8 September 2013

It was going to happen at some point

I thought that point was on Wednesday, when I arrived in Cusco. Upon collecting my bag from the airport I noticed that 2 of the padlocks had been cut off.

I checked the bag and contents as best I could at the airport and nothing appeared to be missing and, crucially, nothing had been added - something which is far more scary. 

On speaking to the airline's baggage people at the airport they first tried to claim it was due to the bag getting caught on the conveyors, but the bag (zip) itself isn't damaged in anyway. They then confessed that they've got a bit of a problem with their luggage guys having a bit of a poke around in luggage. Joy.

I checked it again properly when I reached my homestay, pulling everything out of the bag and checking everywhere - nothing taken, nothing added; just my wash bag rummaged through. Odd.

Alas the point was on Friday night, as I headed back to my homestay after my second day at school. I was pick pocketed and my phone and passport are no longer in my possession.
It is almost impressive in the ability of the thief to remove it from me without me noticing anything at all, especially as it was in a zipped hidden pocket (ie not an open, obvious, pocket, like all trousers have).

The phone itself is an annoyance and one that will costs me even more limited coms for a while and a few quid to fix (my insurance doesn't cover my phone, so it's all out of my pocket). The passport is the bigger issue, obviously.

I am currently in Peru, with grand plans for my travels through Peru and down through Bolivia, Argentina and Chile; onwards to South East Asia after that, at the end of November. 

My travel plans, especially those in South America, are all currently up for renegotiation, as my ability to travel is dependent on what the Consulate (Cusco) and Embassy (Lima) can do in terms of an Emergency Travel Document (an emergency passport) and the limitations this puts on me within country (i.e. the ability to take internal flights), along with what options I haven for getting a replacement "real" passport whilst out of the country and the timescale for doing so.

I'll be speaking with the consulate on Monday (they are closed at weekends) and hopefully I'll know more by Monday evening. Replanning of travel can then happen.

Given I'm travelling for about a year, and have already spent over 4 months on the road, something was going to happen at some point - just annoying it is now, although I'm kinda grateful it is now (if it has to happen) as I've got friends in country with more local knowledge than I have and, crucially, language skills. This would be all the more difficult if I was in Laos, for example, where I'll be early next year, I hope.

In summary: Bugger.