By MARY BETH MAASSEN
From 2005 to 2007 I lived in a village in Sonora, Mexico, right on the Sea of Cortez.
The village is 70 miles west of Hermosillo. The population is about 7,000, composed mostly of Mexican families who either fish, or do something related to fishing for their income. Stretching west and away from the main village is a seven mile strand of white sand beach. On this beach are larger, primarily seasonal vacation homes for wealthy Mexican families from Hermosillo, as well as some Canadians and some U.S. citizens.
Most of the folks living there from the U.S. hail from Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. In the five houses closest to me, three were occupied by former New Mexicans. I was one of the few residents who lived there year-around. And I was so very blessed to have that opportunity.
Now I could prattle on and on about the turquoise blue waters, the pristine and unpopulated beaches, and my long walks in the gently lapping waves every morning. I could tell you about my adventures kayaking, or hours lost watching the dolphins and the whales, and the long conversations with delightful friends I enjoyed during my time there. Did I mention the sunsets? Or how in the afternoon when I drove home, I would crest the hill and the awe-inspiring sight of the white, white beach and blue, blue water would make me weep. But all of those remarkable memories have not been occupying my thoughts lately. What I have been thinking about is the Internet service I had 13 years ago.
When we bought the beach home in 2005, it already had high-speed, fiber-optic Internet. There was also crisp, clear, cell phone service, and cable TV. Where I live now, in El Rancho, 30 minutes from the state capitol of Santa Fe, and 20 minutes from Los Alamos — a world leader in technology development, I have very marginal Internet and virtually no cell phone service. We can’t watch Netflix without it re-buffering three of four times in an hour. I had better technology 13 years ago in a small fishing village in Mexico than I do here in 2018.
Carlos Slim where are you?
I love living in El Rancho, and I understand no place is perfect. Living in New Mexico means constantly managing compromise. But over the last few years, in El Rancho, and I believe much of the Pojoaque Valley, has experienced a degradation in technology. Online banking and bill paying takes more time than driving directly to the bank and utility department. Students can’t get online and do school work.
Working from home is not an option. We re-installed a telephone land line because dialing 9-1-1 from the cell phone is not reliable. So why are we in this situation?
Well, I am not sure. But PLAN A is to figure it out, because three years of complaining to our Internet and cell phone providers got me absolutely nowhere. And once I figure it out, share the information with anyone who will listen, but particularly with those who have the power to improve the situation.
PLAN B, if my frustration exceeds my limits … I know of a delightful little beachfront place with excellent Internet.