America is awesome, right? If you want to keep believing that I suggest you never use a pay phone here, and particularly not one operated by Qwest. From my previous post, you'll know that I'm in Yellowstone National Park. There is no connectivity here – no mobile reception (well, there is if you're American, but O2 have no roaming), and no wi-fi. Whilst I highly approve of keeping things this way and leaving the parks as a retreat, I wasn't expecting quite such a kerfuffle from trying to phone home.
Armed with $6 of quarters, we approached the payphone and followed the printed advice: “For an international call, dial 0 for the operator”. Alas, there was no operator, just a machine requesting an area code and number. FAIL #1. Next I tried the standard international dialling pattern in the US of 011-
I was reaching boiling point by now, so we went back to the hotel and sought some advice. “Get a calling card” was the tip, so we headed over to the store and exchanged our quarters for a said item, which was pleasingly Yellowstone branded. This went a little smoother, although on the first call I made, the recipient could hear me, but I couldn't hear a thing; and of course I got charged for it. FAIL #5. Finally I was able to successfully make the call, but man did it take a lot longer and involve way more complexity than I was expecting. Lesson learned, America is the land of the brave, and the home of the free, unless of course you want to dial internationally from a pay phone.