Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy, “You’re makin’ me dizzy, my head is spinnin'”–thank you, Tommy Roe

In the continuing saga of my mobile phone service, I have decided to dump Vodafone. I am serious when I saw that this is, without a doubt, the most disgraceful company I have ever had the misfortune to deal with. I know I tend to speak in hyperbole, but in this case, I am understating the situation. Why? Because there are no superlatives to describe these shysters. They make Comcast look like Mary Poppins.

The other day, I had to pay another $25 to get my phone (300 minutes) and texting service (300 messages) working again. Prior to this, I had purchased about 500 minutes of talk time and 500 text messages. I make about two calls (literally) per month. I send about thirty text messages and most are on Whatsapp. Nevertheless, like clockwork, phone and texting ended and I was told I needed to “re-charge”.

So I spent another $20 bloody dollars on service plus yet another $5 activation fee. This was on Wednesday. Today I received another notice that my service was used up and I would need to “re-charge”. I don’t care who you are, it’s not possible to use 300 minutes of talk time in two days. OK, maybe if you’re a twelve-year-old girl.

I and been panic-striken. As I had written on my Facebook page, I needed my phone immediately. I am leaving for Sicily tomorrow and I had accidentally double-booked a hotel room. I needed to cancel it before it was too late. Fortunately, I was able to do so.

After I had re-charged, I called Verizon in America about the possibility of re-activating my phone service. Even though the contract will be rather pricey, it will still be cheaper than using phone service in Italy. My tutor told me that Vodafone is a total abortion. Store clerks say the same thing. And if you are a foreigner, give it up. They see a foreign name and assume they can screw you blind. My tutor received a $1200 bill after two months of no service! They had to hire an attorney.

Fortunately, I do not have automatic withdrawal. When I get Verizon working, I will write the most scathing email possible to these people. This is what happens when a country has a monopoly. God bless America. FCC are you listening?

OK, enough of that. I’m biding my time right now because I leave tomorrow for Sicily. A bus will take me to Fiumicino Airport in Rome where I will catch a 2:00 p.m. flight for Palermo. I really can’t wait. The food is supposed to be superb and very inexpensive. My tutor can’t say enough about the swordfish. There’s an ancient Roman city, cathedrals, piazzas (as in all of Italy). Yet Palermo is unique with Arab, Norman, African and Italian cultures all combined.

I need this little vacation. I know, I know. Who needs a vacation when one lives in Italy, right? Well, as I keep stating, I’m surrounded by so much that a normal town just seems anathema to anything Italian.

So, until tomorrow, ciao per adesso. Palermo, I’m not even there. Yet, you’re makin’ me dizzy, my head is spinnin’!



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