Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Is the title I chose for this post - but really -

WE SCREWED UP ….. or ……



are all the other titles that went through my mind.

If you recall from last post - we've been having some trouble getting pesos from the ATM machines at the Commercial Mexicana.

First, it was our bank - Scotiabank - that cut us off a few weeks ago. Then last week all the other machines refused to give us money - twice.

We were all so happy to chalk it up to how things roll in Mexico - right?! Which was fine because there really is much precedents for us foreigners having trouble getting at our money - either the atm is out of money or just won't cough it up until the magic button is pushed.  No worries - I was happy to go right along with that explanation.

Unfortunately upon my return with Therese last week to check the atm again - still no pesos.

Our plan B, of course, was to call our Bank.

I was pretty smug at first - surely it MUST be Scotiabank's fault. That lasted for all of about 30 seconds during my conversation with Alan, who asked …..

"What is the expiration date on the cards?"

And this is when my stomach hit the floor.

Yes, my friends - both of our cards had expired. (Yes, our fault - yes, we should have known better, yes, what kind of travellers leave the country with almost expired atm cards, yes).

And no - it isn't as easy as getting new cards because, well, Scotiabank doesn't issue new cards - you must come in to one of the branches - in Canada of course - for a new one. And if by some miracle that could be arranged - they certainly aren't sending cards to Mexico.

So - after a few days of working with the Bank and Derek's mom - who THANKFULLY is arriving here on Friday - we worked out a plan. A very special celebration will have to take place when Derek's Mom arrives to thank her for saving our butts on this one.

I have to admit - my first thought was not to share our ignorance with all of you. However, since many of our friends here at the RV Park rushed off to check their cards I reconsidered. In the end I decided to share in the hopes that one of you is saved from such a difficult situation. There was no easy fix and in the end the fix isn't perfect but it was our only option.

The thing is we were on top of everything else - Cassia needed a new passport this year ✓- our medical insurance needed to be purchased  ✓ - van insurance  ✓ - all the visa's and permits at the border ✓.


Now - on to better things …..

A few nights ago we took a new dog walking route. It's a road that goes up into the hills somewhat near the park. I've been meaning to take it for a while to get some great views of Playa La Ropa. Knowing that it's a steep climb kept me from going through with my plan.

We threw caution to the wind the other night and decided to go for it.

It starts innocent enough but this isn't the actual road - it's a little short cut.

See what I mean - UP - and this isn't even the worst part. That's behind us - difficult to struggle with each footstep and still take pictures - I didn't have it in me.

Feeling much better now that we hit our stride - and some flatter land. Except for this driveway - imagine driving up it - good thing they don't get ice here!

The reward of course is the stellar views of the ocean and Playa La Ropa below.

Some swanky places up here - just to the right of that deck is an amazing infinity pool.

We only got far enough to pass one restaurant. While Cassia made friends with the seahorse at the entrance - I checked out the menu. 320 pesos for a rib eye?!! - cough cough - not the restaurant for us.

Looking down at the Pacifica Grand.

It was a nice walk to 1/2 way up the hill but we hope to return during a stellar sunset. Cassia isn't so keen to go all the way to the top but Derek and I are. Those pictures next week ….. ahhhh - so happy Grandma is on the way…..

With no access to our own money we have been on a bit of a spending freeze. Last night we finally broke and headed back to Paty's for happy hour. Thanks to the generosity of our RV Park friends, we have enough pesos to get us through until Friday.

 The owners must have kids. Nothing like a playground in the middle of the sitting area.

Have I mentioned how fast Cassia's hair is growing these days. This is all she has acquired in her almost six years - about two inches of it has appeared since we hit Zihuatanejo!

A shot of Derek enjoying his beer courtesy of Cassia. Really - I think Polar Bear was the real subject of the picture - or Minnie….

It's been quite cloudy the last few days. An interesting sunset because the colour was confined to the little break in the clouds behind the boat.

Derek walked out to the beach to get a shot.

Then later he struck up a conversation with a nice couple from Seattle. 

So - that's how it's been here.

A bit of a roller coaster.

Have I mentioned that I don't take stress particularly well? The money thing kinda hit us hard especially since it was preventable. A mistake - a mistake we hit out of the ball park.

Off to check the expiry date on your cards?

I'll be back tomorrow night with our pics from today - El Centro and some beach time.



  1. Ah...don't belt yourself up over your cards...I bet you aren't the first nor will you be the last that happens to. I myself have forgotten the pay my driver's license and luckiest of all during the 2 weeks unlicensed I didn't have an accident or pulled over by "nice Mr Policeman "...as I call them LOL

    1. I quickly realized Leslie that I wasn't the first by the response of our rv park friends….. it will definitely be our last time though! 'Nice Mr. Policeman' lol - we've met our share - and many have been nice!

  2. we have all done some 'dumb things'..and most of the time it is a good idea to share them to save someone else the trouble that you have incurred this week!..now I am off to check the dates on our cards!
    great pictures as always!..hope Gramma arrives safely with the new cards in hand!
    just think of all the money you have saved this week!

    1. Oh - Sue - how nice it would be if Derek's mom did have cards for us - but that isn't the solution. They won't release cards to a third person - we had to be much more creative!

  3. Interesting...our TD Canada Trust debit cards expire July 2016, but I have to admit I would not have thought to check. Fortunately, as I think I remember saying in an earlier comment, we also have a debit card from B of M for emergency use. Also interesting is that it doesn't have an expiry date on it.

    1. That's just it Kevin - I really didn't think about it having an expiry date - even though it is on the card! Plus - it has been three years - so we've gotten used to it working. A second card is definitely a good idea - something to think about for the future!

  4. I have always told people who asked to have at least three sources of cash in Mexico. We actually have five. Once I left my main chequing account debit card in the machine while I counted the cash, it beeped three times and swallowed my card forever. No problem, I had a debit card for my savings account as well.

    I never knew debit cards expired either. Mine always wear out from use first. I just checked and I am good until 2017, if it lasts that long.

    1. Good advice Croft. We have been fortunate - lucky - thus far and so became a bit complacent. Next time we hit the road we'll be better prepared! I'm glad everyone is checking their cards!

  5. We always check ours every year just to make sure they are good until the spring time. Because you never know.
    Glad things are working out for you.

    1. Well, at least one of us is on top of things! That's as it should be George! Of course - we'll be right there with you from now on.

  6. I'm putting that on the check the smoke alarm list....ouch. Another reason mom is on the way....thank the heavens on that one. That view...from high a top, just beautiful! Enjoy your visit...Cassia has to be totally excited!!

    1. Good idea Cj! Her timing was amazing! VERY excited - a count down every morning!

  7. Yikes, I never knew that they had an expiry date. Ours is 09/15, phew! When ours did not work last year, I came up with the idea of taking out of the ATM using our VISA card. Then I just transferred the money from my bank to Visa.

    1. Well, at least we weren't alone on that one! Just under the wire Contessa - good you can get your new ones before you head south next winter! Ahhhh - yes - things would have been a little less stressful if we did indeed own a credit card - but we don't…..

  8. So many things to check and remember. We are all bound to miss something at some point. Love the picture of the deck overlooking the bay. No nasty guard rails to spoil your view! No laws for the drunk and stupid in Mexico....fall off if you want. Ah Mexico! Relax and enjoy Grandma's visit!

    1. Exactly - right?! So many things…… Ha! I didn't even think about the railings - and I was an Architect. While in Mexico you just get so used to the Mexico way. I think there is something to be said about less rules allowing people to think for themselves more.

  9. Been there and done that with the expired cards, when we were living in Vienna. THANKFULLY, we had an Austrian Bank account, but in the meanwhile we got our daughter to go down to the bank in Canada and get us new cards. I don't remember if it was one or two. Anyway, then she simply mailed it to us, disguised in a box with some with some other stuff. Not sure I'd try that in Mexico. We just happened to have the "kids" (both in their thirties at the time) living here in the house.

    1. Ya! We aren't the only ones. I'm glad that you were lucky. Ultimately new cards could have been sent out but it would take at least 1 month. Then yes, sent to Mexico which would be dicey and also time consuming. Then the Bank wasn't sure our pins would work - not sure why…… Anyway, we went another route which will see us through.

  10. Hey, live and learn right?? Odds are you won't ever do it again!!

    Safe Travels............

  11. I'm ok with the living BlackSheep - the learning is getting old though - think we'd know this stuff by now…… yup - odds are good!


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