Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Man, am I tired....

So, it´s been a while I know, and I´m sorry ok, but just chill alright! Jeez! ;) Anyway, here´s a brief rundown of events so far:

Woke up on Tues morning feeling like crap after about 5 hours of sleep. Said goodbye to our lovely hotel room and got a cab to the airport. The flight was fairly uneventful, except for me finishing "Lif of Pi" and suddenly discovering that I believed in God. After a safe landing (safe in the hands of God) we walked out into the terminal and went to claim our baggage. It was at about this time that we started thinking maybe we should have booked a hostel after all, and that the advice in the guidebook saying "book at least a month in advance" wasn´t bullshit after all. The place was packed. As everyone else went off to their repsective hostels or was picked up by reps from hotels, we set about phoning every hostel in El Calafate, only to be told that they were all full until judgement day, and even after that they only had overpriced doubles. So, fearing the worst we got a cab into town, and the cab driver told us that he knew a hostel that might have beds. It didn´t. However, the hostel next door did. Unfortunately, it was still being built. But the dorms were ready, it was just the kitchen and showers and toilets that were still under construction. Greatful for a bed, we moved in. We were in a six bed dorm with an ancient german guy called Walter. Walter didn´t speak, but he was reading "In Patagonia" by Bruce Chatwin (surprise surprise!) and it was in german.

So, having dropped off out bags we set out to get dinner as we were absolutely starving, having eaten nothing all day. On the way, I stopped at an ATM to get some cash, and discovered I had lost my ATM card!! Nooooo!!!! The source of all my power was gone, and was most likely at that very moment being used to buy a ferrari on the internet by some spotty little argentinian geek in Buenas Aires!!! I had to act fast! But I was soooo hungry! What was it to be: security or snacks? Snacks of course. By now the lack of food and stress from losing my source of power had reduced me to a zombified state, and when the waitress in the restaurant we finally chose (after looking at about 7) bought some bread in a basket, we wolfed it down in about 2 mins!

After eating I felt a bit better, and headed back to the hostel to check that I hadn´t just left my card in my bag. I hadn´t. Back in town I tried to cancel my card on the internet. I couldn´t. (Barclays Bank, if your reading this, you suck). So in the end I had no choice but to pay 3 pesos a min and call my "CardGuard Hotline" that I am paying 10 pounds a year for. The phone rang twice, then... "Thankyou for calling cardguard emergency hotline. Your call is important to us. You have been placed in a queue where you will remain...." I nearly hung up. But then, thank god, somwone answered.

"Hello, card Guard Hotline" said the 15 year old boy at the end of line.

"Hi, I´m calling from argentina so I have to be really quick my policy number is 639576238G and I´ve lost my card and I want to cancel it it´s the barclays debit card" I gushed without breathing.

"Ok sir, hang on a moment" said the boy, who I shall christen Barry.

"I´m just going to ask you a few security questions..." he said

"Ok, be quick!" I said, watching the pesos pile up on the little screen in front of me.

"Whats your full name?"


"Whats your full adress?"


"Whats your mother´s maiden name?"


"Whats the account number and sort code of your card?"

"Huh? I just told you, I´ve lost the card!! that´s why i´m calling!!! How can I tell you the numbers on the card if I don´t have it?? Anyway, who fraudulently CANCELS an ATM card??! Can you please hurry up?!"

"Ok, I´ll try and find another question..... ummmmm......ok, how many years have you had the coverage with us?"

"What?? Ummmm, don´t know! hang on.....ummmmmm.... about 5 years?"

"Mmmmmmm.... wellllllllll...... ok, that´ll do. Ok, so you want to cancel your barclays debit card?"


"Did you lose it or was it stolen?"

"I lost it!!!"

"When did you last use it?"

"On the 3rd of Jan in Buenas Aires"

"Where did you last use it?"

"In Buenas aires!!!!"

"In a shop?"

"No an ATM"

"Ok sir, so you want to cancel this card?"

(wearily) "yes"

"You realise that after you cancel this card you won´t be able to use it anymore"


"If you find it you will have to cut it up"


"Ok sir, I´m going to need a contact telephone number from you..."

"I´m in a phone booth in the middle of bloody argentina!!!!!! Look, heres my mothers phone number!!! If you want to call someone you can call her!!!"

"Ok sir, a replacement card will be sent out to you in the next few working days. Is there anything else I can help you with sir?"

"Yes, please kill yourself".

So, that dealt with, I headed home to the hostel feeling more physically and emotionally drained than I had felt in along time. And then God smiled on us. Walter was gone. No one seemed to know where, but his stuff was missing from the dorm!! Hooray! We had the whole dorm to ourselves!! It was about midnight by now and we set about getting ready for bed. Then God Pulled down his pants and shat on us. 4 Israelis, each carrying 100 litre backpacks, came into the room and threw their bags on the beds. They were nice guys, but the dorm was tiny and it suddenly seemed a lot smaller. They had just been on a 10 hour trek, so I figured oh well, at least they´ll be going to bed. Not so. They just left their bags unopened and went out drinking. I wont bother to explain the rest of the night cos it´s just too painful. It involved packing my bag, moving to another room, finding that room full, moving back, getting to bed, getting woken up when the israelis came in at 3am, getting woken up when they left again at 5am, anf finally having to get up at 6:30am to go on our tour we had booked to the glacier.

So, whinging over. The glacier was AMAZING! I´m sorry New Zealand, but your glaciers are like ice pops compared to this mother. It´s so big it makes your eyes water. Every 10 mins or so, huges pieces of ice break off and fall into the water, making a noise like a bomb going off. I took about 100 photos, so look out for them. Right, as usual, I´ve spent an hour talking about the bad stuff and left no tie for the good stuff, but hey, I know that´s the way like it. Who wants to hear about me having a GOOD time??! Boring!!!!

bye! :)


Anonymous said...

Hi Billy,

I was just searching Google because I was looking for a Barclays Card telephone number and came across your blog.

I just want to warn you that it is very unsafe to publish on the internet your full name, address and mothers maiden name (unless of course you have faked these pieces of info.)

If someone was so inclined they could take this info, and with very little effort could steal your identity, from account numbers to sort codes etc. I'm not trying to pry - just to warn you that this is a real threat and concern - I seriously think you should take this information down.

billy said...

hey, thanks for the concern, but it's all fake info! Man, I forgot this even existed! It's years old! :)