Tag Archives: atm
June 7, 2013

Visa Stories: South Africa

Awhile back, I sat down to write about all our border crossings.  Almost without fail, each one had it’s own drama to deal with.  I never did get through writing them all, but I mined this one from that pile of first drafts.

Visa stamps

We almost ran into serious trouble trying to get into South Africa.  It started at our embarkation point, Ezeiza, Buenos Aires’ international airport.

We were checking out bags to Cape Town, when the person behind the Malaysian Airlines counter asked us if he could see our visas.  No, we told him, we were planning to get them when we arrived at the South African immigrations.

He began to grill us for information.

Did we have return tickets?
No, we were planning to continue our travels through Africa.

How were we planning to leave the country? Did we have plane or bus tickets?
No, we didn’t know how long we’d be staying and figured it would be impossible to buy South African bus tickets from Argentina, anyway.

He sighed and said he wasn’t sure he could let us on the flight.  “South Africa is very strict with their entrance requirements,” he said. “Very strict.”


January 28, 2004

Cuba: Money in Cuba

Cuban National Pesos (20k image)Part the Third: Money in Cuba

If you’re anything like me, then your first couple days in Cuba will likely be spent roaming the streets of Havana, admiring the architecture, dodging illicit cigar sellers, and shooting roll after roll of film. After that you’ll spend the next two weeks scratching your head, trying to figure out how the Cuban monetary system works.

Let’s back up a bit.

The first and biggest problem you’ll have (as an American traveler) starts before you even leave the States. You see, that senseless embargo is going to raise its ugly head and bite you in the ass again.

Remember that no American companies are allowed to support Cuba in any monetary way. While in Cuba you won’t be able to access your bank account with an ATM card. Nor will you be able to use any credit card that is issued by an American bank. You can’t use traveler’s checks, either. Western Union won’t even be able to transfer money to you in Cuba! (However; I understand that it is possible to send money via Western Union to a Cuban citizen with an existing Western Union account.)

How can an American refill their wallet while in Cuba? For all intents and purposes, they can’t.