Having regaled you with my banking issues last week, I should start by telling you the end of the story, which to me was totally surprising.
Having rolled out of Banreservas howling with laughter at the debacle to opening an account there, the following day I called England and asked them to send my money to Banco Popular. As always the call was efficient, pleasant and the money was en route in minutes. I then spent the morning trying to get hold of Banco Popular where I hold my account, only to discover I had to speak to the person who opened my account some 11 years ago, who was on holiday. In the end I gave up and went to the branch here and spoke to a very nice Customer Service lady who scanned all of my documents and emailed them to a whole range of people in my original branch.
That was the Thursday and I knew I was in for a long wait.
On the Monday I checked my account at Banco Popular on line. They have this thing where you can see not only how much money is in your account but how much is on the way there. It is called transito. It can be up to 10 days in transit. For example for one of the jobs I do, I am paid by cheque from someone who has an account in the same bank. I can usually see that the cheque will take 5 to 7 days to reach me, and I have no idea why, as it is the same bank. But it never counts down day by day. Sometimes it stays on the same day for 2 days and sometimes it goes from 5 days into my account the next day. I suppose it depends how many stops the donkey makes on the way to here from the capital, Santo Domingo.
Anyway, I was praying against all odds I would see the money in transito. It wasn't there.
I looked again on Tuesday morning and you could have knocked me down with a feather. Not only was the money there, it seemed somehow to have zoomed directly into my account and wasn't in transito at all. It could be used immediately. Totally efficient and totally unexpected and total bliss. So a big thumbs up for Banco Popular.
There are many things here which are totally unexpected. I write a monthly column for www.expatfocus.com and this month I wrote about gay men in the Dominican Republic. I had always thought that they would experience discrimination in such a Catholic country - but they don't. I should have realised it, as the acceptance of people for who they are, irrespective of colour, background, religion or sexuality is very refreshing and it is no different for gay men. You can read the full article here.