Sunday, 9 May 2010


Hello, hope everything's alright at home.

Next time you go into the bank, would you be able to ask someone about my Visa Debit Card? Over the past 3 days I've gradually come to terms with the fact that it doesn't work in any banks or shops here, and I have 2 pesos (approx 33 pence) left in cash.

If the lady at the cash counter looks in her big magic book again and suggests that it should be working, please inform her that there are two types of withdrawl bank in Argentina; 'Bancelo' and 'Link', and that i've visited approximately 10 of each in different parts of downtown, the business district, the residential district etc with no luck; the machines/ ATMs inform me that my card is not valid.
The 'Link' machines display the Visa sign, but I suspect this may exclude Visa debit cards.

I dug out the lady's business card but there was no email on it, just Lloyd's general number, and I don't wish to spend my last 2 pesos listening to an automated voice machine tell me that Lloyd's new credit card offers an amazing 0% on balance transfers for 12 months.

I have accommodation/ water/ pasta etc. so there's no big emergency. I don't have bread but I do have a really big jar of blueberry jam. It does actually taste nicer when you eat it with your fingers, but yesterday I was chased by some wasps.

My phone is being 'unlocked' for foreign use in a services shop; I can't get it back until I can access my account or make enough money from English classes. I'm not sure if I even want it back because the bloke in the shop is charging me twice as much money on account of my blue eyes and shit grasp of the Spanish language.
Also, I have regrettably been banned from the Buenos Aires language exchange forum for calling the moderator a 'douchebag', but there are still plenty of other networking options available. And this weekend hasn't been completely devoid of positives; when I was tramping down Avenida Santa Fe yesterday an Argentine gay stopped me to tell me that my jumper was 'really great'.

I tried to add money to 'Skype' (an online phone application) so I could ring you, but the program won't let me use my card because it's anti-fraud filters are somewhat over-zealous and it thinks I'm a South American scam artist. If you download Skype from here:

we can have free phone conversations online. I know you've only just got used to sending emails, so if you get stuck perhaps you could ask Em, she uses it to speak to Stewart in Saudi Arabia. If you do manage to get on it, my username is samuel_sherwood. That flat line in between my name is an underscore, not a dash.

You should receive a letter from Lloyds in the post, 'within the next 3 working days'. It'll inform me what my online account number is, so I can access it and check that my bank account hasn't in fact been cleaned out by some manner of financial ruffian.
I do know that my card is functioning to a certain degree however; i tested it out by purchasing my first album since Michael Jackson's History in the 90's.

On most of the other occassions when I've stayed abroad for a while, there's been a period of time when the idea of returning home has been tempting, but I've never known real homesickness.
As I write this, hundreds-of-thousands of Argentines are heading out for another long, hedonistic saturday night of drinking, dancing and meeting with friends.
Yet I find myself content to sit inside watching old episodes of Only Fools and Horses, the theme tune half-forming lamplit memories of tuesday nights after swimming; bags of chips from Alleyways fish & chip shop, a pokey little living room on a pokey little terraced road in a pokey little seaside town.
And it brings me to the realisation that you can't understand homesickness until you truly understand where your home was, and what it meant to you.



deli said...

jeez, if there is anything i can do. do you want to use my skype account to call home?