The Road to Santiago.
September 25, 2002


7:00 p.m. (Madrid time): Sitting here very frustrated. Mr. Murphy was doubly right today. Jeremy, my phone connection guy, came back about 11:30 a.m. with the CD to set up my temporary internet connect.

Once he loaded the software we were ready to go. Or, so I thought! My computer indicated that there was a modem inside but upon attempt to program the connection the message came back that the modem's driver was not configured. The person who sold us the computer assured me that everything was working. I got the machine late last week and didn't have time to test the hookup. I assumed that it worked. What is the saying? . . . "to assume makes an ass out of u and me."

Without documentation, Jeremy, the phone man, couldn't figure which drive to use for the modem. I had two choices: 1) pay him to go back to his place, get on the internet to access the IBM site, download a driver, and comeback to install it or 2) I could run up the street to an electronics store and buy an external modem. I chose the latter. A short time later, the modem was attached and the temporary Internet connections were entered into my computer.

So, we were ready to go. No such luck! We kept getting a busy signal which Jeremy couldn't understand because it was to the internet provider and shouldn't be busy. After several attempts in vain we were about give up. I was bemoaning all the things that went wrong yesterday including the fact that I couldn't reach my home phone because of the Verizon Call Intercept which wouldn't allow me to enter my pin number. At that point, a light bulb  went off in Jeremy's head. "It's the phone — it must be one of the old style pulse phones instead of touch tone!" Shor' nuff. A simple change in the set up window and we were on line. (I'll have to remember to change it when I go to a different type of line.)
As soon as Jeremy left however, the mischief-making gremlins returned. New problem — I could read my email but couldn't reply. Every time I tried to reply to someone's email, an error message would appear and I would lose my connection. Then I tried to send an email and paste into it my notes, the way I do back home. The paste function wouldn't work. Then I tried sending an attachment that was in MS Word format. Nothing, nada, nicht, zilch. I was getting a serious headache and decided to lie down and think calmly.

8:40 p.m. (2:40 p.m.) At last!!  I finally was able to transmit some text to my editor. I hope it comes through legibly. She will clean it up and make me look erudite and will transmit the perfected copy to my web master who will post it post haste. ¿Muy facile, no? (Simple, yes?) Of course not!

I hope that the pictures that I sent to my web guru came across all right. I think my earlier problems were due to the incredibly slow speed of transmission. I don't know if it's a function of this computer, AOL, or just the traffic at the time of day. I was impatient because transmission to the web master was a lot faster back home. I think that in my haste I probably double clicked myself into limbo. I was getting desperate and trying to decide if I would have to reenter everything at one of the internet cafes (they won't let you hook up your own computer) or if I would end up dictating everything into my office answering machine and let my editor transcribe everything. I'm sure she would love that!

It would have been great to have someone from my "support team" with me here in Spain to check out all these technological tests and dine in the great Spanish restaurants. Would have made this part of the project a lot easier. But money is tight and I got more time than money so, as they say in Spain, "Relax, there's always mañana."

It's now 9:00 p.m.. Another hour and I can go to dinner (remember, Spanish restaurants don't start serving until 10:00 p.m..) Afterwards, I'll try to send some more pictures. Since the JPEG (a type of picture format) take a longer time to load, I'll transmit them when there's less Internet traffic and the phone rates are cheaper. Bye for now.

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