Franc, one of the deputy-heads here, drove us to the local shopping mall to buy local sim cards – successfully achieved – and to get some money out of the hole in the wall (for non-British bloggees, a colloquial British term for an ATM.) Being momentarily puzzled by the unfamiliar lay-out, we hesitated, at which point a helpful local intervened, and reached over to push a button. And that, presumably, was also the point where he contrived to simultaneously distract both Val and me – his mate had already lured Franc to another screen = and remove my card from the machine. So when I tried to remove it, it didn’t appear… naturally.
Assuming it was still in the machine, we then spent an hour getting the bank to open up the machine… and when it became clear that there was nothing there, we replayed the whole thing in our minds, and worked out what had happened. Even now, I would swear blind that the card could not have been stolen in such a way… except for the fact that it clearly had.
Which should come as a salutary warning. As a generally trusting soul, who pretty much believes that it is better to be occasionally fooled than permanently suspicious, I discovered that even an occasional demonstration of that principle is still painful. Val was not so bothered, as it vindicated her safeguarding procedure – that we are using an account a very limited amount of money in it to access our cash. I’m pretty sure that Franc felt bad, that our very first full day in the country should be so affected. But we are grown-ups, after all… and I suppose I shall have to raise my standard level of suspicion… just a little.