We awoke on day four to the sound of the industrial mechanical relays click-clacking in the machine room below. For some reason I felt immensely groggy, and it took me until well after breakfast to wake up.
In the room before breakfast I was checking the morning news and email, when the flaky wifi expired altogether. The front desk confirmed that it was a general problem. I did ask if they had turned it off and on again, and they said they had. I was advised to ask again in the evening. I could feel the shakes starting already.
Later that morning I went back to the room to get something, and turned on the tap for some water. Nothing happened. Odd, I thought, I hadn’t noticed that before. I hadn’t heard anything about the water only being on for part of the day. The mystery was solved when I went to the bar to get Helen a Diet Pepsi. She couldn’t have one, as the soft drinks machine was powered by water pressure, and the water main was out. I had mental images of an entire hotel full of slowly dehydrating guests organising a raid on the hotel shop for the bottles of water. Helen had to make do with a Vodka fizz.
Unlike other all-inclusives we’ve stayed at, there’s no cocktail menu, and I remembered that I’d downloaded a cocktail app at home. It’s called Cocktail Flow, and it’s quite simple with some useful suggestions. I asked for Sex on the Beach but I couldn’t have any (no I haven’t changed the subject) as there was no cranberry juice.
Lunch and afternoon passed quietly, still with no wifi, and so on into the evening. It was as we were preparing for dinner that I noticed a text from my I brother that he’d sent a few hours earlier. My father had been taken into hospital and was having tests. Dad hasn’t been in the best of health for a while, so it-wasn’t completely unexpected, but in these day of increasing inter-connectedness and the ‘global village’ I felt cut off. With no wifi to exchange emails or use Skype, we had the phone and text.
I had my work phone, which I didn’t want to use, although it could receive texts. The charge was low, so I plugged it in using my recently purchased smart wire that has three different charging heads. It didn’t work. This wasn’t a good time for it to not work. Most places have my work phone as my contact number, including, as it turned out, the hospital. We also had my wife’s reliable old-tech Nokia Symbian phone on 02. She’s never been interested in moving into the modern age with a smartphone, as her phones are usually trampled by horses, or lost somewhere in a pile of something unimaginable. Every six months or so I have to make a trip into town to get her the cheapest handset I can find. The phone is usually at home, in the car, or at work – just not at the same place and time as her. We hadn’t brought the charger for her phone, but it had a full charge, and that thing can run for weeks between charges
Without the internet, I couldn’t check charges for anything. l texted Jeremy, my brother, using Helen’s phone, asking for an update. He texted back to say that dad was being kept in, and he was going home as it was past midnight there. There wasn’t much I could do.
We went to the front desk on the way to dinner to ask if they had an iphone charger. They didn’t, but one of the staff said he had one, and he’d come and find us. We never saw him again.
l also asked about the wifi. Apparently the engineer had said there was a problem it was highly reassuring to hear of this level of diagnostic expertise. More importantly, it might be fixed tomorrow morning.
Helen’s low romantic point at dinner came when I was telling her rather prosaically that I love boiled eggs (which I was eating at the time). Apparently her brain processed the ‘I love’ bit, and (this is how women’s brains work), given that we were having a meal on a balmy evening, sitting by an open window listening to the lapping waters of the Caribbean, expected me to follow up with something other than ‘boiled eggs’. She felt so aggrieved at this perceived marital slight, that she felt compelled to complain to Princess, our waitress for the evening. I’m not sure how, but the conversation took a turn that ended with us promising to find Princess a rich American husband.
After dinner, back in the room, I played with plugs and wires to try to get the iphone to charge, but to no avail. I left it plugged in overnight in any case, hoping it might trickle charge.
That night the aircon seemed to be blowing especially strongly in my face.