So, I have reservations for tickets, hotel, train, and I just got e-mail from Sven about where we're going to meet, "Central station." I hope I can find it. Weather looks cool and wet. I will remember to bring umbrella and jacket. Passports ready and on standby. After dealing with some pretty clueless $6/hr phone apes at Cingular, I *think* I have international cell access. Yes, I know it's expensive, $1.29 minute, but it's better than being trapped with NO way to reach people in case of emergency and typical "where you at?" scenarios, but we'll find out, won't we? Hah!
You know how HARD it is to get a real person on toll-free systems? I only had to call credit card/ATM/cell phone companies to say I'd be overseas. Since it was never an option on their menu systems, I had to keep hitting "0" over and over until it defaulted to a real person. One already knew because they called me on a previous issue, so I didn't have to call them. One couldn't do anything because Sanjeej said "dey phun dysdem ess down okey?" I have to call back later. One got me though after a fight with a voice-automation system, where hitting "0" only got me to a main menu, and another just hung up. I ended up having to get to the fraud division before I got a real person for those two cards. Amex was nice, my bank was... not so nice. Then I had to call AA because of a confusion on where my luggage goes though Heathrow; I got some advice to check this procedure, and based on the confusion last time I came back through Amsterdam, I wanted to make sure I didn't have to go through Customs in London. I don't. *whew!*
Side note, one said, "This call will be recorded for security and training purposes. If you do not wish to be recorded, write us at..." Um. If I didn't want to be recorded, I doubt documenting my question would be much better. "Illiterate? Write for free help at..."
Anyway, after calling all these people, my temper got shorter and shorter, which is the direct result of some people who answer the phone like you have rudely interrupted their din-nah pah-tay. "And what do YOU want?" they seem to ask.