What happened in Barcelona with “Girl with the passport?”
by Kelly Ann
Watch Yourself: Barcelona Edition
I had heard that Barcelona was practically the pickpocket capital of the world, but I wasn’t too worried. I mean, come on, I had lived in South Korea for a year and had traveled alone, in China, for six weeks; I could handle anything the world could dish out at me, or so I thought.
This day started just like any other in Barcelona. I was in my hostel room and gearing up for a day where I would explore Barcelona and admire the pure, architectural genius that is Gaudi. I had everything I needed in my favorite, silver sequence, day backpack, when I started to debate whether or not I should take my whole wallet. I mean, you never know what type of credit cards or forms of ID you are going to need, but you also don’t want to lose all your money and credit cards if you bring your entire wallet, and then it gets stolen.
My ego quickly kicked in and whispered to me, “Come on. Bring your whole wallet. You know what you’re doing. You’ve been around the world and nothing has ever happened, so nothing will happen today.”
So, believing that I was immune to hardship given my self-proclaimed, “expert traveller status”, I threw my whole wallet in my sparkly backpack and headed to the metro. Once there, I double checked my route on the metro map and enthusiastically strolled towards the metro platform, eager to start the day.
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As I scanned the corridor, I noticed a man walking behind me out of the corner of my left eye. It was like he had honed in on my shiny, silver backpack that screamed, “Tourist! Tourist! Come pillage me!” My stomach immediately dropped and my gate picked up because for some reason, this man deeply unsettled me. But I reassured myself that I was just being dramatic, and continued walking towards my destination.
Upon arriving though, my looming sense of anxiety did not subside. I convinced myself something was amiss and finally examined the contents of my bag. I just wanted to reassure myself that my wallet was still there, and feverishly tore through my bag; water bottle flying, keys jingling, and cascades of edible goodies falling to the floor.
I could account for everything I needed, except my wallet. Where was my wallet? I checked my bag, then rechecked it, and then checked again, just for good measure. Somehow, each time, I thought that my wallet would just magically emerge from some secret compartment that wasn’t there. But no. No wallet anywhere.
In a full on panic, with my heart racing and my palms sweating, I dashed back to my hostel and immediately called my bank. Well, maybe not so immediately because it was an international call and I had to first crack the code of 12 numbers that you need to dial, before you can enter the actual phone number of your international call.
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Well, after 22 failed attempts at making this call, I finally got through to my bank, who not so helpfully informed me that they could mail my new debit and credit card to my home. Totally irritated and stressed out, I impatiently reminded them that I was abroad and that given my current predicament, this action would be of no benefit to me at all.
The operator then reminded me of my ATM card, which had some how, slipped out of my wallet and had gotten lodged in between the pages of my travel guide. “Yes, “ I thought, “My salvation!” But then I remembered, that this card had a mystical pin number that I could not remember, because I never actually used the card.
Desperate to acquire some cash, I begged the bank operator to send me the pin number via email. Firmly and resolutely, she ignored pleas because such actions were against, “corporate policy”. And just like that, I my anger took over and I morphed into the Incredible Hulk. I was done with this nonsense. I entrusted them with my entire life savings and I was not getting off the phone until they helped me. And it worked! I can happily report that the Hulk convinced the reluctant bank operator, to change my pin over the phone, so I could get the cash I needed. Problem solved, just as long as you just can never take no for an answer.
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