On the trip down, I realized that a cell phone would come in handy for phoning ahead to motels to confirm availability and pet-friendly status. We're on a pay-for-usage plan in Canada that does not include the US, so our Canadian cell phone is no good in the US.
I got the "big idea" of buying a US pay-as-you-go cell phone. I did a bit of research online on the way down, and zeroed in on Virgin Cellular, but the problem with them was, when you go to pay online, they are expecting a US-based Visa card -- the Zip Code of the billing address has to be an American Zip. This sort of thing has been a problem in the past.
I did a bit more digging and found a good candidate phone at Target. (They use the term "prepaid", rather than pay-as-you-go.) When I got to Target, I found a CompUSA store next door that had a clearance sale on. I figured I might as well start with them.
I ended up getting a TracFone Motorola C-139 for $14. (It sells for $15 at WalMart.) What's amazing about this is, this is exactly the same phone as I bought in Zambia! In Zambia I paid something like $60 or or $70 for it.
The purchase agreement specifically says that I agree not to tamper with or alter the software/hardware that comes with the phone. Which basically means that I can't take it to Zambia and "unlock" the phone to use it there or in another country with a different SIM card. I think as a Christian it is important that we honor agreements, although I run into a lot of Christians who just blow such things off and go ahead and do what suits them. I don't think that honors the Lord, and that it amounts to a blind spot on their part. (I'm sure I have my own blind spots that are just as offensive to the Lord.)
Another area that I marvel at is the buying of fake items, like fake Rolex watches and other designer-label items. I know of Christians that absolutely relish doing this, and also buying bootleg DVDs, CDs, and the like. But where is the love of God in this? The love of God tells me that we should love corporations as well as people. When you buy a bootleg, or download a video or music illegally, you are denying the owner of the artistic work his rightful due. Plus, when it comes to fake label items, it's a form of bearing false witness -- it's not really a Rolex, it's a fake.
Anyway, I've got the phone, it's been activated; I've got an Arizona number, and we've done a test on it, we called the phone, and it rang!
So, we're "good to go".
It will be interesting to see what use we make of it on our way back.
And that's the way the Ball bounces.