My Bank of America credit card got ate up by a stupid ATM machine this morning. Michaela and I arrived, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at the Madrid train station, ecstatic to be embarking on our travels that will begin in Malaga. Michaela had reassured me she always got cash out of the ATMs, so before I arrived in Spain, I had only 100€ on me.
No problem, except when I inserted my credit card into the frikkin' machine this morning, the screen went blank and rebooted back to the homepage. As if denying my existence. As if me and my card never happened. And to add salt to the wound, Michaela had gotten cash out of the same ATM two seconds before me!
I took a deep breath and tried very hard not to panic. There was a service hotline to dial, which I did. But of course, the automated line was in full fledged Spanish. Luckily, there was an older Spanish gentleman in line. We got him on the phone and he started to explain my situation. From his expressions and body language, plus multiple outbursts of "Balle, balle!" ( which means OK) I thanked God profusely under my breath. This man was going to make everything all right!
He got off my phone and helpfully explained that I didn't have to worry about my card. The bank will retrieve and destroy my card in the next hour so nobody will have access to it. But, he counseled in all seriousness, that I would have to call my bank next to inform them of what happened. He proceeded to use the machine himself.
Great! I guess that was good news, but it didn't solve my cashless, cardless problem. And my train leaves in the next twenty minutes, so there's no sitting around waiting for the technician to come open up the machine. I dialed Bank of America and wrestled with the frikkin' automated menu for the next twenty minutes before getting a real person on the line. This was not how I had envisioned using the 100 minutes on my international roaming plan. And ALL the help they could offer me was to mail a new card to my US address in the next 5-7 days. Not helpful, Bank of America. I'm canceling my accounts with you when I get home.
Luckily, I still had my Discover credit card with me, although most Spanish merchants haven't really recognized Discover as a major line of credit yet. But at least I could use the card at ATMs. Next time, I'll choose ATMs located next to their banks, so if this happened again, I could demand the bank open the machine and return my card immediately.
We arrived in Malaga and checked into the Oasis Backpackers' hostel to put up in an 8-bed all girls' dorm. The hostel has a nice spunky rooftop bar, where we had a couple of cerveza before meeting up with Anna, Michaela's cute little English friend, to tour the Alcazaba, a Moorish influenced castle built upon Roman foundations. The view from the top of the castle was amazing, probably one of the best places to get awesome panoramic views of Malaga.