I got up early Sunday after a night of drinking and fun with a few amazing people I had just met. My plan was to say goodbye to the family I’m staying with, try to find the bus station for my Tica Bus, and then catch up to my coworkers in Nicaragua. There I’d spend about two days exploring the town of Granada with them and enjoying myself as much as possible.
The bus came to get me a little late which is a common thing in Costa Rica. I got on with a traveling couple from Australia and two younger women from South Africa doing a Central American tour. I was pleasantly surprised, Tica Bus looked as comfortable as a first class airplane seat. There were recliner cushioned chairs, several TVs playing Madagascar (en espanol), and overhead compartments for baggage.
What should have been a comfortable relaxing ride turned into an all out war with a large Latino man for the center armrest. Eventually I let him win, but when he fell asleep I took it back without him even knowing. I felt like I was kicking ass all day and ready for more.
We got to the border after about an hour of driving the roads of Costa Rica, passing mountains, volcanoes, and forests. I got out with little cash on me, just enough to pay the $20 border fee and a few colones. I waited in line to get my passport stamped by a man who really looked like he wanted to be somewhere else. I knew I had to make two other stops before my bus left. The first was to withdraw some money from the Bank of Costa Rica and the other was to actually pay the fee. Simple tasks, seemingly.
I made my way to the ATM away from my crowd of familiar faces, put my PNC Bank card in, and was set to take the money. I’d done this the day before in Liberia but the bank ran out of American dollars, so I could only get $20. Nevertheless, I wanted $100 to be safe so I was excited I’d finally get it.
Cash came out, I took it. I started to put it away in my wallet and before I knew it, the worst moment of my travels hit me square in the face like a bus traveling 100 MPH outta Nicaragua.
The bank ATM ate my card. How do I say it?? I’ve had to explain it so many times in Spanish. It took my card. My card is gone. Lost. Mi tarjeta es perdido. El ATM come mi tarjeta. No bueno.
I’m usually pretty easygoing, especially out here while traveling. But that was the first time I became frantic. Really frantic. Confused and defeated, I told my bus driver. I also mentioned I hadn’t paid yet because I didn’t know where. Now I was holding up the bus. It was a mess!
Anyway, I took care of that and we were off. Goodbye PNC bank ATM card and goodbye to my only way to access money. My card wil forever be in Costa Rica.
On the way to Nicaragua the movie that was playing was called “What Happens in Vegas” starring Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz. Everyone knows the ending to the phrase, “…stays in Vegas”. I guess that’s fitting here, only with Costa Rica and bank cards.