Today I hiked from Mata de Canas (the town where the house is) to Nuevo Arenal (the larger, neighboring town). Being Saturday, the bank was not open (yes, there’s only one) but I tried to use the ATM outside the bank. After the machine said “transaction canceled” for the second time, I wondered if maybe their network couldn’t connect to my U.S. Internet bank. So I tried the “check balance” option. It connected fine, but gave me a balance of zero. Zero!
Naturally, I was a bit concerned. Had some nefarious shyster stolen my identity and drained my bank account? I went directly to the grocery store and purchased a milk box (like a Hi-C juice box, but with caramel flavored milk). When the cashier rang up my purchase (U.S. equivalent of 40 cents) I handed over my debit card. (I know she was wondering what kind of freak charges a 40 cent purchase, and that answer is me when I’m testing whether or not I’ve been ruined.) Thankfully, the charge went through just fine, so I’m forced to assume the ATM was out of whack, not my bank account. Whew!
On my way back to the house (where some actual progress was made on the to-do list of reasons we came down) a man on horseback stopped me. He said, (in Spanish) “Would you like me to take your photo?” Realizing I was clutching my camera in a classic tourist pose, I said, “Sure, why not?” He then leapt down from his horse and said, “Go on. Get up!” To which I said something brilliant, like, “Uhhh… get on your horse?” And he said, “Yes, yes, I will photo you riding my horse.”
So I shrugged, said OK, and hopped onto his horse. He took the camera from me, and after some minor technical difficulties (he first looked into the lens side instead of the LCD screen side) he managed to take my photo. He then helped me down from the horse, handed me back my camera, and rode off.
Your turn. I want to know your experiences with ATM cards freaking out (surely I can’t be alone in this!) or random conversations with strangers.