On the night of December 29, I walked from my hotel in Iquitos, Peru, through the muggy humidity to a Scotiabank ATM near the central plaza. We were leaving the next morning for three days in a remote Amazonian village, and they didn’t take debit. I popped my Canadian card into the machine, typed my PIN, and requested $300. A message appeared, in robotic capital letters: “YOUR CARD IS BEING HELD FOR SECURITY REASONS.”

The machine then flashed back to its default welcome screen, as if nothing had happened.

I froze. There were no bars, no police, no security officers nearby; just slippery concrete sidewalks, shuttered chipped-wood doors and vacant colonial balconies. I looked for a security camera to signal for help; I found none. I pushed random buttons; nothing. I slammed the cash machine with my palm, started to leave, turned back and slammed it again.

I walked back to our hotel, stunned, and, for the first time since university, fell on my bed, clutched my face and broke down screaming.


You can read the full story on Outpost Magazine.

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