Somehow, I seem to be developing a habit when I travel. That is the adventure of being driven to ATM machines on the back of someone’s motor scooter. This trip was no exception as I somehow forgot to do the research and didn’t realize that Amed has no ATM machines. My hotel said that they would accept a credit card, but there would be a 3% charge. The manager said he would be willing to drive me on his scooter to an ATM 5 kilometers away. I admit, I was a little terrified. I’ve seen how people drive their scooters around here. Recklessly, dangerously, passing each other while cars are racing towards them head-on, and yet mysteriously the whole system seems to work. As Amed is pretty spread out, I thought this would be a good way to see the rest of it, so I agreed a little hesitantly.
And boy, did I regret it. Zooming around curves, curves that were on the edge of a cliff looking down into the ocean, passing other scooters, and then faster and faster, and then it started to rain. The rain slicked streets didn’t even make my driver slow down as big trucks hurled towards us head-on leaving barely any room between my leg and the trucks. I finally couldn’t take it anymore, and did something I usually don’t do. “I feel scared.”, I told the driver. Somehow, just saying these words made me feel suddenly safer. How many times do we hold fear inside our bodies instead of releasing it with our voice into the wind?
The driver immediately slowed down, and asked, “Do you not have motorbikes in the US?” I said, “Not as many, and they drive very carefully”. He slowed down and started apologizing each time we hit a bump. We finally arrived at the bank to find it closed. We went to another ATM, and it didn’t accept cards from the US. So, it seemed I would be paying with a credit card anyway. On the way back, a torrential tropical rain fell. Lashings of chilly water stung my back and my eyes, which I could no longer keep open because they were stinging so bad. I asked to be dropped off at a waterfront café just to get out of the pelting rain. I refreshed myself with the healing drink of turmeric, honey, and lemon juice and a hot crab soup. Finishing with an avocado smoothie with chocolate syrup, I had to laugh at myself for having wished for more adventure. Sometimes, we are meant to be still, I thought. I am now safely dry and warm at the top of the mountain in my tree house bungalow, eating the six mangosteen I bought for $2 from a woman selling them on the road, enjoying the lush juiciness of the white fruit with its dark purple skin and am thinking maybe the adventure wasn’t as fruitless as I thought!