that my heart stopped, my shock was so great! It took me a moment to recover. He looked at me quizzically and said “I’m here for your internet installation?”, just like that, as a question because I looked so puzzled and he must have thought he had the wrong house!

I let him in and showed him the modem box and contract. He asked me where I wanted my modem installed, immediately going to some outlet covers by the entertainment unit in the living room.

Here’s the thing about those outlet covers, which I thought were hiding phone outlets: they’re empty!


When I saw this the other night, after curiosity got the better of me, I was certain I’d been had regarding internet because surely they weren’t going to bring in new wiring for me, were they?

I told him that my computer is in the rear bedroom and there there was a similar outlet back there (conveniently enough). I didn’t know how to say outlet so I just said ‘caja’ (box) and he understood. He said that he would take the ‘alámbrica’ (which I eventually understood from context to be wiring) from outside and could bring it to any such outlet. So if there was one in the bedroom, he could definitely set up the modem there.

I led him to the back room and pointed out the plate cover. He immediately moved furniture out of the way to give himself room to work and examined the box, showing me that it is the outlet for conduit that goes up the wall to the roof. Of course. These walls are all made of cement or some such material, so the only way to pass cabling in them is during the planning phase or by having the foresight to lay conduit.

He went outside and onto the roof, then came down and told me to please wait, he would be back.

Time passed… Five o’clock came and went and the sky became tinged with pink. I resigned myself to using Banda Ancha over the weekend and then I heard noise. I looked out the window to see this:


The job didn’t take long after that! I heard some drilling and saw dust come out of the conduit, then he came down to see if his cable had passed. No. Back on the roof he went, then back down and he was finally able to catch the wire.

Each time he came into the house, he asked for permission to do so even though I left the door open. Such a lovely and polite man!

After he pulled the wiring into the house he asked if he could wash his hands. Certainly! I’m glad I didn’t leave any embarrassing female stuff lying around the bathroom. 🙂

After that, he addressed the long delay that I experienced. As it turns out, TelMex had a glitch with their ordering system last week and a bunch of orders didn’t get put in the queue. After three days, non-processed orders get immediately cancelled and need to be redone. It was unfortunate that I bought into the old mentality that these things take time and was so patient because if a call had been made last week, I would have had service very quickly.

Because, yes, TelMex was known for being very slow at getting things done, but they have really shaped up and changed their business model and now anything more than three days is considered unacceptable to them. So when my landlady came in after 11 days I was moved to the very top of the queue for today, bumping several people out of line!

After explaining all of this, he wired in a phone outlet and tried to plug my modem into a power outlet. My office stuff uses a lot of sockets, so I had a power bar, but we couldn’t get the modem plug to fit in it.

Thankfully, I remembered where I had put another power bar. I shifted some things around to make sure that what needed to be on the surge protector bar were and the rest, including the washing machine extension cord, went on the non-surge protector bar. It’s a good thing I know a thing or two about electricity or I’d be worried about overloaded circuits!

All that done, he did some tests and then told me to sign on to my network. The modem has the network name and password printed right on it. Not very secure, but convenient! It took a moment for my computer to find the signal, but it locked on quickly once it did and loaded a page in moments. The tech was impressed with the speed. At some point, I exclaimed ¡Esta un milagro! (It’s a miracle!) and he laughed.

I told him my sob story about having slow poke cellular service in Canada as my only option and he said that he gets a lot of complaints about how slow the service is here but that I should be happy with it.

He showed me that the modem does come with an Ethernet cable, but I have a Macbook Air, so I can only connect with WiFi.

He then put all the furniture back. I thanked him profusely and sent him on his way so that I could get back to work.

Of course, I tested the connection first, though! Download speed was just shy of of 5Mbps and upload around 0.65Mbps. I’ve been informed that that is pretty slow. Well, I downloaded an 800MB file in about 20 minutes that would have taken me at least 24 hours to download at Haven. High speed internet is relative. This is truly fast for me and I doubt I will have any complaints!

So yay, I’m online and the little white casita on Calle Cholita is home. Or it will be, soon as I can cook again. 🙂

By the way, the tech was the first person to not address my Spanish skills. I think he went to the landlady’s house first and someone told him that I get by in the language or there was a note on the file because he didn’t do the usual language assessment folks have been doing with me. He dove right in in Spanish, speaking slowly, and we never had a moment’s trouble communicating.

I still find personal conversations so trying (especially with my landlady who thinks I’m more fluent than I am and constantly needs to be reminded to slow down), but the more business situations like these I get under my belt, the more confident I become.

It’s been a very long good day and I have heaps of work to do over the weekend and it’s already 9:45, so off to bed I go. I can’t wait to have a moment to actually enjoy my connection and try Netflix with it!

15 thoughts on “High Speed Internet Is Relative

  1. Yay for connectivity! I stopped at a not wonderful RV park the other night and wound up with free, screaming-fast wifi! I actually wished I had a big file I needed to download. 🙂

    • Linda, I try to avoid downloading big files at an RV park, but I would do so in a not wonderful park to make sure I got my money’s worth. 😉

  2. Well done. I suspect that when he left and came back a while later that he took the panga into Maz to get the parts. I have been wanting to set up our own system similar to this but have been told that it will still be as slow/bad/intermittent as the current system at Tres Amigos as we are using the same cable connections. I don’t agree as you have proven and as the RV on the other side of the road from us have proven. When you have a chance can you send me the cost info and if there is a minimum number of months this has to be set up. Gracias

    • Contessa, I also suspect that he went back to Maz! As I said in my email, I think you will be better served with your own connection. I have no idea on the cost and whatnot since my landlady took care of it all for me as it’s included in the rent.

  3. “This post will be redundant for those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook, …”

    Man/Woman can not live on bread alone, he/she must have INTERNET!

  4. Nice to hear that you finally got an internet connection in your apartment. FYI my MacBook Pro Classic has an Ethernet port. You might want to check yours, as it could provide a faster connection with the right cable.

  5. My old Macbook Pro had an Ethernet port, but the Air doesn’t. There is a USB to Ethernet dongle thing that Apple sells for $30, but I obviously can’t get it here.

  6. As long as my connection can upload faster than I can type, I consider it ‘fast enough’. 😉

    So good to see you got connected, it will make life much easier but you will still have to go down to the beach for a cold (full size) beer and a sunset once in a while!

  7. Of course you can come watch from my house from time to time. Carmelita’s will stay open later if you get there before 6PM . Also El Velero will stay open if you let them know you are coming at a certain time for dinner.

    • I can’t wait for you to get here. 🙂

      Carmelita’s has been closing at 4:30ish.

      El Velero is the only place I’ve eaten at so far, when I had the tacos for breakfast.

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