Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Enter the Twilight Zone - Getting a Cell Phone

It's difficult to get a cell phone in Costa Rica, as only Costa Rican citizens and businesses are eligible to have one. Jim and I have spent the past month trying to get a cell phone for one of his new companies. Jim had the proper papers from his lawyer in San Jose, with all the proper stamps on them. We went to ICE, the government utility company, to request a cell phone. We were told that no lines were available, and that we would have to wait for a line to become available. Our friend in ICE told us that she would call us when a line became available. We checked in with her several times a week, and no lines were ever available. We were beginning to think that maybe we were never going to get the cell, when lo and behold, we checked yesterday and we were told that a line was now available, and that we should come back after lunch to claim it.

We came after lunch with 2 copies of Jim's passport, 2 copies plus the original bill of sale for the new cell phone, our electric bill (?!), Jim's Cedula de Persona Juridica, and a notorized, stamped statement from Jim's lawyer attesting to his status as a business owner. Things were looking up until our ICE friend commented that the statement was over a month old (by 3 days) , and we would have to get another one. I pointed out that we had been waiting for a month for a line, and that getting another one would entail another trip to the lawyer in San Jose (8 hours round trip) and couldn't she please make an exception?

Without going into all the details, suffice to say that after an hour and a half in the ICE office our ICE friend managed to convince the ICE higher ups in San Jose that we were deserving of a cell phone ("They live on a farm, it's isolated, they have children...") and an exception could be made.

The ICE office is very small, with only one person at a desk. When you enter the office, however, you have to take a ticket from a very fancy blue machine after you determine your status (Old Person, Pregnant Person, Disabled Person?) and the reason for your visit (House phone, Cell Phone...) I guess ICE wants to know who their clients are.

Next on my list: high speed internet!

great, send us the new cell phone number.thanks from auntie
those pictures of the car are unbelievable.
I know, that's really the Twilight Zone! I'll have to post them here.
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