Thursday, September 2, 2010


The Rio Sonora in flood. The picture has nothing to do with the blog post but it is cool because this does not happen very often.
I used to be a Luddite, but now I am completely hooked on the internet. What an astonishing thing it is. Just think - an entire universe of information sitting right here in my office – and in your office, and your neighbor’s and her neighbor’s - it’s everywhere! I use it constantly…the recipe for a rack of lamb, how to make organic pesticide, a crochet pattern for a baby blanket, where to buy chai tea, who is General Álvaro Obregón, to buy shade cloth, to research an inexpensive support for pea plants, to look up the side effects of a new medication, to make conference calls on Skype and where is that restaurant anyway?

You get the idea…I’m totally helpless without it. I’ll bet you are too. So try to imagine yourself without connectivity. No e-mail, no phone, no information, no nada. Are you freaking out yet? Clearly when we got to Banámichi we had to get hooked up fast.

At first we used to go over to the Posada del Río Sonora to hook up for an hour or so a day. But this was inconvenient: pack up the computer, drive or walk the 4 blocks over there, hook up. Most of the time the connection was very slow—heavy sighs of frustration. Then pack everything up and go back home. An hour later Dan would be antsy again. “I need to go over and check my e-mail and look up how to get better internet service.”

Once when the Posada was closed, we sat on the front step and tried to get service. No dice. But then we discovered that there was something called Internet Gratis – a free service of the “city” of Banámichi. How forward looking! How progressive! How slow…and with insufficient oomph to handle Skype calls. We suffered with this system for a couple of months until suddenly one day it inexplicably died, never to be revived.

The antenna was our friend
A phone line with internet service was $40 a month. We thought this was too much for only using it only part time. Our friend Bill said we could use his service but we wanted to do it from the convenience of home. So Dan did massive amounts of research – in Tucson. Soon we had an antenna on the roof which picked up other nearby internet signals, Bill’s included. But said signal was too weak. Dan bought another gizmo to send out a stronger signal from Bill’s. So Bill’s network was broadcast out across the Banámichi airwaves, picked up on our roof, and sent downstairs to our computers.

Amazingly, this Rube Goldberg contraption actually worked. Until the power went out, that is. Then it took hours of incomprehensible fiddling to get it back up. Finally, Dan got it stabilized and it worked really well, if a bit slowly.

One day recently we were visiting Bill, and I commented on what a wonderful system it was, how stable, how reliable. I jinxed it, because that same night, after the thunderstorm described in the previous post, it went down, and never has worked all that well again.

The street without a name
Meanwhile a few months ago, Dan decided it was time to bite the bullet and get the Telmex service for $40 a month. So off he went to Hermosillo to set it up. In the middle of the day I got a call from him: “What is the name of the cross street by our house?” He was trying to tell Telmex where our house is as it has no house number.  I ran outside to look. No sign. I followed the street up to  Constitución, the main street through town. No sign there either. So Dan told them Calle Alegría, but that crosses our street several blocks south of our house.

Dan came back late that afternoon with a phone under his arm and a smile on his face and told me that Telmex had promised installation service in 24-72 hours. The time came and went. No technician appeared. It was time to return to Tucson.

After several weeks, the technician finally showed up and Tom let him in the house to hook everything up. When I arrived, there it was! The telephone worked fine, but no internet. After nearly a week, I had our friend Beto call them. I carefully listened to  understand his polite Spanish. Again they told us 24-72 hours. Again the time came and went and the little green light on the modem still was flashing.

A couple of months later, one day the phone simply stopped working. After several calls using the cell phone, Dan found out that they turned off the service because we had not paid our bill. What bill? We never got one! We had been wondering how and when the thing would turn up.

Thinking maybe it was a good idea to give them better directions to the house, we started asking around for the name of the mystery street. The woman in the Tecate Beer Depósito on the corner had no idea. No one else seemed to know either. Finally an elderly toothless man sitting on an ancient kitchen chair in the shade at the corner declared it was Calle Galo Treviño. Indeed. Galo Treviño. Who or what is Galo Treviño? Another internet project that couldn’t be done.

Dan and friend escaping the heat in the Hermosillo Walmart
Dan decided to go back to the main office in Hermosillo to straighten everything out. So in the heat of summer we dragged ourselves 2 ½ hours south to what has to be the furnace of northern Mexico. Dan came back to the car smiling. “Oh, they were so nice. Everything is taken care of. We’ll have internet service in 24-72 hours!” Lynn and I cracked up.

So Dan called them the next day. We both speak some Spanish, but on the phone it is especially difficult to understand, and people speak so rapidly. After about 30 minutes, he hung up and poured himself a celebratory scotch on the rocks. 24-72 hours!! Hope springs eternal...

After that time passed Dan started to call them every day. Always polite, he just asks them what the progress had been. Finally he ascertained that Banámichi did not have an extra port to plug us into. We have been getting occasional reassuring calls that they are working on it. I got one of these about an hour ago, but the green light is still blinking.

I have great faith that one day soon, this will all be resolved. Carlos Slim, where are you when we need you??


  1. That just sounds so much like life June! I can just imagine the whole ordeal. I wonder if you have service yet? Can't wait to see you guys at the end of the month. There is kayaking in Monterey by the way but I have not learned of any in Big Sur. Also, you can bike all around the campground and some people bike out on Hwy 1 but I don't like all that traffic out there. Do you have a tent? We have one but the flap for the top is missing. We can fix it with a tarp but if you have a good tent, you might like that better. Can't wait to see you!

  2. We now offer varying speeds of Internet at La Posada del Rio Sonora Hotel and Restaurant. We offer a pass code to all those that inquire, however the high-speed (high bandwidth service) is tiered so guests are not made to wait while other folks are using the service for free. This seems to make sense because we are not an Internet Cafe, but a Hotel and Restaurant.
    Our websites are being redesigned but the URLs are ( or If we can help each other in the future, we are looking forward to it.

    Can't wait to meet you all, in person.