Africa: No, I’m not wiring money to terrorists.

I get in to Tanzania a few days before my “work” starts.  Booked a hotel to settle in and get over what will be a nasty case of the jet lag.  The hotel has been super nice and in order to confirm my reservation, I need to wire them money.  Not a big deal.  Or so I thought.

I go into the credit union this morning and all my fave tellers are there.  I then proceeded to spend about 45 minutes getting information for the wire transfer.  I already had (I thought) all the info I needed.  I had requested it from the hotel and they sent me this .pdf file that had more information than I figured was necessary.  Nope.

They need a street address.  Not a street name.  A number of a building and a street name and maybe even some sort of a zip code.  Having traveled quite a bit, I know that while the US really enjoys putting numbers on buildings, most of the “developing” world does not.  A lady at the bank tried to tell me they had street addresses in Samoa – “you can say it’s the 3rd ‘hut’ (her word) on the left”!  Of course she used Samoa as an example.  I, as politely as possible, told her that I had lived in Samoa, and in fact, you could say that, but that doesn’t mean there’s a street name or that it’s going to match up with what the international banking wire transfer gods have in their system.  And why when people are sending money to Samoa they do Western Union – not a wire transfer.  Cheaper and easier.

I digress.  I understand the protection of sending wild amounts of money to someone with a PO box in some far off land (ok, not really, but I’m trying to).  But in this case, it’s not a lot of money.  Should this amount be going to Al Qaeda – they wouldn’t be able to buy much, anyway.  I’m just trying to get a ride from the airport and a room to sleep in after being on a plane for 3873921 hours.  This kind of frustration is expected once I land in Tanzania, but apparently I’m getting an early start.

And of course it’s midnight in TZ right now.  Gotta love it.


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