LIVINGSTONE, Zambia The official stamps my passport and scribbles in the date. "Forty US dollars, please," he says.
I reach into my wallet, hidden deep within nested pockets.
Nor is the fat roll of greenbacks in my purse, the only other place cash resides. I'm quite systematic about packing essentials, so they can be easily stashed in hotel safes...
Which. I. Did. Not. Do. Last. Night.
For the first time ever.
Miss Betty covers my entry visa. Shaking, I rip through my suitcase. Of course the cash isn't there. Probably because it went walkies last night.
The maid was turning down the room as I left. And I Little Miss Left-Coast Liberal worried that a blatant safe-stash would be offensive ... racist even. Not wanting to wander Johannesburg with a fatted, muggable purse, I took rand and left the dollars secreted in my luggage. After all, I'd looked this woman in the face. I could identify her in a lineup. Surely, my trust would be rewarded with safekeeping, especially in so posh a hotel.
Not so, apparently.
I'd made the most amateur of mistakes and paid dearly for it.