Saturday, March 08, 2014

Moscow (Part VIII - Cash and Credit)

Click here for Parts I, IIIIIIVVVI and VII.

The first order of business was to get some money. I pulled on some clothes and brushed my teeth with water, then popped some gum to freshen my breath. Since I was still sick, the process of getting dressed turned out to be pretty exhausting, so I went back to bed for a while.

At the reception desk, I found a woman who spoke very, very basic English. Her English plus a sheet of paper on which to draw maps was enough for her to explain to me both where the nearest Metro station is, and where I could exchange money – a currency exchange station was right around the corner.

The neighborhood where my hotel was located was drab-looking, but Rusina had assured me it's safe. Even so, I put on my best New York "I'm not a tourist, I'm a confident person who knows where I'm going" affect, though I don't know how successful I was given that every step I took felt like an effort. I found the cash exchange very easily and discovered it is connected to a supermarket – a handy thing to know.

The woman at currency exchange spoke no English. Since I don't know how to count in Russian, I wrote down on a piece of paper how many rubles I want, and she nodded – she understood. I then handed her my credit card.

"No card," she said. "Cesh." She pointed to my wallet. "Cesh."

So. Currency exchange takes only cash. I had about 100 shekels in my wallet, that was all – not enough to get far, even if they do take shekels (I didn't ask, but the sign outside said only dollars and Euros). The woman pointed inside the supermarket and said "With card – machine. Take money machine."

The problem with her idea was that to take out money from the ATM with a credit card, you need the PIN code.

Now I knew what I'd really forgotten. The code to my credit card.

I slowly walked back to my hotel, thinking over my situation. No cash meant no rubles. No PIN code meant no cash. No PIN code, then, meant no money.

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