I guess when you consider that in the not-so-distant past, vagabonds around the world were using the dreaded traveler's check in order to get needed cash, I shouldn't complain. It is shocking, however, how quickly one set of expectations becomes the norm. Traveling as we have over the last few years, standing in line at a bank is practically unheard of. The ever present ATM machine, that timesaving banking convienience that has saved countless hours of needless linestanding, has to be a traveler's best friend. And when it doesn't work....it is a brutal wakeup call.
As you know, we have had a money dilemma. We were in debt to our agent to the tune of $145 ($45 remaining for our Autografo + $100 loan he was able to give us), and I wanted/needed to get some money in our pocket and this debt paid off. Our Monday morning goal was to accomplish this and I wasn't looking forward to it.
Sure enough, by the time we had got to the bank around 11am, the entire town of Baquerizo was standing in line ahead of me, so I put on my "Tranquilo" hat, and stood along with the rest. An hour later, I got to the teller, and sure enough, she shook her head to say no, not here, you have to go outside to use the machine. Which we had done on Friday, to no avail. I wandered over to the manager, and proceeded to rail, in my most comical agitated spanish, but again soliciting the dreaded "no" headshake. Of course, according to him, there was no problem as at the next island over, Santa Cruz, there was another bank called Banco Pinchicha which would be able to help. I was aware of this, but I wasn't over on Santa Cruz, I was here on Cristobal and that bit of info wasn't going to solve my problem.
You know how when you call up the airlines, and you want a certain routing.....and the first reservationist can't figure it out, so you call back and reservationist #2 is no help, but you know the game, so you throw the dice and call back to wind up with reservationist #3, and she apparently has the magic fingers that her coworkers don't have. I've determined that banking works the same way. I had tried 2 different cards at the ATM machine on Friday, and was thwarted. After having no luck inside the bank, I went back to the machine and rolled the dice, bringing out yet another card, just to see.... Of course, that one worked. This third card had the same attributes as the first two. Shrugging my shoulders, I pocketed $600 and Ron and I continued on our way.
We were off to La Loberia, a sort of nursery for sea lions. We wandered through lava encrusted dirt roads, down side streets, and past the airport, and the sand quarry, and the newly contructed soccer stadium, and found ourselves finally on a road heading back towards the ocean, which had a beautiful course sand beach, and more baby sea lions pups than we could take photos of. We swam with them, took selfies with them, and watched not overly protective mums lazing about. Rays, tons of fish, and countless sea lions....it all feels a bit surreal to be interacting in an environment we have watched documentaries on, read books about, and heard tales of all our lives.
The Galapagos.....as a cruiser, it's our HOME for the time being.