Today's story can't be done in pictures, so I'm making a blog entry. This is very interesting. Well, now it is.
After having had the worst hamburger I've ever had in my life a day or two ago at Masrical, and having not eaten anything so far today, I decided to go to Finns to grab a bite to eat for lunch. I had about $27.50 in my pocket. I grabed a fresh squeezed orange juice along the way, which cost me about .50. Further on, I spotted a small sports type store, catering to moutaineering equipment. I went inside because Saturday I'll be taking a water rafting trip and I needed to get some river sandals, you know the kind that grip wet rocks, and are immune to getting wet. I had looked in several speciality stores uptill then and they ran around $100.00, a little more than I cared to spend. I found a new pair at this small store for $28.00, which after tax, would have made the drive out price $28.61. I told him I only had $27.00 (Which was the truth) and he knocked the price down, so that it would total $27.00. Great! New river sandals, great price. Serendipity.
New sandals bagged and in hand, I continued on to Finns. The instant I arrived at the door, I realized that a) I had $00.00 in my pocket, B) That I had made a policy to leave my Debit Card behind in the safe at the hostal and carry it only when I knew when I was going to need it. That was frustrating. But a friend bought me a beer cause I had walked all the way there at a good clip from the Hostal and I needed to take a little break before returning to get the card.
After finishing the beer, I returned to the hostal, and retrieved my card; I walked back to Finns, AGAIN, to reciprocate for my friend buying me a beer (at least that's the excuse I used); Plus, I was in need of one, since I was pretty darn worn out by the time all that was done.
Since I was pennyless, I decided to withdraw a couple weeks worth of money (BTW, Wells Fargo charges $16.00 to transact a $200.00 withdrawal), so I wouldn't have to withdraw any more until I'm in Columbia. I approached Banko Guayaquil and inserted my card (had to choose English) and proceeded through the standard dialog one has with an ATM.
The machine told me that there was a problem processing my request and to contact the bank. Huh? ...mind starts working. I knew I had the money in the account. I knew my PIN was correct. Visuals of being stranding by this bank halfway between the Canadian border and the Alaskan border were starting to make themselves fresh in my mind again. Every time I have left the country, WF has cancelled my Debit Card. But wait! I brought a travel plan into the bank, filed it, made them sign a copy indicating they having received it, filed the travel plan AGAIN (after I lost my card) with the new card number, JUST IN CASE, and I'm being shutdown again?
Man, adrenaline began to rush through through my veins (if that's where it travels). I thought, "This just can't be.!" I told myself that I needed to just calm down. So I paused and thought I should find another bank before I jump to conclusions.
I circumnavigated each block until I came to another set of ATM's. They looked a little suspicious to me, but I thought, what the hell. I tried one of the ATMS and went throught the same rig-a-maroh and I'll be damned if I didn't receive the same results. Well, now adrenaline (already present in my veins) began to flood my consciousness, I was simply wracked with anger. My heart rate was at least 140BPM. I couldn't stop talking to myself, god knows what I was saying. I probably looked like a forgotten Vietnam vet walking the streets.
Well, I made my way to Finns, and a British girl that I know happened to be there. I answered "not to f***ing good" to her bright smile and question "how are you today Robert?" I told her the story, the whole story, and nothing but the story. She said, did you try another bank? I said yes I did. Same result. She said, well, I'd try another. She gave me instructions to the nearest machines and upon hearing the location, I said "That's where I went for the second attempt!" You stupid f***ing b****! No, not really. She said, which machine did you use? I answered "the one on the right". She said, I use the one on the left, maybe you should try that one. If that one doesn't work, there's another bank on Colon about 6 blocks North, try that one.
Well, this sounded silly. Do I keep doing this until the card works?! But, I thought well, nothing to loose by trying.
I returned to the ATM(s) at the location she described and entered into the friggin dialog ballet (except this machine had no English selection, all in Spanish) I entered my PIN, Yes I agree to the fee. Yes I want a receipt, Yes I'm single... But this time "Bingo", out spews $200.00, plus $16.00 stolen behind the scenes.
Well, you came really close to seeing fireworks in the far southern sky today. Three beers later, I'm back home and about to go to bed. What a bloody friggin experience.