Saturday, February 11, 2006

Teef'd: An Update

Manaus, Brazil

I spent all day yesterday running around Manaus, trying to get a call out to the US so I could cancel all of my various credit and check cards that had been nicked two days prior. Throughout the rest of South America, finding a place to make an international call was easy. It seemed like there was a locutorio on every block. Tell the guy where you're calling, get in the booth, make the call, and pay when you're finished. Simple.
Not in Manaus.
The only "call center" around was 2 klicks from where we were staying. But, it was closed. The police had it locked up, and there were a bunch of notices plastered all over it, but I can't read no portuguese. So, I had to try all other available means. I spent a good six hours flailing around the city like an idiot, doing everything I could to place an outgoing call. I bought 100 reais ($45) worth of calling time, and tried like ten different phones. At one point, I had four locals simultaneously trying to help me navigate the complex web of Brazil's international dialing system. I even went to the Holiday Inn Taj Mahal and had them make the call for me at some ridiculously expensive rate. Nuthin'. At one point, I was actually able to contact a US number for about a minute before I got cut off, but I was never able to repeat that particular occurrence. And no-one had any answers for me. The three most common explanations for this lack of connection were:
  • The system is down. Just wait for 30 minutes and try again.
  • This number you're using is incorrect. Try a real one.
  • *shrug*

By the time I made it back to our hotel room around 8pm, I was in a pretty bad mood. Someone had made off with a bunch of my cards, one of which had direct access to my bank account, and there was nothing I could do about it. I didn't even have the means to cancel the fucking things. I was going to try again tomorrow, but I was running out of ideas.
Then, Mike asked me if I had the permanent marker, because he was burning some DVDs and needed to label them. I quickly dove into my bag, eager to find at least one thing that wasn't stolen. I opened the top section of my backpack, and there they were.
My wallet.
My japanese change purse.
My cell phone.
I have no idea why I never bothered to check up there before, but there they were. My iPod was still gone, but that was just some trinket. The real problem, the major pain in my ass that had been torturing me for three days, had just been solved in three seconds.

At this point, I don't know what to feel. On the one hand, I'm ecstatic and relieved to have that anchor off my back. On the other hand, I feel like an absolute moron for letting such a stupid mistake take up almost three days of my life.


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