I Can Hear You Now


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The Winter of 2015 was pretty brutal, with record snowfalls, school closings and delays, and general mayhem on the roads. So when I had the opportunity to go to Peru on a business trip, a warm smile formed on my face. We landed at Lima International Airport, picked up our bags and headed outside. The unfamiliar feel of heat and the sunshine on my face was an amazing change. We were headed to the Miraflores district of Lima, which borders the Pacific ocean and is known for its shopping, parks and beaches. Much of the ride to our hotel was along the Circuito de Playas, which is a highway that runs along the coastline and is reminiscent of the California Pacific Coast Highway.

Each of us reached for our phones around the same time to call home and let our families know we had landed. One co-worker using Verizon had no problem. However, the rest of us who used AT&T were not so lucky. We had all coordinated with our company IT and were assured that our phones would work internationally. We called company tech support, who advised us to restart our phones - no joy. We tried fiddling with our iPhone settings - no joy.

The worst part was we could see the building of the main cell phone carrier, CLARO from our hotel and it seemed inconceivable that there wouldn't be a strong signal from were we were standing.

Through a lot of trial and error, a coworker and I finally figured out a sequence to get our phones working again. I believe it had something to do with the LTE setting interfering with the cellular connection. If you ever have problems getting your phone to recognize and KEEP the local cellular signal while traveling internationally, try this!

1. Restart your iPhone
2. In Settings, go to "Carrier" and toggle off "Automatic"
3. Wait a bit, then select a local carrier from the list (CLARO PER)  
4. From Settings, Select "Cellular" then toggle off "Enable LTE"
5. Bask in the glow of a fully working phone

EZPZ and happy travels!

Peruvian Business VISA in 10 EZPZ Steps

Anyone who knows me well knows I'm horrible with directions. My wife calls it my reverse super power. If there is a fork in the road, 9 times out of 10 I take the wrong one. So going to the Peruvian Consulate in Paterson, NJ for the first time might have presented some challenges.

Sidebar: If anyone has a Matrix or Dollhouse-like device that would make me good at directions, sign me up! And while we're at it, I'd like a cure for my tone deafness and the ability to perform a perfect Back-One set.

Back to the matter at hand. To make it easier for others who may be in a similar situation, I've put together some EZPZ directions on getting a business VISA from the Peruvian Consulate. It's not about the paperwork, which could change, but more about getting there and what to do at the consulate.

So here is what you do:

1. Park safely and quickly at this Public Parking Garage (bring cash)

2. Take the elevator to Floor M

3. Walk to the office building across the way

4. Take the elevator to floor 12

5. Walk down the hallway to the consulate

6. Go to the Information booth, tell them why you are there and get a number

7. Look at bottom of the TV screen for your number and listen for the ping for updates

8. Go to the back offices and find the module/cubicle that is next to your number

9. Do the necessary:

  • Hand the worker your papers.
  • Pay $30 cash.
  • Put your index finger on the fingerprint machine.
  • Sign the electric signature pad.
  • Strike a pose.
  • Go back out.
  • Wait for about 45-60 minutes till they call you back.

While you wait: There is a small cafeteria on the 12th floor (Kate's  Kitchen) run by a delightful Korean lady.

10. When they call you back in, sign a receipt, get back your passport and you're off!

I can't thank the staff at the Peruvian Consulate enough for their help with my business VISA. Monica and the rest of the folks were thoughtful and efficient. Great job!