Monday, January 28, 2013

Calling Mexico


That's really all I can say.

While hubby was in Mexico I had to call a couple of times.  To give Western Union numbers etc...

1ST lets talk about the phone cards.
Even though I understand Spanish, why is there not an option for English?  Are Spanish speaking people the ONLY ones who use phone cards.  After hearing "por favor marque su codigo secreto" a million times it would have been nice to switch it up a little and hear "please dial your secret code now."  You buy a $5 phone card and your "tiempo disponible" (available time to talk) is like 270 minutes and it goes quickly (I'm assuming) due to bad connections.  I'd call, the call wouldn't go through.  When I tried again...all of a sudden my "tiempo disponible" is 250 minutes.  Ummm, where did those twenty minutes go I had 3 minutes ago?

Hubby was in el rancho y en la cuidad (the city).  He was at his moms, his sisters, his brothers, his tia's.   I'd talk to him and we'd make arrangements to talk again later that night.  Not knowing where he was going to be, I was instructed to just call everybody until I found him.  It never failed I always got intouch once I dialed my last possible number.  No one would answer, the connection would be bad and I could only hear a few words and some static.   Once we finally connected and were in full conversation I'd suddenly find my self talking sola!  Hello?  Hello?  Are you there? .....silence
Ughh!  Frustrating.  The call was either dropped or the connection went bad.

I know my accent is not perfect...actually no where near perfect.  I've had this problem in the past and find it extremely frustrating.  Saying the number tres is a BITCH!  Occasionally I'd have to send money to a relative of hubby's.  Can't send it to him because he does not have a Mexican ID to pick it up with.  Usually I tried to text the code... but occasionally I had to call with the code.  Everytime I say tres the relative on the other end hears seis!  This can be very confusing.  I'm like, no no no, no es seis, es TRES! Como uno, dos, TRES!  Now imagine the call dropping or a bad connection while you are trying to pronounce TRES correctly.
(And don't get me started on using the 2nd last name when it comes to sending Western Unions, double confusing.... differnt subject, different post)
Gracias a dios que Daniel explained to me "when" and "when not to" dial a one after the country and state codes.  If he wouldn't have done that before he left I would have had to contact some of my Facebook friends that live in Mexico for help.  Times are a changin' and cell phones are everywhere.  Apparently if you dial a cell phone # you must put a 1 in a certain place.  I wrote them all down on a sheet of paper before he left.  Smart thinking on my part.  Seriously!  I felt like a mathematician.  Calling card #s, secret code #s, 011-52-(to dial a one, to not dial a one???) 866/867, then the phone number.  You should see my sheet of paper!  It looks like a was trying to figure a serious math problem out!

You never know who is going to answer the phone!  It might be the person you are calling or it might be the cunado/a, the neighbor, a friend....quien sabe! (who knows!)  There were 2 times someone answered that I wasn't expecting.  Maybe it was because I'm not use to hearing them speak Spanish but at this point I'm highly suspicious that "let's confuse and play with the gringa" may be a new type of international calling fun for them.    Por ejemplo (for example):
Me- "Hola.  Daniel esta?" ("Hello, is Daniel there?")
Other person- "Quien es?" ("Who is this?")
Me- "Soy Tara."  ("This is Tara.")
OP- "Ah, si, si.  No se fue pa la montana."  (Oh, yes, yes.  No, he went to the mountain.)
Me- "Como?"  ("Huh?")
OP- (now they are really having some fun and talking as fast as possible)  "Si, se fue pa la montana, la aloma, bla bla, cactus, talking really fast, caballo, bla bla"  ("Yeh, he went to the mountain, the hill, bla bla, I think I hear the word cactus, talking really fast, horse, bla bla...")

and I give up and hang up....  Call a different # and guess who answers.  Hubby!
Me- "Where are you?"
Hubs- "With my brother and ama (mom)."
Me- "En el rancho?"  ("At the ranch?")
Hubs- "Yeh. Why?"
Me- "Just curious, I thought you may be on top of a mountain or riding a horse..."
Hubs- "What?"
Me- "Forget it...  Whatcha doin?"


So, although it was nice to practice my Spanish speaking skills and learn all about international calling....I'd be lying if I said I was sad it's over.  I'm thankful for the experience because if there was ever an emergency and I needed to get in touch with someone, I could.  Although, an international cell phone plan is sounding like a good idea to me right about now.

What are some of you international calling experiences?


  1. Hahahahahahaha!!! I'm so sorry for laughing, Tara, but that is too funny. But I totally understand your frustration. I remember going through the same things whenever my grandparents wanted to call Mexico. My grandpa didn't know how to read English or Spanish so he couldn't understand the directions on the calling cards, and my grandmother was dyslexic, so I was always the one to dial. The worst part was that no one was ever at the number they gave you, but the cousin, aunt, neighbor, or godparent who answered the phone would give you another number to call. And if you were lucky, you'd only have to make one or two more calls. I so don't miss those days.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story Leslie. Glad to know it's not just "me" who experiences these issues. The relative giving you another # to call always happens! Too funny.

  2. Welcome to my life. I have all five of those things on a daily basis. I'm so tired of dropped calls and bad connections. I've found the best way to call Mexico is using the Vonage app on your iPhone/iPod. You buy airtime through iTunes and it's less than $0.08/minute even to cell phones. It's been a lifesaver. It lets us talk every day.

    1. Wow! I will have to give hubby this info! Thanks for sharing. Much luck to us on future calls. Thanks for commenting. =)

  3. That totes sucks! Bu a little funny, going to the mountain riding a cactus?

    Here peple always answer the phone "bueno?" . I taught my brother to always say "bueno? Buenas tardes/noches . Puedo communicar con mi hermana?" Or something else realy simple. And he always adds a "como esta?" In there somewhere once he realizes who ansrs the phone - but here there are only 4 optiona on who will answer, and they are always pretty easy on him when he calls <3

    I am still laughing about the cactus amiga!

    1. Hola amiga! Yeh, they use "bueno" but in all honesty I was so frustrated, I was skipping the politeness not knowing what I was going to encounter and just made it sound urgent...haha. When I have plenty of time and am in the right frame of mind I try to be as polite as possible and ask, "puedo comunicar con Daniel, por favor?" Maybe my shortness is why I got the "let's mess with the gringa" attitude..
      I'm glad your relatives take it easy on your brother.
      Thank you for commenting. <3

  4. Haha....awful Tara! Luckily I've had the opposite experience, but I think that's because my prima is Americana in Mexico, so texts or messages me on Facebook first to say when she's available and then I call.

    That is frustrating though, especially when you're trying to reach your hubby and used to having him there everyday, and then he's impossible to connect with. I would go ;)

    1. Chantilly,
      I was going crazy!
      That is awesome that you and your prima make available time so there is less confusion. I wish all of his relatives had internet. Out of all the family I called, no one had internet. =(
      Thanks for commenting!

  5. Hahaha that is hilarious, only because I was YOU 8 years ago....LOL!!

    Since moving to Mexico we purchased a Magic Jack. So anyone can call us at a local Canadian number. Also, we have "whatsapp", so can communicate from anywhere via texts. So whenever one of us travels it's super helpful :)

    OH and dialling a "1" after 011-52-1 is only for Telcels....Hahaha so if you have a Telmex, or something else you don't need the 1 first. Just to make things EXTRA complicated for any one trying to call cell phones internationally!!! LOL!!!

    1. Oh my goodness! I knew that extra "1" had another trick up it's sleeve!!! That is more confusing!

      Such cool info about the magic jack and "whatsapp"...going to share with hubby.

      Glad I made you laugh.

      Thanks for commenting amiga!

  6. When my daughters dad got deported I spent almost $300 on phone cards over the period of about 6 months. I. Hate. Phone cards. And when he would call me, he would sometimes call from like a public phone but whoever the 'owner' is dials the number and then when you answer they say something (I heard it a billion times and I'm still not sure what it was) and every time I was like 'Huh?' so I'm sure they all got a good laugh. And sometimes he would pass me to his mom or his sister because they wanted to talk to me and I was just like "uhhhh que? que? no te oigo. disculpa no te entendi. que?" It was terrible.

    1. I feel ya Josie. Phone cards, international calling, bad connections, dropped calls, it all sucks! At least we are not alone and can share/laugh at each other's Mexican calling pains. =)
      Thanks for commenting.

  7. You poor thing, but this is so funny! I was laughing out loud as I read your post. I can totally sympathize about having trouble with numbers. Also, I think it is so much harder to talk in Spanish over the phone! I don't know how it is with Mexico, but we call my husband's family in Costa Rica using Skype chat and message back and forth using Google Talk. Glad hubby is home now!

    1. Wow, I'm getting some great ideas from you guys. I'm going to share the Skype and Google Talk ideas with hubby too.

      Glad I made you laugh. You are right. Speaking Spanish over the phone is a lot harder. I guess we really do read a lot of body language because speaking in person is a lot easier.

      I'm glad he's home too.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. =)

  8. HAHAHAHAHAh ayyeee tuuu!!! I like "Saying the number tres is a BITCH! " issue is 4... so everytime I say it I like mumble it or say it real fast... other times I try to avoid it... but it just so happens i was born on oct 4..ironic or some sick trick idk... but i feel you girl... i once tried doing an interveiw in spanish for something and felt like crying...its like when you really need your spanish it doesnt work for you lol!

    1. That is hilarious! Like your issue with 4 I do the same thing with 3 and try to skip over it or avoid having to use it. You are right about when you really need your Spanish it doesn't work...LOL
      Almost every time I get a Western Union # and I have to call you can guarantee it will have a 3 in it.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. =)