Sex, Drugs, and Public Health

November 17, 2011

Should have remembered this

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbmosher @ 3:24 am

I needed some local money. Bolivianos. The hotel directed me to the nearest bank. A National Bank of Bolivia. Sounds good, top of the banking heap.

Outside were three heavily armed, stern faced adolescents in uniform. Taking their bank seriously. I fought back an urge to tell my name was not Butch.

Inside, a mob. Really. Twenty chairs for waiting, all full, and another 20 milling around. No lines leading to tellers. Episodically, someone got up to go to a window. “Ping” went a sound. Another person got up. Oh, oh. Do I need, like, a ticket? As in “take a number?” New people streaming in, and surrounding a small, well dressed girl gave me the answer. I worked over to her, but a half dozen folks who came in after me now had numbers before me. I sat, clinging to my ticket, and watched a screen telling each number which window to approach.

After that, it went like this : wait ; cop marches over and tells me to take off my sunglasses (I fight an urge to tell him my name is not “Sundance” either) ; I get called ; “we do not take Traveller Checks at this window. You need a different number” ; get a different number ; wait ; new window ; “I will need to talk to my supervisor” ; she disappears ; wait ; finally, “we do not take Traveller Checks. “Buenos dias” ; ·Can I get cash from my VISA?” ; “give me your passport” ; wait ; “sign here – – and here – – – and here – – – now write in your passprt number here” ; “but you have a COPY of my passport. Why do I need to put the number?” ; I get a vacant look implying I just asked a really stupid question ; I write in my passport number ; get another number ; sit down ; wait ; get called ; “where is the duplicate of this form?” ; “this is all Paola gave me. You can speak to her. She works right over there” ; she looks confused, but tries to hide it ; she shrugs and counts out the money ; as I leave, I pass the cops again but do not worry. By now it is too late for sunglasses.

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