No More Pictures!

Monday, November 21, 2005

So, I wasn't going to post about this, but thinking further, I realized I have no choice. The lack of photos was bound to draw suspicion. When I left you last, I still had my camera, wallet, and passport. I had finished typing my latest update and the internet cafe had failed to recognize my camera and so, no pictures. I got on the bus, which was an hour late, and headed for Dublin. It turns out there's a transfer at the Dublin airport, so I switch busses and head from Dublin Airport to the City Center. The time is 16:30, and I still have my camera, wallet, and passport. In fact, they are sitting on the seat beside me, with the exception of my wallet which is in my jeans' pocket. The camera bag, containing all the other items listed, is firmly attached to my belt - the passport and backup documents in a separate pouch because, well, when you wear something under your clothes on a four hour bus, it gets a little sweaty and gross.

So, as this bag is on my right and I'm listening to my iPod, a woman gets on and sits beside me. I have to move my stuff. The backpack goes on the floor, and I have to take my camera bag off my belt because it's on her seat. While I'm there, I decide that since I'm listening to my iPod, which is usually in the camera bag but now is not (leaving room for something else), I'll keep it out. I further decide that the wallet is uncomfortable sitting in my pocket, and so I put it in the camera bag. The ride goes on into the city and I have no idea where the hostels are. I know it's somewhere around a place called Temple Bar. That's all. Our first stop is very near to a pub called Temple Bar, but it was an unscheduled an unannounced stop and quite likely not where I should get off. But I started to worry. I asked the woman beside me if she knew what area I was best getting off at. She said City Center was the place. Well, a minute later, no warning, we're there.

With no warning given and no time, I hurriedly jumped off the bus. There was a tourist information right there on O'Connell St. and it was just closing (the time now was 4:55) and I managed to get a map from the security officer. Now where to go to get to my hostel. There was a Burger King on the corner, so I went over there to sit down and open the map. I didn't find out much except that Temple Bar is an area and not a single Bar. The street I knew a certain hostel to be on, I couldn't find. Well, I decided to wander down to the Temple Bar area myself and hope to stumble across something. I got up to leave the Burger King. Noticed anything?

Yeah, that's right! I wish I'd had you with me that dark Friday. For those who didn't, well, guess what I stopped mentioning I still had in my possession... my camera, passport, and wallet. Well, I won't lie, I wasn't as calm as I could've been, but I think I did pretty well in that I didn't fall to my knees with my hands splayed and screaming "Nooooo!" at the heavens. Which, if I may say, was exactly what I wanted to do. Instead, I rushed back to the tourist info and convinced the guard to open the door. I told him I'd left my bag on the floor of the bus and he went inside and had the ladies working call the bus company for me. Then he came back a few minutes later and told me to go across the street and ask for a man named Kevin. I did. It turned out that they'd put me in contact with the wrong shuttle bus company (there are two that get off at the exact same place) but Kevin continued trying to ring them for me. After all, my cell phone was on it's last dollar of credit (well, last pound) and I had not a single cent on me. Not one penny. Which ruled out the possibility of showing it to people and telling them it was all I had in the hopes of generating any sort of income.

They didn't answer, so I went to the bus stop where the busses going back to the airport halt on the opposite side of the street. While waiting, far too long, incidentally, I wound up talking to a family there about what had happened and the man gave me his phone to call their office again. No answer for a long time. Finally, they did answer, and I told them what had happened and they said there was nothing they could do but check the busses when they completed their loop through the city and got back to the airport. I insisted there SURELY must be a way to get in touch with the driver, though I didn't have a bus ticket (it was in my wallet) I knew I'd left at either 4:30 or 4:45. Nope, sorry.

I stopped the bus driver and told him my story. My bus should be along in another 30 mins, he told me, and I should call the office. Been there, done that, fine. Thank goodness, literally, the man who'd lent me his phone gave me 20 Euro which I'd never accept except, well, what the %^("*%^" was I going to do for food and shelter?! I probably could've cried at that point, and only found out his name was John. I don't think he'll ever read this, but if somehow he does, well, John, thank-you. Anyway, 30 mins, OK, so, what could I do? I waited the 30 mins. A few busses didn't even stop. One of them was probably him. 45 mins. Not him. An hour. Not him. I went into the police station at this point and reported my stuff lost. Conveniently, it was right behind me. Also conveniently, a friendly police officer (Paul Reilly) was working. He filled out the report with me after getting my story, and called the bus company for me again. I told him that I was going to continue waiting outside before I officially filed anything, and he actually came by and talked with one of the uncooperative drivers at one point (who, then, became much more helpful).

Still nothing, until one of the busses that stopped had a man whose name I NOW know is Zil. A Lithuanian man, and he actually took the trouble to call the driver he suspected it was, on his cell phone. If their bloody office (Air Coach is the perpetrator, incidentally) had done that in the first place, I wouldn't be in this situation. Unfortunately, no answer, but then he called someone in the know at their company, Brendan. I told Brendan (through Zil) that I'd lost a bag with my wallet and camera, but never said anything about a passport. After relaying this, Zil turned to me and said, "with a passport?" Well, I couldn't have been happier. Yes, with a passport. It has been found, I was told, and is on the bus. The driver has it at the front with him and it is safe. "What do I do?" I asked very thankfully, and he said that I could wait here and see if I caught the driver before he went back to the airport, and if not, they'd call once he got to the airport and send it back in on another bus.

To be continued next time... when the internet cafe is not about to close.


Anonymous said...

Dean, one day you'll lose your head!

Dean said...

If I could get a newer and improved one that wouldn't be so bad...