Oct 6, 2011

Only in Dominica

10 Days in Dominica: Day 6

Share an "only in Dominica" moment.

Ha.  This one makes me laugh.  I feel like I have many, many of these stories, but my favorite involves our bank account.

Opening a joint bank account  with your spouse here in Dominica requires a handful of documents -- several forms of ID, a letter from your bank at home stating that you are in good financial standing, a marriage certificate, and a letter from Ross verifying that you are your medical student's companion.  Once you get all of these documents rounded up, opening the account is fairly painless.  It took as a handful of trips to the bank to actually receive our debit cards, but we finally got them figured out and now Charlie and I are both the proud owners of a National Bank of Dominica account.  Woo hoo!

We are fancy and have debit cards and a check book (normal for real life = fancy for here!).  We use our checks to pay our rent each month and have done this since we arrived on the island.  Last semester, we shipped a couple of barrels from home and I ended up paying Alexis Taxi (for picking them up from customs and delivering them to our apartment) with one of our trusty checks.  I received a phone call several days later from Alexis Taxi; the check hadn't gone through and they were told that our account had been closed.  This was strange because 1) there was plenty of money in our account and 2) we had not closed our account.  I apologized and told them that I would call the bank and get to the bottom of it.

I called the bank and of course my call went straight to the voicemail of someone who was on vacation for the next two months (seriously?).  Then I scoured the internet for another phone number so that I could talk to a live human who was not on a two month vacation.  I called the number and a human answered so I told them about my problem, only to find out that yes, the account had closed, and our checks were no longer valid.  Fabulous.  I was quite confused so I asked more questions but really didn't get to the bottom of the situation, so I marched myself down to the bank on campus to figure it out in person.

The soft spoken bank teller kindly helped me through the enigmatic crisis.  He asked to see my checks, debit card, and the small National Bank of Dominica business card with my account number written on the back that was given to me by the bank.  He spent a long time typing God knows what into the computer, while I stood there wondering where all of our money had gone.  Finally, he explained to me that the account number written on the back of the card was some random account number, not the account that was linked to our debit cards, and the checks that we were given to us by the bank also had this random account number on them (???).

So, the random account was closed, but our actual account was still open.  Then he crossed out the incorrect account number on the back of the card and wrote down our actual account number, and ordered us a proper checkbook linked to an account that actually belonged to us.  What blows my mind is the fact that we had been using these checks for 6 months.  Had our landlords even been getting money from the checks written from our random account?  Was the random account even linked to our actual account?  To this day, I still have no idea, and I am still confused about what exactly went on there.  Luckily, we still have our real bank account and the money in it, so all is well.  Only in Dominica...

{My runner up "only in Dominica" moment is best seen in the photo below that was taken from the Miss CALLS pageant held at CALLS, the alternative high school in Portsmouth.  The school is run by the Catholic church.  Only in Dominica would a boy be allowed to cross dress, dance, and strip down into skimpy women's lingerie only to shimmy and shake his butt in front of classmates, teachers, school administrators, volunteers, and local government officials.}
Only in Dominica!!!


  1. HAHAHAH... that picture is A-Mazing Clare!!

  2. I remember this day and that "Only in Dominica" moment!! That really is the only thing that can be said about i!

  3. The picture says it all- no wonder your bank account was mia!


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