I was feeling blue. The end of the year caught me almost off guard. I woke up crying and hadn’t eaten much. It was December 31st, and my mind was divided between the USA and Colombia… I couldn’t focus on any task as simple as this would appear.
I needed cash for a taxi because I was going to attend an end-of-year party at Shangri-La Hotel that night, so a little bit against my own body I took a bus to the mall. Traffic was awful. Even though the Chinese New Year date is different from the Western New Year, everybody was out and about making the streets and transportation more crowded than usual.
I inserted the card in the ATM, took the cash and left. I completely forgot to take the card back from the slot. I noticed later, when I was almost ready to leave my apartment…
January first was Sunday and a holiday so I decided not to go anywhere. On Monday the second I stood at the bus stop for quiet a while. Buses were scarce and packed. Luckily the bank was almost empty.
“Passport please.” The teller looks at me not knowing how to ask, so I tell her, “I lost my debit card.”
“Do you remember your card number?”
“No.” She calls another teller who understands English a little better. She becomes my interpreter.
“Do you want the same card number or it’s okay to have another number?”
“It doesn’t matter. Any card, I just need a card.” As soon as I said this I remembered I’m in China!, and nothing is that simple. “Wait! Does it matter if you give me a different card number?”
“Mmm, maybe, if you have another number your salary will be late or they can’t pay you.”
“But my account number would still be the same (again, Kurma, you’re in China)… Yes, give me the same number, please!”
The teller makes copies of my passport while I fill out the “lost card” form. Then I remember, for some reason I had taken a picture of my debit card (Yes!) so I show it to her. She types the number, gives me a bunch of forms to sign, and asks me to enter my password.
“Huh… You have to pay 10 yuan.”
I’m getting ready to give her the money, when she interrupts me, “Sorry, sorry, it’s 20 yuan.”
“Okay, here you are.”
“Your card will be here in 7 business days. Come to this bank with your passport and this form.”
Wow. They’ll pay me the 10th, my card will be ready on Wednesday the 11th, and I’m leaving to Thailand the 13th… Oh God, please, make everything go smoothly this time.
“Thank you. Can I withdraw some money now?”
“No, you need your card to take money out of bank.”
“What? But I’m here, this is my passport, I gave you my card number, I need some money now.”
“Sorry, you only can take out money with your card. Wait 7 business days.”
Oh boy, almost two weeks without access to my money in China. I’m still able to use my American credit card, but then to transfer money there is a hassle.
Happy New Year to me… 😡 😦