Thursday, July 18, 2013

Day the Second and an Explanation

I am about to get into a $50 fight with Windstar.  Last night, I purchased their (as previously mentioned) outrageously expensive internet package.  (I believe I went to the desk said, "This is where I pay you a big pile of money for a tiny little amount of internet access.")  And they tried to talk me out of it -- informing me how spotty the coverage was, and that I'd be better off just looking for free wi-fi in the ports.  But I persisted because (also as previously mentioned) I didn't want to spend my whole vacation looking for wi-fi in the ports.  I figured I'd write all my journal entries offline, and then take a few seconds to post them on those happy occasions when a signal was present.  (They charge by the MB, not the minute, so it isn't absolutely necessary to do one's work offline.  But since the connection is spotty, I figured working offline would probably be safer, in the long run.)  So, anyway, that was the plan.  I wrote up the first three posts (covering the start of the cruise and the day prior), and logged on in order to post them.

Unlike several of my shipmates, I did, in fact, connect to shipboard wi-fi.

However, my site -- this very journal -- was blocked.  Stopped by Windstar's filters because, apparently, there is inappropriate content here.


Inappropriate content?  The only thing remotely inappropriate is my stray (but measured) use of an expletive here or there.  Does Windstar seriously block every website that drops the F-bomb now and again?

Fuck that.

I couldn't believe that I was blocked.  I quickly loaded another website, just to make sure I was, in fact, connected.  Other website loaded fine.  I closed out the other site and logged out of Windstar's wi-fi, leaving on my screen the "Sorry, your blog is blocked" screen.  I showed it to the woman at reception, pointing out that the only reason I'd bought their damn wi-fi was to update my journal.  If I couldn't update my journal, this was of no use to me.  She took down my name and my URL, told me she'd ask the IT guy to unblock it, and they'd leave a note for me the next day.

The next day is today.  I received no note.  After dinner, I went back to the same lady at the reception counter and asked about progress on unblocking my website.  She said she sent a message to the IT guy, and he received it, but she hasn't heard back yet.  He's (allegedly) trying to make an exception to their firewall.

She then adds that this problem has occurred before, with another passenger, and they were unable to fix it (although that was a different IT guy).  She says that if they can't fix it, she can only refund my $50 internet purchase if the plan is intact -- no data used.  I point out that I did use, like, less than 1 MB loading one other website just to prove that the plan was working.  She says she's sorry and they can't refund it if I've used any data.  I politely inform her that, should it come to pass that my website can't be unblocked, this is unacceptable and they'll need to refund my money.  (I recall signing a form recognizing that the connection might be unstable and agreeing that the package was non-refundable.  I do not recall signing a form saying that their super-sensitive censor may block my journal, and that I should check that before using any other data.)  I walk away from the counter with my heels nicely clicking against the wood, hopefully giving the impression that said heels will be walking over her head to get my damn money back if the IT guy can't unblock my blog.

(On the other hand, I'm about to submit my second bag o' laundry.  Windstar has a flat-rate laundry package, which I purchased.  I don't think they were thinking that people might approach this cruise with a week's worth of dirty laundry already in their suitcase, which is, in fact, my situation.  I intend to take full advantage of the laundry package.  Let me tell you how much advantage I am taking of the laundry package.  They also have a "premium beverage" package where you pay a flat rate for the cruise and can drink all the alcohol you want.  I am doing the laundry equivalent of walking around hammered 24/7.)

As for the actual day, we went to Dartmouth.  Setting aside the naval college (which wasn't open to visitors), Dartmouth is a quaint little seaside town with many quaint little shops.  And we didn't book a shore excursion for this one -- we just tendered over to the town and wandered around it (spending money). On a previous trip with Windstar, I noted with dismay that, in one French town, I tendered over only to discover that all the shops were closed.  Not so here. Here, our tender (a tender, mind you -- not the whole ship, just one little tender with, like, twenty passengers) was met by the town crier who greeted us, and a couple of ladies in period costume handing out maps of the town and cheerfully answering questions about the location of interesting shops.  I don't know if this is just a difference between France and England, or if Windstar planned better this time, but, either way, the shopkeepers and restauranteurs of Dartmouth were excited to see us. 

My folks and I had a lovely wander around town, and, indeed, we all came back to the ship with stuff.  (I bought some presents for the folks at work, and my parents bought me a couple dresses as a birthday gift; my mom bought a pretty jacket; and, after my dad left to go back to the ship for lunch, my mom picked up a nifty gift for him too.  Everybody wins.  It was just a lovely day all around.

Until the bit about the wi-fi.

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