It’s the little things.

Friday things.
Here is an interesting aside, I have no idea what the Cambodian currency is even called. I have the equivalent of about fifty cents US in my pocket in local money (all notes) and the rest are greenbacks. I went to the ATM yesterday and withdrawing local notes was not even an option, out came brand new dollar bills. Tuk tuk drivers quote in dollars, weird giving them just a buck, restaurant and bar bills are all presented in dollars. It’s almost impossible to find out how much to pay with the local bills and that option seems to be rather frowned upon. I don’t have an answer, inflation maybe, but I don’t see people with wheelbarrows full of local notes a la Weimar Republic. Guess I will just get over it and will let you know if I discover why.
Another bothersome problem is to do with the bottles of drinking water. They all come with a thin plastic cover over the bottle top that has to be removed before one can break the bottle top seal. So you end up with a two inch by a half inch strip of plastic each time you open a water bottle. What are you supposed to do with it ? There is of course no recycling can nearby, nor even a garbage can to dispose of this irritating packaging so I have been shoving it in my pocket. But it’s sharp, it sticks into me. I don’t know and maybe finish this paragraph like the last one.
Oh dear, I hear you saying, Tim’s lost it.
So, just to prove that maybe you are on the right track I made another MISTAKE today. Ha ha. As seen above I used the ATM yesterday and today I found that I can buy Malarone here. That, as those with elephantine memory abilities will remember from a far distant post, is the anti malaria medication that does not result in nightmares or hallucinations, and yes it is a quarter of the US price. Even so, at five bucks a pop it adds up when you need thirty. So back to yesterday’s ATM. It has a door, quite why I have no idea, it’s like standing in a glass oven. Closed door, stuck card in slot, fatal error message on screen about being unable to complete transaction due to …….whatever and please take card and try transaction later. Except, yep, you guessed, no card to take. AAAGH. Bleeping thing ate it. Oh no. Booked on a 7.00am boat to Phnom Penh tomorrow, booked into hotel in same, panic, flail, run amok. Calming I found the help phone number and called, I love my local SIM card. Press two for English, ok, did that, then it took five minutes to get my name correct, another two to get name of issuing bank, I had to give my phone to a passing stranger so he could tell the bank the location of the ATM, street number, huh, it went on and on, as it does anywhere, getting nowhere until I gently enquired when I might see my card again, oh, Monday she said. This was the mistake, I lost it. No no, that won’t work, I leave tomorrow, need card, no money, etc etc. I will meet with my colleagues and return your call. Oh no, when will that be. After I meet with colleagues, and round we went again. Suddenly I heard a familiar sound, that of a rebooting computer, bzzt, there was my card, in my hand. Bye. Watched ATM reboot, this ATM is out of order, ya right.
I think I may go out now.
More from Phnom Penh.

8 responses to “It’s the little things.

  1. Wow! That was a close one (and a scary one!) with the ATM, Tim. So glad you got your card back. Charlie used to have a terrible habit of forgetting to retrieve his ATM card whenever he went to the machine. He’s now forbidden from going to the ATM and I handle all the banking. LOL! Sounds like you’re having a wonderful trip. Stay safe!

    Debbie K.

  2. Well I was living the horror of that one with you as I was reading it! Yikes.
    We have Nibs here for the weekend! Hope to hear more from Phnom Penh!! Keep safe. x

  3. Please note: Cambodia has the RIEL as it’s currency. $1 = 4,017.5 riels. But they tend to use US dollars. B x

  4. A very nasty moment re your card thank heavens it all ended well.
    Lovely to Skype you this am.Managed to surface without Sal’s help!!
    She has just phoned from Heathrow,has met up with Sheena and is off any minute.
    Amused to hear that Sophie is “Granny Watching”!!

  5. Possible acceptance of dollars is that they exchange these and get a good rate.Why not go into the bank and draw money out could be safer in your neck of the woods.The ATM door is for your safety. Bankers lecture over.

  6. Forgive me, but that was the funniest rendition of an ATM snafu ever! So glad to hear that your card back was returned! Cambodian scam perhaps? It happened to me once in the Town Center in Corte Madera!

    • Ha ha, Anna. The worst part, not mentioned, was that I dared not leave the ATM glass oven. It got hotter and hotter, people wanted to use it after me, lots of glares, it was quite awful. Of course, looking back it sounds hilarious, stupid foreigner.

  7. Wow, what a nightmare, all the trials and tribulations of traveling. Do they serve G&T in Cambodia? Don’t tell me you didn’t bring a second ATM card?! I’m tracking you on Finding Friends, and looks like you are in the midst of urban sprawl. I’m going to send you an email tonight.

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