Dealing with airline issues…More Madeira photos….

This little house on the cliff created a picturesque scene in Ribeira Brava.

With all four of our grown kids and their families coming to Hawaii in December for Christmas we’ve been busy booking their flights over the past 45 days with only one ticket remaining to be booked for son in Las Vegas, Nevada, based on his upcoming work schedule. Thus far, we’ve booked three of the families with children.

Already, we’ve been notified that two of the three family’s bookings have been changed by the airlines. The first notification arrived over a month ago, but everything was rescheduled for the same dates, similar times, and layovers. That process was seamless.

The sun began to set, offering brilliant light reflecting on the sea.

Yesterday, we received an email notice that another son’s family of four’s round trip flights had been changed by the airline. However, in this case, we were responsible for calling and staying on the line while all four round trip flights were rescheduled, two flights each way including seat assignments.

This has not been as easy as one may think for a few reasons; one, the hold time was as much as two hours; two, we had to use Skype to call. If we’d had a SIM card or cellphone service, the cost for the calls from outside the US would have been outrageous when we wouldn’t have been able to use the US-only toll-free number. 

Few swimmers at the ocean side public pool when the air was cool.

Using Skype we are able to call any US toll-free numbers by selecting our point of calling is in the US. However, we’re unable to receive a return call unless we’re willing to pay US $60, EU $43.74, a year for a Skype phone number.  

In our sometimes complicated lives situations pop up requiring payments that only add to our monthly expenses. Staying frugal in these areas prevents us from having excess fixed monthly expenses which so easily add up.

The road along the beach in Ribeira Brava, the closest more populated area near where we live in Campanario.

One may ask, “Why don’t you have cellphone service?” We did the math long ago. How about monthly fees plus the cost of international calls adding to over US $4000, EU $2915.88 a year? In over 90% of situations, we encounter Skype does the trick. This isolated case is not worthy of changing our minds.

On occasion, the problem with using Skype is the difficulty of being put on hold for any length of time which may result in a disconnect. Last night, this happened three times, each after spending no less than 30 minutes explaining the entire situation over and over again.

A pretty church in Ribeira Brava.

Realizing that we were calling the US during peak daytime hours which occurred during our evening, we finally gave up hours later, heading to bed frustrated.  If we waited until morning to try again, it would be the middle of the night in the US making the wait time and a disconnect on Skype less likely to occur with reduced traffic.

My night was fitful while feeling anxious to get up and handle this situation. These types of scenarios fall under my “to do” list. Let’s face it, we’ve assigned tasks to those of us who best handles a particularly stressful situation without swearing. That’s me. I only swear when playing Gin. 

A casual restaurant across the street from the restaurant.  We’ll try this spot too.

Tom, on the other hand, does better than I, when paying for products and services when out and about including car rentals, fuel purchases, shopping, and tourist expenses. How much easier life is when one plays to their distinct skills?

Back to the story. 

Last night, when we were frequently disconnected we knew part of the dilemma revolved around the fact that we didn’t have a return phone number for the reps at to call us back in the event of a disconnect, adding to the stress of this situation. 

Old houses at the top of a hill.

With a phone in the house for local calls only and unaware of the number there was nothing we could do last night. I sent Gina an email requesting the house phone’s number if we again ran into disconnection problems in the morning enabling us to receive a callback. 

First thing this morning, we had the phone number in a response email from Gina and again, we attempted to call. After 45 minutes on Skype with one rep from with no disconnection, after all, the tickets were re-booked and we received an email confirmation including satisfactory seat assignments.

The modern roads and shopping areas are a delight to see although driving around these areas is tricky with many one way roads.

Today, we’ll forward to the new ticket confirmation to our son without him ever having to become involved or worry about this laborious process. This was a frustrating situation, to say the least.

The sidewalk along the beach in Ribeira Brava, near Monday night’s restaurant.

Today is laundry and pizza day. I’ve already baked the two large pans of grated cheese-mixed-with-egg crusts with the Portuguese sausage now in the oven. We haven’t had our homemade gluten-free, low carb, grain-free, sugar-free pizza since we lived in South Africa three months ago. 

Two tunnels entering the mountains. It’s amazing how many tunnels there are on the island. Each time we go out, even if nearby, we go through a few.

Tonight is pizza and movie night, an enjoyable event in our household. 

Happy day and evening to all!

Photo from one year ago today, May 21, 2013:

At this time, the Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world with 161 floors plus 46 (previously we posted an additional 39 maintenance levels but new information has changed this number). With the upcoming completion of the currently under construction Kingdom Tower at 3,281 feet, 1 kilometer, the Burj Khalifa will pale in comparison at a mere 2,716 feet, or 827 meters. In the upcoming days, we’ll be posting amazing photos that Tom took when he rode the elevator to the observation tower of the Bur Khalifa at 125 stories. For the story of our date of arrival in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, one year ago today, please click here.

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