Sunday, February 1, 2009

Allora, No Telefono Cellulare



For those who ask for my number, I worked yesterday on getting a cell phone. I had discovered I need an Aussie Driver's license for a 24 month contract. With a 24 month contract I get a free phone like the Palm Treo Pro, which retails for around AUS$900. When I buy something omnipresent like a cellphone, I am willing to wait to get it right. Pre-paid plans are easy, but much more costly per minute. Longer contracts are about 10¢ cheaper per minute with other perks.

I went to the RTA in Bondi Junction where Driver's Licenses and License Tags are dispensed. I cheerfully brought the forms of ID I was told to provide, and willing to pay AUS$150 for a three year license. When I got there I discovered I can't get an Australian Driver's License until I've been in Australia for six months. I got here in December, so I won't be eligible for a 24 month phone contract for another four months.



Not to be discouraged I went into the mall at Westfield and found another Palm phone. (I need a Palm to maintain the electronic organization of my life I've had since High School.) Alana at the Telstra booth was very friendly. She just returned from a trip to the States where she watched Obama's Inauguration in the freezing snow! She pointed out I could buy a Palm Centro outright for AUS$200 and get a 12 month contract. This sounded like a perfect split down the middle.

I got the last Palm Centro in all of New South Wales, and we were working on the contract with Telstra. The phone was a return, and the funniest part of the story is that it had been activated by the previous owner in ITALIAN. Italian happens to be my strongest second language, but the fact is that after an hour of trying with help from people all over the mall to change the language back to English we couldn't. Once the language is set on a Palm Centro, it can't be changed!

I could have gone two ways: accept this as a means to polish my Italian everyday with my phone's language of choice, or decide I am not meant to have a cell phone for another four months until I can get the best equipment for free on a longer contract. I decided to wait, and with the money I saved I bought a AUS$65 ticket to the NIDA Parade Theater production of The Yalta Game in the last weekend of Sydney Festival.

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