“Ultimo?” I enquired.
“Yo” replied a local, indicating who was last in line for the ATM.
“Ultimo?” asked another local.
“Yo” I replied.
Then I waited. And waited.
Finally reached the ATM. Card cannot be read. Tried my second credit card. …Cannot be read.
Tried another ATM, and another. Same result.
Now I was worried. I’d emptied the casas de cambio in Colima, Mexico, all of their Canadian Dollars and Euros. Had already exchanged some for Cuban Convertible Pesos, but knew this wouldn’t be enough for my three week stay.
Knew I couldn’t use US Dollars. Had no Aussie Dollars.
I was stuck. How would I access money? Busking? I can’t sing or dance or act – certainly not compared to Cubans.
Work? Doing what? Certainly not in a country whose labour laws tightly control even the locals.
I was stuck.
I relayed my plight to the friendly owner of the casa particular in which I was lodged.
He took pity on me and drove me to a bank. No luck. Another bank. No luck. Then another. All the while chewing through the precious commodity of petrol. I couldn’t even repay him for that if I couldn’t withdraw some money – somehow. I felt terrible.
The fourth bank rejected my first card. Australian but American owned. My second card?
They took my passport, copied it. Gave it back, took it again, looked concerned, saw I looked worse.
“Si senor, si se puede.”
Published on http://www.myholidayflashback.auspost.com.au, May 2016.
Headline: Gracias a Juan Gabriel.