If you are looking for a titillating, energizing, pulse-quickening experience, wire yourself hundreds of dollars to a Western Union in Argentina.
Sending money through Western Union has never been on my radar. But my impending trip to Argentina, a country weighed down by crazy inflation, prompted a friend to suggest this method for getting cash in Buenos Aires, as a way to avoid the usurious fees and fickle reliability of the country’s ATM network
The Western Union Moment:
“I could almost feel the reverberations of my accelerated heartbeat.”
The day after my arrival in South America, I approached the open window of the bustling wire-transfer establishment with a mix of apprehension and excitement. My usually steady hand betrayed a subtle tremble, a physical manifestation of the anticipation that swirled within.
Leaning in, I could almost feel the reverberations of my accelerated heartbeat. Unfortunately my trusty Apple watch, a reliable companion in tracking these moments, lay forgotten back at the AirBnb, so I was left without the reassurance of numbers displaying my heart rate. But there was no mistaking the pulsating sensation in my chest.
In that fleeting moment, I felt a kinship with the characters from the classic 1984 movie Romancing the Stone. The uncertainty was palpable. Would the money transfer go smoothly? Would the exchange rate play in my favor, or would I feel the sting of an unexpected change? Did the establishment have enough currency in stock to fulfill my request? How would I navigate the journey back home, a mile’s walk away, with a mountain of cash in my possession?
The attendant, efficient yet inscrutable, took possession of my documentation and information. Their routine inquiries only added to the tension. Questions about the purpose and destination of the funds felt like a CIA interrogation in that charged moment. Soon enough, a six-inch-high block of wrapped stacks of pesos emerged, the physical representation of my digital transaction.
As the attendant slid several stacks to me, I couldn’t help but move swiftly and discreetly, stuffing the money into my bag. The reflex was almost instinctual, a blend of caution and an attempt to avoid drawing undue attention. I hoped my hurried actions had gone unnoticed amidst the commotion of the place.
“I couldn’t help but move swiftly and discreetly, stuffing the money into my bag”
Stepping out into the open, a sense of relief washed over me, albeit fleetingly. The weight of the wads of cash nestled in my bag acted as a constant reminder. I found myself mentally chanting, a rhythmic mantra in my mind, “No one knows I just left a Western Union, no one knows I have wads of cash on me.” The repetition was almost meditative, a way to calm my nerves and steady my resolve as I navigated the bustling streets.
An Exciting Stroll:
Each step carried the weight of secrecy, an invisible burden that heightened my senses. The ordinary sights and sounds of the journey home became amplified, every passerby a potential threat to the newfound wealth I carried. Yet, amidst this heightened awareness, there was a thrill, a surge of adrenaline at the audacity I showed by casually strolling through busting Buenos Aires’ streets filled to bursting with bills.
With each step, the initial anxiety began to ebb away, replaced by a sense of accomplishment. The successful transaction completion, the possession of tangible currency, and the quiet triumph of maintaining discretion fueled a growing confidence within me.
The tension gradually dissolved as I reached the familiar comfort of my AirBnb. Feeling victorious and a bit dramatic, I decided to re-enact a scene from that 1993 film, An Indecent Proposal. Sure, it was not a million dollars and true, I did not earn that money by sleeping with Robert Redford but the images of Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson tossing dollar bills up in the air as they roll around on their bed covered in loot still reside in my brain. And, since I had no adult supervision…. Well, if you want, you can see for yourself.
Note: Obscene and decadent, right? Only if you don’t do the math and figure that all those pesos are really only worth maybe a few hundred dollars… Numbers schmumbers, it was fun.