Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Using Your Cell Phone Abroad

Using your cell phone abroad can be nightmare or impossible. If you are going outside the country for vacation make sure your cell phone carrier has an international plan and make sure you get the actual cost per minute when calling back home. Charges can add up quite fast. It isn't uncommon to get home and receive a $300 bill for the week that you were away.

There are several options you can use. We have done these three:
1) Use our own phone with an international plan and roaming charge. First you have to set this up through your carrier. They transfer you to someone to verify who you are and to check your records to make sure your not a terrorist (and they go way back in your files). And then when you do get to your destination your phone sometimes works and sometimes doesn't but you do have a phone to connect to your family and work back home.  Now it's a little easier because you can send a text and when you do get a slight signal it will go through.
Not all carriers have international plans:
AT&T – YES
Verizon – NO
Sprint – NO
Nextel - NO
T-Mobile - SOME

2)Rent a international phone. This is pretty handy. You can rent a cell phone for a short period of time without a contract. They will send you your phone via mail carrier and it is all set up and ready to go. All you have to do is rent the phone and prepay for your minutes. Possible rates as shown*
*Rental Rates
$3 per day (Min 7 days)
Optional Theft & Loss Protection $1 per day (with $40 deductible)
Call charges
Incoming Calls $1.50 per minute
National Calls $1.50 per minute
International Calls $2.50 per minute
But this phone should reach most places. Just verify the exact location that you will be traveling to to make sure your not carrying around extra weight for no reason. It also helps by renting a phone instead of bringing along your $400 Black Berry (I think that is how much they are these days) into the salt air or into the rain forest for a hike. You can contact companies like http://www.cellularabroad.com/ 
http://www.mobal.com/cell-phone-rental/ and there is plenty of companies out there with different rates.
Now you can buy an international phone cheaper than you can rent one. Just find one that doesn't charge monthly fees. Mobal I think has a phone for $50.00 bucks without a big contract.

http://www.paradise-computers.com
3)Renting a phone in the country you are traveling to. This in my opinion is the best. It is a lot cheaper to call back home than to pay for roaming international fees from your local carrier.
And you can preorder your phone before you get there, and have it delivered to your hotel or airport.
It's a lot easier than you might think. Most computer shops have them also for rent.

We have also tested our Majic Jack phone. We packed a simple phone and when we got a wireless signal we were able to use the Majic Jack. And since we were calling home, it didn't cost anything extra!
So if you will be staying more than a week, I would suggest buying one of these and a cheap phone to bring with you. It was worth it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Grillied Pineapple

Grilled Pineapple
Heres an attractive dish that goes perfect with any grilled food.

You will need the following ingredients.
  • a ripe pineapple (imagine that)
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1-2 shots of Tequila ( I also like to substitute with flavored rum, like coconut) 
First lets go over the selection of the perfect pineapple. When at the market or the produce stand carefully thump the pineapple with the side of your thumb. You are looking for a thump sound and not a tap sound. you will here the difference as you do it. This will give us a ripe Pineapple. I have found that the ones from Costa Rica or Honduras seem to be sweeter.

Slice the pineapple length ways  through the top but leave the top. I usually slice the core almost all the way through on both sides so that I can just pop it out after its done.
Place the 2 half's face up on a cookie sheet or pan that will fit into your fridge.

Next in a small boiler heat the soy sauce, brown sugar, and honey. Stir the contents until almost liquid. Once its ready take it off the stove ( I say this for safety purposes) and add tequila.

Baste the pineapple with this and save the remaining liquid to use later.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for minimum of an hour.

Now you are ready for the grill. Its not necessary, but if you have it, use aluminum foil to place the pineapple on to keep it from cooking the bottom to quickly.

Place the pineapple face up and off to the side. Let cook for about an hour while basting every once and a while to keep it moist.  At the end of the hour, turn the pineapple face down on the grill to finish cooking and will add the perfect color and grill marks also. Let grill until your liking.

Now you have a perfect side dish or desert. Great hot or cold.
                                                                                          



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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Petey the cool parrot

    So we're in our room on the second floor trying to get a internet connection. The wife and I are balancing the computer on the window ledge trying to keep it from falling to its doom. When we looked up and there is this cool parrot less than 2 feet from us, peering in as to say hello and what are you doing? It only moved a little at a time and that was mostly its head trying to get a better peek.
The next morning at breakfast we asked Jeff the owner of Casa Calico about the parrot.
He said the bird was there when he bought the place. Its name was Petey.  While we ate breakfast that Jeff prepared (which was great and more than I could eat), Petey came for breakfast also, waiting patiently for a bite of toast.
He walked across the outside deck like he owned the place. What a great bird. We fell in love with Petey and he was one of the highlights of our trip to Roatan Honduras. We had a great time while we were there and it was so relaxing without the typical resort hustle and bustle. No schedule and no shoes.