Posts tagged ‘atm’

Kunming to Dali

I arrived in Kunming early enough, although what time it was exactly I didn’t know because my watch broke 4 months ago. I had thorough instructions in my notebook on how to get to my host’s house and I was looking forward to an easy 20 minute journey.

But no one could tell me where to find the bus or the street I needed. Stopping pedestrians, policemen and bus station employees and pointing at my map got me no where. For the first time in my travels I felt the absurdity of being a foreigner who cannot speak the language. Which way was I to go when the individuals trying to help me told me to go one way and (15 seconds later when I pointed to my map again to confirm) told me to go in the opposite direction with the same confident enthusiasm?

The easiest thing would have been to take a taxi of course, but I hardly had any Yuan and no idea when I’d have more. After an hour of bus chasing I finally did take a taxi, only to have the charlatan take me back to where my predicament had begun.

There are two train stations in Kunming. I had arrived somewhere close to the southern one and my host lives near the northern one. I had shown my map to the driver and pointed to the word “north” — but no matter, he still drove me south.

A bull statue in the southern train station. Notice his penis?
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June 7, 2009 at 3:16 pm Leave a comment

No money, no cry

This afternoon i arrived in Nanning, the capital city of Guanxi province. Tomorrow i will take a bus to Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan province. It will take 12 hours. The bus is going to be one of those sleeper kinds, with small beds in place of chairs. Three per width of the bus. Not too bad… i manage to sleep pretty well on them.

I’m about to commence the part of my trip where i travel without money. I guess fate decided to drop me from privileged traveler status to the poor earthy backpacker i already pretend to be.

My bank has finally canceled my ATM card despite promising not to. Not only that, but they made it impossible for me to access my account online for the past 2 weeks so i had no idea it was canceled. So i have 12RMB ($1.50) left.. enough for several bowls of scrumptious noodles. Not enough for accommodation… fortunately, here and in Kunming there are couchsurfers willing to host me.

I had a similar problem in India two summers ago. ATM’s in India are more scarce and the choice of banks more limited and i often had the problem of finding a bank that accepted my card. Once, upon arrival to a new city where i knew no one, with about a dollar’s worth of rupees in my wallet, i discovered that none of the ATM’s in this city accepted my card because of a conflict in code (Mastercard, Visa, Plus, Star, Maestro etc).

I wandered along the hot streets for several hours, strenuously trying to find another ATM or a bank to help me. Once a man inside a shop gave me some sympathy (he just asked me what i needed) and i burst into tears.

But even then my moneylessness lasted but a few hours, until i managed to do a credit card cash advance at one of the banks.

You may wonder. Why did i not take 2 cards with me on this trip after all those troublesome experiences in India? The answer is because i’m stupid. Because like those drunks who drive their motorcycles on the wrong side of the street and don’t wear helmets, i decided it was no big deal.

One of the first things i’ll do when i come home is close my WAMU account because they’ve turned into a very shitty bank since their merger with Chase. Meanwhile, i’ll just RELAX.

June 1, 2009 at 10:50 pm 1 comment


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