I am running down the streets of Dunedin like a lunatic at a Spanish bull run. The metal on the bottom of my cycling shoes is clamoring like church bells against the sidewalk. I am on a timer, I have 60 seconds to get to the bank machine and then back to the computer head set that in my hustle I left dangling in the internet café. I shouted to the internet café employee please don’t touch that computer, I will explain later, I will be back in sixty seconds and ran out the door. He looked at me as if to say is this some kind of game show?
I wish I had been elected for a game show but I haven’t. I wish I had a great cycling story to share full of triumph and glory but I don’t. However, while I was cycling through the mountains in central Otago some fraudulent hooligan stole my debit card numbers and went shopping at Walmart in Alabama. The thieves made out with $250 worth of stolen goods and I don’t even like Walmart. The fraud department caught on quick and put a hold on my bank card and it stopped working sometime last week.
I called the bank and used up the rest of my skyppe online phone credit. I convinced women number one from the fraud department to push her magic computer button and open my card for 60 seconds so I could run to the bank machine and withdraw money. I hit the maximum amount allowed and then the card was shut down for good and I said goodbye to all access to money.
I am in Dunedin, New Zealand camped by the beach waiting for a bank card to arrive from Alaska. Pandemic my magic bicycle is perched by a picnic table and enjoying the ocean air acting awfully patient under the circumstances. After talking to a dozen or so bank officials I think they have sent me a new bank card. Women number six wasn’t sure if they had received my signed fax and special request to express mail me a new card in New Zealand. And after having spoke to the entire office and their entire office women number twelve simply picked the phone up and said, are you the women trying to get a bank card sent to New Zealand? I believe she made about 4 more phone calls and I am now fairly confident a new bank card will be on it’s way to New Zealand in 3-5 business days.
When this adventure started 9 countries ago I was convinced the fraud department at my bank was opposed to this idea of me cycling around the world. Every country border I peddled a crossed they would put a hold on my bankcard and I would have to figure out how to call them. At the time, I didn’t have my online skyppe phone number so I would have to figure out how to make a phone call from various phone booths, a remarkably difficult task, which proved to be far more time consuming and exhausting then cycling up a mountain. I have now decided that the fraud department at my bank is very supportive of the adventure because $250 isn’t all that much considering the damage they could of done. Besides all the goods that the fraudulent hooligans made off with are from Walmart so the goods will break soon.
Dunedin is a great place to be poor. The city’s famous tourist attraction is the albatross colony and the yellow eyed penguin colony. I will be cycling out to the tip of the Otago peninsula, an easy day ride, to hide out on the beach and wait for the yellow eyed penguins while looking up and watching for albatross. There is an expensive tourist viewing center for both bird colonies but planning and scheming a stealth hide out mission is more within my budget right now and more fun. The campground during the last couple of days has been great. It has free hot showers so I am superclean, the kind of clean that even sparkling military white gloves would approve of. The camping park is designed for families on a holiday so the camp store has the most extensive selection of penny candy I have ever seen and a Henderson can stay pretty happy and go pretty far on a daily dose of candy. As long as my teeth hold up waiting for a new bank card has been pretty sweet.