Global Roaming Failure Continues:
Upon reaching France my first step was to obtain a French Data SIM. As the wife and I would only be in France for a week, and the in-laws were going to be in Europe for a couple months, we decided they would get the SIM, and I could pair off their smartphone. Finding an Orange store in Lille we were attended to by a young woman whom spoke a small amount of english. The plan she directed us to provided (Supposedly) 1 gig of data for 1 month, and cost 15 euro a month for the recharge. Its amazing what the combination of pointing/limited french/limited english can achieve, as without too much of an issue we were able to get what we needed. Unfortunately the account would take 2 days to activate so we would wait patiently for internet access while we slowly glided up the Ardennes Canal.
Two days later there was a small amount of excitement onboard the boat as we thought we had the coveted internet access. Sadly our excitement was not to last as not only was the reception intermittent, but access was only to last for about an hour before all devices redirected us to an Orange website saying the service was down. Whilst we were happy to contend with the intermittent reception (we figured we were in the middle of no-where and would be on the move soon enough), the service issues with Orange are causing issues, as no one onboard speaks or reads french (or any other language for that matter).
Google Translate to the rescue (or so i thought):
Coming up with a golden plan to use my own cell phone on global roaming ($2.50/mb), I figured we would have been able to quickly translate some of the pages and fix the Orange account issues.
Funnily enough I just wrote a post card to my parents, where I suggested maybe we would have been better bringing a translation book rather than relying on technology to provide translation services. $250 of data charges later we still had no solution and I had only learned a couple extra words in French relating to mobile account management.
Bi-Lingual Human to the rescue (Hopefully):
So at this stage, we hope to utilise the bi-lingual services of the company that we hired the canal boat from, and hopefully have some success getting our 1gb data plan up and running.
If all else fails, go to Germany:
If we are unable to get the boating company too successfully interpret (possibly even fix) our connectivity issues then the wife and I will be heading to Germany to visit friends that have a stable internet connection. I’m sure with some of the New Zealand chocolate we have brought with us we will be able to bribe them into sharing their Wifi with us.
Whilst our friends in Germany will help resolve our own issue, it doesn’t do much to help the Wife’s parents, that plan to travel around Europe (including France) for a few more Months. So hopefully we can sort out a more permanent solution for them.