The Good, the Bad and the Internet

Canada - Montreal November 2015 361Sunday was our last day in Montreal. Our plans for the day included Ron going to the cathedral for mass, the Catholic one this week, while I hunkered down in some café with a Wi-Fi connection. I emotionally needed to have our boarding passes in my hand for our flight to Mexico City tomorrow.

These frequent flier flights just felt too easy when I booked them. There have been hundreds of horror stories about the changes in frequent flier account rules and mishaps after rewards flights have been confirmed. Reading over the Delta confirmation, it stated the boarding passes arrive via e-mail, but as of Sunday, they were not there. I was on the edge of panic even after checking Delta’s website to see the confirmed tickets. This was an AeroMexico flight, so what if there was something lost in translation. There is a stupid requirement that you have to wait until it is 23 hours and 59 minutes before your flight before you can check-in online. Then and only then are the boarding passes available to print.

Ron was patiently hunting for a café near the church so he could easily find me after mass. We did find a non-chain pastry shop that offered Wi-Fi with password protection. This alleviated my concerns that rush to the surface regarding security. This was great; I could also pay bills while I was here.

I logged on; first, I checked e-mails to make sure nothing from Delta had appeared since the day before. Nada! There were 43 different e-mails from various ranking Democrats telling me personally by first name how much my help was needed and oh, by the way, we need your Canada - Montreal November 2015 304money too. I signed onto the Delta website. Bam, I was cut off the Wi-Fi network. It showed a strong connection by each browser: Firefox, Chrome, and Microsoft Edge showed the same sad page. “Sorry, you are out of luck Bucko! You do not have an Internet connection. Come back when you are Wi-Fi compliant.”

Here I am stuck here for an hour until Ron’s return and it is going to be a wasted hour. I complain the server who gives the ‘what do you expect for one coffee?” attitude. She does suggest, I disconnect and re-connect. Like I had not thought of that and tried it a multitude of times already, but tried again, as she hovered over me like a helicopter mom. Damn it worked.

With a momentary memory loss, I forgot that I needed the Delta site: I instead went to check on bills. After going through all the credit card sites, the next step was to mosey on over to theCanada - Montreal November 2015 356 banking site to pay what we owe. Just as I logged onto the bank site, which requires multiple authentications, the Wi-Fi went out again. Attempts to resurrect the dead did not work this time and I was ready to throw my hands in the air when Ron walked in.

Telling him my tales of woe, we moved on to look for another place. Near the metro station is a large, lacking a better term, center. It is a long passageway with outlets to various more important buildings, but it serves as a commercial zone. There was the ubiquitous Tim Hortons restaurant, but this one had neither tables nor an outlet to plug into. Pass! Down the center of Canada - Montreal November 2015 363this extensive corridor is a Christmas Fair. This is not just some run of the mill fair. This gives the term “high end” a run for its money. There are full-grown men walking around like toy soldiers a la Nutcracker, there are young girls with wings pretending to be angels, but without interviewing their parents, the jury is still out. The booths are not ordinary slap together wood booths, but white French Provincial furniture style. There are a dozen things I would have impulse bought without blinking if it had not been the travel plans ahead. With great restraint, I passed it all by, leaving a trail of drool along the way. I hope no one slipped on it.

At the very end, there was a Van Houts, another Montreal institution. All VHs have Wi-Fi. Yes, I hit is lucky. Well almost, the Wi-Fi here is not password protected, as it is the offering of the surrounding center, not VH’s own. Throwing caution to the wind, I logged on.

When I reached Delta’s site and put in our confirmation number, it redirected me to AeroMexico’s site. AeroMexico’s system did not recognize Delta’s confirmation number so could not pull up our boarding passes. After a good deal of hunting, I found the work around with our Canada - Montreal November 2015 360names, departure airport, arrival airport, mother’s height and weight at birth, and father’s drinking habits.

Success, I was finally able to have the boarding passes e-mailed to me after answering whether I wanted them all sent to one address or multiple. I chose multiple and put in Ron’s e-mail in addition. After checking my mail, my boarding pass was there, but Ron’s did not show up. Returning to AeroMexico, I went through the process again. Same effort – same results. Muddled to the max, I could not figure out what was happening. The third attempt, I changed the plan; rather than sending them all to multiple addresses, I just had them send it to mine alone. That was the answer. Now appearing in my mail was the third copy of my boarding pass and Ron’s first. When I checked Ron’s e-mail, there were two copies there as well.

Now that I had the boarding passes, I transferred them to a USB stick to be printed. Knowing that on Sunday, all the Internet cafés we checked close for the day a rest. I had to brainstorm a solution. Downtown, there is a Best Byte store with various other names on its signage, but the interior offerings look the same as the Best Byte of my past. I knew they were open on Sunday. Last Sunday, I was in there looking for a mobile Wi-Fi solution.

Certain I had hit the jackpot, it was a blow to my ego to find they did not offer such a service. The young man I had asked said he wishes they did. Asking for suggestions, he told us to try the pharmacy next door. Pharmacy? Sure, what the hell, it only takes minutes. Asking at the service desk, she tells me to go to the corner of the store where I can do it myself. I can print there. Hallelujah and eureka. Totally confused as to how to operate these non-conformist computer clones, the young woman working the area comes to my rescue. I tell her I want to print two PDF documents. Sorry, she says with a genuine bit of sympathy. We do not do that. We only print photos. So much for the Hallelujah chorus I was about to organize. Asking her for suggestions, she tells me to try the crêpe restaurant a couple of doors down the street. I had to have her repeat it three times partially due to her French accent, but also because crêpe and computer printing were as diverse as swimming and a blow dryer. What the heck, when you are on a wild goose chase, you might as well try all the geese possible.

We walked into the crêpe restaurant rather dubiously and then sheepishly asked if they had printing options. There were two young Asians working there, but only the young woman spoke English. “Sure, we have printers. Just plug in your USB. It is 25 cents a page.” Well knock me over with goose down.

In the back, there are two computers with a huge laser printer between them. Neither computer had been turned on. The young woman noticed this and turned on the one near me. After 10 minutes, it still had not booted up. She happened to notice, so came over to turn on the second computer. I was thinking my luck had spiked and was now headed south once again. Finally, the computer worked, I was able to print our boarding passes and we were free to return to the apartment to clean it and finish off the laundry.

We will miss Montreal. Seriously!

After completing my Ed.D., the frustration of finding a teaching position where I was willing to live, led to Ron and I leaving the country. We intended to travel for a year before settling somewhere in MA or RI. We left the US without any credit card debt, no car payments and our house mortgage paid by renters. We had $10,000 in the bank to make our way through a year.