Chapter 2:. Sal Airport  

We talked for five more minutes before I quit. They will not change the traveler’s checks without an account. I must open an account to exchange the money. We talk in circles. I’m frustrated that my pilgrimage has hit a roadblock so soon. I go to the bathroom and wash. I return and exchange the few American dollars I have in my pocket. It’s about $26. I need to pay the taxi fair to my hotel, and I need to pay for meals. Until the hotel, I can’t exchange money. This is not enough.

I must call my cousin. The phones only take visas. No change. I have two Mastercards and a Discover. The ATM only takes Euro Visa. I have no money. I’m hungry. I don’t know who speaks English. I don’t want to offer myself to the scam artists and thieves that could be waiting for stupid Americans like me. I put my faith in the TACV office.

I take a ticket. Number 68. They are on 56. The line moves quickly, as I wait protecting my carry-on luggage. It’s loaded with a treasure of tourist booty. An expensive digital camera, an expensive single-lense camera, a portable DVD player, gifts for the cousins, several hundred dollars in travelers checks and other black market valuables. Number 60 is called.

At number 66, they close the office for the mid-day break. It will be closed from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. They can’t help me until they reopen. I’m glad I packed a can of peanuts and a large bottle of water. This is lunch. >>>