Wife and child in the car, navigation not working, phone disabled, hectic first-day schedule which started at 3 AM with a flight from London, no international roaming on my Indian phone. To top it off, we were all hungry too. We were stuck. It was a terrible beginning. I didn’t feel as smart as I did a few hours ago!
We were to have lunch in the capital city. But this navigation failure upset our plans. I thought of my son, Anand, who had told me to hire a car navigator irrespective of maps on apps. But I thought it a waste and unnecessary. I looked for a branch of the car rental company to hire a navigator. But itthere was none closeby.
At last, I could see an Icelander who seemed in a rush to get into his car and leave. I almost forcibly held him back and explained my problem!
Fortunately, he was helpful. He volunteered to escort us till we got out of the complicated city roads. We had to drop the lunch plan and just follow the guy till wherever he desired to take us. He left us at access point to route 1. I was already in an isolated lava land. Fine, what now?
Good, a ray of hope! There…. I could see a fast-food counters attached to the gas station. Atleast one problem in sight of getting resolved. While my two ladies had a bite, I went to the young store-owner and explained my SIM-troubles to him. He tried his best to start the card, but could not. He was SIM card vendor too! As a last resort, I asked to buy a new SIM. He said, “Hold on.” He spoke to the Simminn help center in Icelandic for about 5 minutes and returned my phone saying, “there you go.”
It was an unusual smile. Was he asking me to to go away since he had other customers waiting for him? He hadn’t behaved like a rude person. After a glance at my worried face, he took the phone back and asked, “where you going next?” He set the Google map for my next destination and said, “Did you activate the card by speaking to the company? It was not activated”. I could not believe that my cell screen showing an active google map!
Being wiser now, for safety, I wanted to buy another SIM card. But the vendor refused. He smiled to say, “I guarantee, you will have no problem with the SIM you have”. What then was the problem earlier?
The label on the SIM card packet instructed to send a message to the service provider in order to activate it. What they meant was you had to call them and give them a message by talking to them, and not just send a SMS. You had to know the local language for it.
The vendor at the airport was too busy and excused himself by saying “it is simple, just fix the card and it will start working”. It did start, but for a trial few minutes to allow for an activation call. When the first navigation route showed up, I thought it was activated, based on the SMS I sent them. I am the smartest, you know now! Or is it silliest?
While we went through this frustration for a few hours, I was worried that Nishi who was new to such problems might regret having joined us, on the very first day. When I expressed my regret for this inconvenience, she responded, something like saying “I am fine. Nana, please don’t worry about me. I am enjoying every moment.”