Post 42: Second Installment – On The Way to Romania
Cash In The Pocket
I contacted the U.S. embassy staff in Prague who put me in touch with an embassy recommended interpreter. The interpreter agreed to help us with the negotiations and located a car dealer. He and I held several international phone calls, wrote lots of emails and quickly firmed up arrangements for the two cars. I obtained an international driver’s license, which turned out to be a simple process, researched air fare to Prague with a return from Bucharest and found a hotel in Prague. Overall, I was quite pleased with myself.
I informed Dr. G we needed to send a deposit of approximately $7,000, a bit less than half of the negotiated price for the two cars. I also requested a much smaller deposit for the interpreter, who completed a lot of work for us and would assist us further upon our arrival.
“Beeal, we no need to do this. I don’t trust them with my money. How we know they really have the cars?”
“How about offering a much smaller deposit?” I asked, concerned all my hard work might be in vain.
“No deposit,” he stated firmly. “You tell them we pay fully when we get there.”
I notified the car dealership who, not surprisingly, informed me they could not guarantee the cars would be in stock when we arrived. Still, Dr. G wasn’t worried and ordered our flight tickets. I confirmed our plans and dates with the hotel and car dealer and reminded the interpreter to meet us at the hotel upon our arrival.
The day before departure, Cheryl answered the phone, spoke for a few moments, hung up, and asked with a quizzical expression on her face, “That was Dr. G and he wants to know if you have a money belt to help carry some cash in?” Then, in her sarcastic humorous tone, “Tell me, are you two clowns really dumb enough to be carrying cash to buy those two cars?”
“Uhm, well, I thought the transaction would be with some type of international money order or transfer, but now I don’t know. He wouldn’t send a wire transfer for the deposits. Hey! I’ve never bought a new car with cash, much less two cars at the same time, let alone buying two in the Czech Republic!” I ran to K-Mart and purchased a security/passport holder to wear under my shirt.
On a crisp, Sunday afternoon, we met at our departure gate at O’Hare airport. I asked Dr. G if we needed to transfer some money to my brand new security holder I proudly wore under my shirt.
“Oh no, Beeal, I take care of it. No problem. Here, I show you.” He pulled me into the restroom and enthusiastically showed me a safety pin securing each pocket of his gray plaid suit coat. Each side pocket, the front kerchief pocket and both inner pockets were neatly pinned shut and all were bulging. Bulging with, he loudly whispered, a total of $18,000 in cash, all in $100 dollar bills.
Dr. G dozed throughout the overnight flight. Not me. I kept checking to make sure he didn’t remove his suit coat. The next morning in the Prague baggage area, Dr. G surprised me by claiming two gigantic suitcases, both crammed full, zippers stretched tight and each well over the airlines weight limit. I knew, well, I hoped they didn’t contain more cash, and recalled he mentioned bringing some medical supplies, but those cases were heavy enough to hold a delivery table!
Next Installment in a week: Test Drive!