It took two hours and lots of hassling with Verizon and a non English speaking hotel clerk, but I finally got a room in Phenom Penh, Cambodia for three nights.
This is the three days I’ll need for recuperation from jet lag and to get used to the hot weather before I embark on the program in the Wat Khmer. I’ll have one more day in the same hotel, but that night is sponsored by the organization. Most other participants will be coming in on that day instead of the three day prep time I’m giving myself.
I feel it’s necessary for me and I’m taking all the precautions I feel I need.
I first tried to get a reservation online about a month ago, and I thought I had accomplished that but I never heard back, so instead of going on-line again, I sent an email. The reply was stated that they tried to contact me, but the email to me was not going through (I think that’s what they were trying to say). So I sent another email with all the information: three nights, a pick up at the airport, with the flight number, the time and the airlines.
Someone replied back that they got the information but I needed to pay in advance before they would send me a receipt. That didn’t seem right, and for another opinion I asked my roommate what she thought. Her comment was not to send them credit card information.
So, now what to do? I need that room when I get there because my flight comes in close to 11 p.m. at night and I need to be picked up. Otherwise, I’m at someone’s mercy to get me a taxi and take me to the correct hotel. Remembering in Turkey how some taxi drivers took advantage of me with the price of taxi service, and how many times, the driver didn’t even know where the hotel was.
So, I’ve learned and I’m more cautious.
So, I decided to bite the expensive bullet and call the hotel myself. This was late last night and early in the morning the next day for Cambodians.
I got the correct country code, and called, only to be told by Verizon that I needed to call star 611. Well this went of for awhile and I never got to the hotel, and it just caused me to be put on hold a few times.
Finally, don’t ask me how, but I guess I finally said the right thing when asked to state what I wanted after getting through to another number…it’s all so confusing, dear Verizon.
Then I got a young sounding girl, who must have been on her first job and first call. She was trying to tell me I had to sign up for some service that would cost $5 so I could make the call.
“Are you kidding? I asked her? You want me to sign up for a service just so I can make one call?” She spent some time rustling papers, and then gave me other reasons for why I couldn’t call. Finally I asked her if there was someone else who might be able to help me.
“Yes, I’m going to transfer you to internationally calling.” What an idea!
So a man who told me his name was Henry agreed to help me. “Your phone needs to be cleared.”
“Do you have another phone?”
“Well I tried calling the number you gave me and it rings so it must be an okay number.”
“I know it’s the right number.”
“Okay, then just hang up on me and I’ll call you back in two minutes.”
When he said, “hang up on me” I couldn’t tell if he said, “don’t hang up on me, or hang up on me.”
“You want me to hang up?
“Yes.” He said in a deep southern accent.
“Okay.” So I hung up and waited two minutes, five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes, twenty five minutes. Maybe he did say, don’t hang up on me?
I decided to try the call the Cambodian hotel and see what would happen. Maybe he fixed it and forgot to call me to tell me that.
I rang and someone answered.
“I need to make a reservation in English.”
Incoherent sounds from a mans voice. I thought he hung up because the phone got silent and I waited and waited and then I finally hung up.
A few minutes later, I tried again.
“Good morning. I need to make a reservation.”
So that lovely sounding lady got the information from me and with a lot of repeating and spelling nearly everything out, I got a reservation.
“Am I required to pay with my credit card now?”
“No, you pay when you get here.”