Last night we went out to the airport (courtesy of Jonno and Ingrid) to pick up our computers. On arrival, we were told we couldn't have them (but they were there) cos Customs had to see them. Problem: Customs was shut. While the cargo company was open until 9 pm, Customs closed at 4 pm. And was only open on weekdays. So we went to Fry's instead and bought a modem and a router (which cost $17!).
I went back this morning to go to Customs. After navigating around between the different terminals (you can't walk, it's too far, so you have to take the bus;) I arrived at the International Arrivals building, where Customs was. It was locked. No sign, nothing. Yet the hours posted on the doors were 8 am to 4 pm. So I walked back and forth for a while trying to find any other entrance into the Arrivals building, which only let people exit, and getting rather frustrated since I had come all this way and the office should have been open.
Eventually, an official asked me what I was looking for. (I did walk up and down quite a few times.) He called Customs but couldn't get through. So he called another number for Customs, and still couldn't get through. So we walked over there, and I proved it was definitely shut. So he called the head of Customs, who said he was only 10 minutes away and would come down himself. This is something which has really struck me here - American kindness and customer service goes beyond the ordinary in a lot of ways. People are very kind and willing to help even if it is a bit out of their way. I really like that about Americans.
So I waited for around 20 minutes, while another woman came over as well to wait, and said that it was also closed yesterday. Suddenly a big burly security officer came up, and opened the door; he was a customs officer. About a minute after that, another burly man in casual clothing came up as well. He was the Head of Customs. He and the other guard went into the office, and I heard them talking about why the person who was supposed to be there, wasn't, and where was he and why was he taking a sick day without telling them?! I just needed my piece of paper signed, so that was OK.
So I took the buses again back to the cargo area where our computers were, and got a taxi over there to pick them up. I signed the piece of paper, and they went to get the boxes. They were wet!! And Brendan's was all banged up, and so was mine. I was NOT happy, but I loaded them into the taxi anyway and went home.
Brendan was very upset when he saw his. It had several large dents in the top; it was very damp as well, and the entire cage which holds the hard drives etc was severely bent out of shape. It was obviously banged around a lot and dropped. Meaning that all of the hard drives had come unplugged and every single cord was out of its socket and all of the video cards and hard drives were scattered around the bottom of the case. So basically his computer is totally Ng'd.
(technical rant coming)
Worst of all, all his hard drives are in RAID array which makes them faster, but means if you lose one, you lose both as half of the data is stored on each one. And we have almost certainly lost at least one drive. He needs to buy a new case as well. We have no idea how we are going to get this sorted, because we can't even test his computer parts on my computer cos they don't fit the motherboard on mine.
One of my hard drives fell out as well, and the other one makes a ticking sound when it works, and doesn't really work that much. It keeps failing. The one with the photos on it. I am very worried because I put my photos on Brendan's computer for "insurance" - there are around 33 GB of photographs so it's not something you can easily store, and I REALLY don't want to lose them! If his doesn't work, and at the moment it certainly looks like it won't, mine is the only other option. It breaks whenever you try and use it (such as putting new photos on). The main problem with our insurance is that I signed the form before I saw (and felt) the packages, and its hard to prove with photos that something has been water-damaged. Luckily I did take a photo before we opened them though. But we are royally Ng'd.
On the bright-ish side, Brendan does get an excuse to go back to Fry's. And at least his screen still works. I need a new screen anyway. Geoff, you would LOVE Fry's; but I've promised Brendan he can talk about it.