The only problem is that everything needs checking. Telephone numbers, addresses, website, opening hours, admission fees and whether bars, hotels and restaurants are still open and are still worthy of inclusion in the guide.
The first step is to call them. And that is where everything goes wrong. Dominicans change their phone numbers more often than I change my knickers. And when you change your phone to a different one, the number you had is then given to someone else. Most of the calls I make are to a wrong number. I think I am calling a restaurant and I talk to a plumber. Then trying to find out the new number is almost impossible as all websites and phone directories have the old number. It should however be said that the museums have been fabulous. They all have the right number, which is answered immediately, politely and with all of the information I need.
|Museum of the Dominican Man|
Also I have to call government departments. Usually the number works, but you speak to the switchboard and they say they will transfer you to the appropriate department, and when they transfer you, you invariably go straight to voice mail, and invariably the message says that the mail box is full. It has now got to the stage that when the switchboard operator tells me she will transfer me I am pleading with her not to, and can she just not go and fetch the person I need to speak to! They never will!
It has also been interesting to see that customer service is alive and well - not. I am putting some new restaurants and bars into the guide, to replace ones that are closed and I need photographs of the new ones. This guide is totally free and should result in increased business for the establishments concerned. Do they respond to an email request to send a photo - in most cases not a squeak. If I speak to them on the phone, guess what happens? Yes, whoever answers the phone transfers me to a full mail box.
I used to wonder why so many guide books about the country were so inaccurate. Now I know!
On a lighter note, it is Chivirico's birthday on Saturday so we are all going to a local swimming pool at the weekend which I will report on next week. In the meantime he is spending a few days with his Dad and stepmother. Here he was leaving yesterday. His stepmother is on the back, his half sister driving the bike, followed by his dad and his younger brother. Standard means of transport!