Archive for the ‘Extra-terrestrial Caribbean television’ Category
Friday, August 11, 2006
In Boca Chica television services can be served up via an aerial antenna picking up the dozen or so Dominican terrestrial channels, via satellite beamed in from the USA or by cable provided by ‘Economitel’.
Economitel has certainly served us well over the last few years and it seems as though they are planning to maintain if not improve their level of service and have even, with us at least, lived up to the economization implied by the company name, though it did happen in a round about kind of way.
The company is very local indeed serving just Boca Chica, Andres and Caleta… and small though they are they do offer a full range of approximately 70 channels with about a dozen in English and one in each of French, Italian and German. We have been paying for three connections since the time the company established itself more than 5 years ago and paying what we thought to be a very reasonable 850 pesos (about US$26) per month for this service. In July we suddenly received a bill for 1200 pesos without any prior notification of increases whatsoever. We naturally enquired of the company what this was all about, when we next time visited their office. They actually had a couple of posters up indicating that prices had been raised because they already had started increasing, and would continue to increase, the number of channels supplied and that new codified digital set-top boxes would be provided in August to further upgrade the quality of their service, although those who had maintained their accounts would not be charged for these boxes.
We noted that the standard price increase was 25%, tax included, and immediately wondered why ours was closer to a whopping 50% hike. It soon became clear that they had re-categorized our usage as fully commercial, but it didn’t take us long to put two and two together and realize that if we presented our factual residential credentials then the price would naturally fall. Those credentials were verified the next day by a couple of technicians who didn’t hesitate to classify our current use as indeed purely residential.
A few days later and the front desk administrator, now with discernible reluctance, –presumably motivated by her boss who she kept on talking to in low murmurs over the phone while we “negotiated” with her – slowly recognized that she really would have to lower the tariff in line with their own very clear regulations. The final result would now be a monthly 650 pesos -a worthwhile economy of 200 pesos- and far removed from the original starting point of 1200 pesos. We couldn’t tell what the boss was muttering to himself behind his glass screen as we bid them all a good day on leaving… but for some reason he didn’t seem quite as pleased as us.
Anyway… the future certainly holds bright for Economitel if they continue to offer the considerate economy options to their long-term customers as presented to us and also introduce an alternative internet service before the end of the year as they claim they will.
Sunday, June 13, 2004
We would like to bring you a short update on Boca Chica’s Playa Vista this week. For those of you who have visited us regularly, occasionally or even just once you will know that we do try to maintain an all round decent standard, whether concerning the service or the facilities. You may also appreciate that at times it can be quite an uphill struggle, as we are battling with a fair range of natural elements, especially the constant salty sea breeze – good for beach-guests but not so good for the maintenance bill – and the occasional buffeting of the wind, not to mention the ever present natural inertia in getting things done in a country where getting things done in a snappy is certainly not the catchphrase followed. As if that wasn’t enough there is of course always the impossible notion of trying to please all our international as well as local visitors all of the time.
Nevertheless… we naturally try to attend to what needs to be done with a vim and a verve and if it doesn’t get done today then there is always the local useful fallback of mañana.
In recent months we have been attending to a general sprucing up of the external décor of Playa Vista and fixing the ravages of the sea corrosion particularly on metallic parts. This amounted, apart from general painting and maintenance, to the need for a completely new Sony stereo system not so long ago as the corrosion had entirely eaten the insides of our not so old Aiwa system away.
Now that the basic maintenance has been completed we are even making plans for a modest upgrade. Yesterday we got off to a flier. We completely thwarted the traditional local inertia in an almost completely frictionless move setting off for, inspecting, ordering, receiving and paying for some brand spanking new bar furniture… all accomplished in a matter of a few short hours.
We shall now embark on the next part of the project which is to improve the televisual aspects of the bar with a real big screen… a move that in it’s own good time just might please all the people all the time even if realism requires that we might ask the impatient customers to wait for a certain mañana!
Meanwhile seven years later:
We have tried to deal the best we could, under the circumstances, with the constant barrage of sun, wind, rain and salt throughout the seven years and right now after a particularly trying period the property has been taken back close to that decent standard that we used to be proud of.
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
We have just reached out to space at Playa Vista…. We have stretched the budget further than ever before to bring in TV channels, and lots of them, from an outer worldly satellite, emanating from our dear terrestrial neighbors in America first of course. If you should be in town desperately seeking a specific favorite show, movie or sporting event there is a good chance we might be able to help alleviate your desperation and make a search through the 600 or so channels that we now have on offer for you. This has even allowed us to pipe any of the numerous stereo music channels to the bar’s speakers too for further enhanced entertainment. On Sunday afternoons we have even begun what we hope to be a regular football pool – 30 pesos (very approximately one US dollar) buys a square and the chance of a 100 times return on your investment, if you have the matching half time or full time score, or alternatively enough to buy everybody a drink in the bar as our gallant first winner did first time around during the Virginia Tech versus Central Florida game. Cheers!
Meanwhile seven years later:
The football pool did indeed become a regular feature and a lot of fun was had with those football squares over the following seasons always adding spice to those Sunday afternoon football events along with enjoying watching the most successful team of that particular era, the New England Patriots.