Two Ways To Get An Internet Connection

Every year my family and I stay in Spain during summer for at least six weeks.
We’ll take it easy there, recharging batteries.
I call that the 4 F’s. Family, Friends and Fun come First.

But of course I want to be on top of my online business too.
That’s why I, many, many years ago, tried to connect from our house in Spain to the Net.
Here’s the true story that I wrote back in 2001. I only changed the name of the guy who helped me. To protect him. Rest is absolutely true!

There are two possible ways to get an Internet connection:
1. the normal way
2. the Spanish way.

There’s one ISP who offers free Internet connection in Spain.
Let’s try that one. After all, we’re on holidays here, so we don’t have to be online the whole day, like we do back home.

I had emailed them beforehand to ask for a connection. That was possible, but… I had to call a number in Spain.
Ok, but wasn’t it possible to arrange that by email? After all, this is the Internet and we were emailing right now, weren’t we?
“No comprendo, llamar!”

All right, all right. Once arrived, I called immediately for a free subscription. In Spanish and a few words of English, so numbers (my passport), user-id’s (stevens, easy to remember) and password (also something very easy to remember) are critical (small caps, spelling, re-reading etc.).

But finally we were through all that and within two hours I would be able to access the Internet.

So, after 2 hours I tried I tried to connect. Nothing!

Lets try to call the helpdesk then.

Spoke to a very helpful guy called Peppe, who talked to me in German and Spanish. “No, you’re not in our database.”

Patience Case, after all you’re a guest here.
“Then please put me in your database Peppe.” He promised to do his best, but I shouldn’t try before the next day, because today was too busy (mañana is the magic word here).

Ok, tried to connect next day. To no avail.
Let’s call Peppe.

“What’s your extension?”
“85162 Peppe.”
“Hmmm, don’t recognize that one. What’s your user-id?”
“stevens Peppe, with small caps.”
“And what’s your name?”
“Stevens, with a capital S Peppe.”
“But your user-id is stevens already, how’s that possible?”
“I’ve used my family name as a user-id Peppe, it’s easy to remember, don’t you think so?”

Peppe had never heard of that.
“Then what is your passport number that you supplied when you signed up?”

Good heavens, they have to know everything here, but then again, I’m a guest, so I have to behave and that’s why I give my passport number again.

After a silince for a while, interrupted by a few clicks, Peppe squeaks
“You have an invalid passport number!!!!”

I was barely able to grab the table I was sitting at. That darned helpdesk employee of the Spanish free Internet provider just found out that my very own Queen!! lead me up the garden path by giving me an invalid passport number!!!

“How do you know that Peppe?”
“I just ran a test on the number and it’s invalid” he resolutely responded.
“Can you adjust the number so it passes your tests and give that to me so I can call my Queen as soon as I get back home and tell her she screwed me?”

“Si”. That sounded a bit timide, even anxious, because calling a Queen is aiming very high and he probably wondered if he hadn’t make a mistake.

“Ok, that’s settled then Peppe, now, how do I get Internet access?”. Just trying to get back to the key issue here.

He then told me that I indeed was subscribed administratively, but I wasn’t added into the ‘connection database’. He would add me in there and tomorrow -mañana, remember?- I should be able to try again, because today was very busy.

Finally it was mañana.


Calling Peppe. Connected to an electronic bitch: “Todos nostros technicos son occupada”, please hold the line….

Tried again one hour later. That bitch again. Slammed the phone down.
Now my blood really starts boiling. Family members are anxiously looking for shelter. Holes in the walls. Air heavy with profanity.

After a short cooling down, one hour later I can speak to a living person. Only Spanish, but in all my excitement I can suddenly speak Spanish too. And I manage to get Peppe on the line.

“Peppe, I !@#$%%^ want my Internet access NOW!”
I also inform him, that my family suspects I’m having a secret love affair because of all these phone calls. To my surprise, he takes this message very seriously.

He could empathise with me and my situation.
Despite the fact that I was only a free customer, he realized that customers are king.
And with a lot of commercial intensions, he finally gave me HIS user-id and password. That should do it.
Peppe would wait for 5 minutes taking other calls, so I could call him back fast if it didn’t worked. Otherwise I had to call next day at 23.00 hours, because by that time Madrid had called in and my account would be created.

I didn’t understand the ‘Madrid’ thing, but I quickly disconnected, filled in Peppe’s data and hit the ‘Connect’ button and …..

DARN, Windows crashes!


Rebooted the laptop as soon as possible, Peppe’s data wasn’t saved yet, so I typed that in again, hit the connect button again, but of course those 5 minutes were long gone, so I wasn’t expecting anything….


Finally I was able to surf the Net. Using Peppe’s id and password.

Downloaded my emails like blazes, over 200, and tried to answer those who needed one.
What a relieve. Made my day.

Next evening I called the helpdesk. Got the bitch 5 times before I finally could speak to some living individual.

But Peppe wasn’t available.

So I had to explain the whole story again to a Spaniard who didn’t speak one word of English.
Finally he comes up with a great solution. He will ‘bring me in’ again under user-id stevens1.
Now I feel like a real prick. He will ‘bring me in’ again. I consider asking him to be very gentle with me, but I shut my mouth wisely.

“Please try again tomorrow, today is a busy day”. Where have I heared that before?

Tried again next day. Nada, zilch, zero, nothing, nyet, no connection.

So the end of the story is, that I still haven’t an official Internet connection, but that I can surf the Net using Peppe’s data. For as long as it lasts of course.

Thanks Peppe. Please wait for another three weeks changing your data. Then I’m back in a country where you can get connected within half an hour. The normal way.

Share this post using these icons:

Related Posts