Thursday. January 29, 2009…
Highlights: A day to catch up on sleep, losing my ATM card, not finding sandals
Pictures taken: 38
Travel: None other than a lot of walking around
When i checked in to my hotel i originally told them i would only be there for one day. I had planned on staying in Ollanta the next night. But check out times are extremely early and a late night combined with three evenings of broken sleep prior just mandated that i take a day to rest up.
I slept until almost noon. My clothes were not really very dry but i put on a damp t-shirt, fresh socks, and my pants from the night before and had the mission of buying some sandals.
My one pair of shoes is getting awfully rank. I walked the streets that were suggested by the guy at the hotel desk but didn’t see much. So i decided to find some food. I went to an ATM and marveled at my balance – three times as large! Then i took out 400 soles and looked for a place to eat and look out over the Plaza de Armas.
I picked a spot just in time for their “happy hour” special (i think it didn’t start for another 30 or so minutes but he noticed i was moving toward the door after looking at the menu and that the only balcony seats were taken). I ordered my 2 for 1 mojitos and picked a spot that had a nice view of the plaza and cathedral. I started perusing my guidebook and people watching the locals and tourists in the park.
I ordered another traditional chicken dish (i just have not built the bravery to order guinea pig yet!) with a great marinade, white rice and a bed of french fries.
The three guys sitting in the balcony left so i finished eating (but didn’t clear my plate!) at one of those tables and polished off the second mojito and ate the mint.
I stomped around some more looking for sandals. I just want a cheap pair of flip flops. There was a place that had the kind of sandals that have straps cross the heel, two across the top of the foot… but they wanted 245 soles – yeah, over $80. I won’t even bother haggling with a start price like that. I should have brought my own pair. I’m sure when i get back in the lowlands that flip-flop style sandals will be easier to come by.
I checked out the famous Inca stonework.
The impressiveness of this stonework isn’t really evident until you see the scale of it. These are not easy to move into place, mark, chisel, move back, mark, chisel… they use no mortar. Walls like these withstand major earthquakes – they build them at angles that make the rock lock into place. Here i am in the same spot for some perspective of size.
I kept walking around just following my nose…
I can’t really explain it – i love taking pictures of different doors and windows.
It took me a while to find my way back using different roads but i eventually got back to the plaza – still no sandals. I needed to drink some water so bought 3 waters and an AllSport for 7 soles. I then decided that the least i could do was stock up on some more of local currency because i’d be spending a few days in a place the guide book said not to count on the availability of an ATM. So i walked up to one and grabbed my wallet and went to pull out my debit card. Oops – it wasn’t there.
The only times i had my wallet out were – no – i had moved my cards so that there wasn’t any way the cards could fall out if i was grabbing some cash. The ATM that i went to almost 5 hours ago? I didn’t even know where that was. I went back to the hotel and dropped off my camera, wallet (except an ID), and bag. I then retraced my steps from the morning and found the ATM. It wasn’t at a bank – just a kiosk in the lobby of a hotel. I asked the fellow working there if he spoke English because i had no idea how to explain that i had left my ATM card in the machine and wanted to know if he knew if it would have been sucked into the machine or if it would have remained there for the next person to grab.
He said that it was probably in someone’s possession.
Fortunately i had my slips from the balance inquiry and the withdrawal. So i have the machine number. I went back to the hotel and checked my account online. My balance inquiry and withdrawal show but no transactions after that. I assumed that meant the machine had grabbed the card. I went to the website of the ATM owner and they had a helpful FAQ that said the card would be held in the machine if left for 30 seconds. Phew!
I have a credit card but the interest rates on cash withdrawals is crippling. And i’m not sure if the PIN could even be found. I called the phone number the website says to call but it sounds like the voice says that the number does not exist. So i wrote a message and used the online translator Babelfish to change it to Spanish and then emailed it.
Nothing i can do until tomorrow. The bummer being that i’m supposed to be on a train at 5:30 AM in a town an hour and a half drive away. Looks like i’m going to miss that train. I’ll spend tomorrow trying to get this mess cleaned up. I plan on using babelfish to translate my story and needs and then i’ll paste the words into a text document so people can just read it.
I’m such an idiot.