Friday, 25 September 2015

The Lost Passport

I've always prided myself in being quite a 'good' traveller. I've been through many travel situations and have handled them decently. My brother and father frequently like to incredulate over the fact that even though I get lost cycling from my house to my friend's house, I manage to navigate Aberystwyth, Wales to Auckland, NZ. Aeroplanes are my thing.

Now, however, I have lost that travel-confidence.

Many firsts: First flight missed, tick. First hearing of own name on airport loud speaker, tick. First passport lost, tick. First passport lost after still having it at passport control, tick.

Not that any of them will happen again. Learn from your mistakes and all, eh.
Awesome Bali airport (runway on the left), courtesy of Google
So, the story. Time to leave Bali. Got to check-in. Showed our passports, got our boarding passes. Then, security. Showed our boarding passes, they confiscated a pair of scissors I had managed to smuggle into Indonesia, but clearly not out of it. (Actually, on our way to Bali, the x-ray dude, after x-raying my bag, asked me if I had a pair of scissors. I took them out, but he was happy to just look at them, and then I got them back...)

Then, immigration/passport control. Showed the immigration dudes our passports, and then proceeded to lug our massively oversized carry-on bags to our gate. (Yes, we were them annoying people with huge carry-ons...) It was a veeeeery long way, you had to weave through the shopping centre and do a U-turn at some point before you got to our gate which, obviously, was the one furthest away.

We got to our gate, and I went shopping for souvenirs, then shopping for food. The lady at the shop complimented me on my fun bright neon yellow Gangnam Style-top. 

Then, it was time for boarding. 10.40pm, ready for an 11.10 departure.
Except I couldn't find my passport. Well, I couldn't find my purple folder. My purple folder where I keep all my important documents, including my boarding pass and my passport... And I had had it at passport control, twenty minutes ago.

I rummaged through my bag. Then I rummaged through Nikki's. I rummaged through my brain trying to think where we'd been between immigration and the gate. Answer: nowhere really. No idea.

Panicked, I left Nikki to go through my bag again while I ran off to retrace our steps. It was just a bit difficult coz we'd literally only stopped twice on our way from passport control to the gate... I asked the ladies at the toilet's about my passport. I ran to customer service to talk to the lady, who told me I should go talk to security.

After a few wrong people I realised she meant the people at immigration. I started running to immigration. I stopped to take off my flip-flops because they were impeding my run. I got to immigration, trying to state as clearly yet quickly as possible to the security man hanging around, “I've lost my folder which has my passport and my boarding pass. What do I do?” He was confused, then went to tap the shoulder of one of the immigration officers at the desks.

You've lost your passport?” Mr Immigration Officer was flabberghasted.
When does your flight leave?”

He promptly left his desk and the passenger he had been in the process of dealing with.
My memory is a bit unclear here due to my distraught state of mind. There were many airport officials, many mobile phone calls, many radio walky talky thing calls, and a little nagging feeling of deep, deep embarrassment at the back of my, er, soul.

No lost and found purple folder.

It was five minutes till take-off – or so I'd estimate, I made a point of not looking at clocks... I had to run back. Fingers crossed, fingers crossed Nikki's found it...

No she hadn't.

You know when a situation gets so serious it goes beyond feelings? That's how I felt, rummaging desperately through my bag, knowing it was hopeless; our gate officials pressing us seriously for our decision, saying that the flight has to leave NOW; hearing our names on the airport loudspeaker (that was an exciting moment, if only I could've savoured it more...); Nikki next to me, keeping herself together but still very clearly panicked, asking me what we should do, not accepting me telling her that she should go without me (we figured at the end that would've been a very stupid option, since we only had one source of money between the two of us, my Finnish debit card...), her asking “what do we do?” and me, telling her hopelessly honestly: “I don't know.” I felt so, so responsible for her, since I'm the experienced traveller out of the two of us... and it was horrible. Amid all this, however, I did remember to make a point of putting on my hoodie so as to cover my ridiculous Gangnam Style-top. Now that would have been just too tragicomic.

We told the airport officials we're both staying at the airport. They went off to tell the plane that it can depart without us. I went off to find a suitable corner to sit down and cry uncontrollably in.

Nikki came over to comfort me, bless her <3 , and the Friendly Main Airport Official Guy let me borrow his phone to phone to my parents back in Finland – not that they could really help in any way, I guess mummy and daddy are just the default sympathy <3 I couldn't get through immediately because in my unhappy state of mind I first dialled my own number instead of my dad's number...

While on the phone to my dadsykins, the airport officials told us we had to go to Counter 2. Apparently the folder had been found!?!? Quick goodbye to dadsykins, then we followed these airport officials to the customer service. There, there was a man, and the man was holding MY PURPLE FOLDER. With its joyful elephant and horse and singing bird and very, very ironic 'Good luck!' on it. I wanted to cry again.
With the famous purple folder on the next day
It was apparently found near the 'Last Wave' -restaurant. (Irony, yes, again.) We hadn't eaten there. But then, I realised, that we had actually stopped there. Last Wave had an awesome sign in front of it that I had had to take a picture of. So I put down my folder on a table, put down my bag, took my camera, put away my camera, picked up my bag... and didn't pick up my folder. Yes yes yes, imbecilic human being alert. (Or should I say half-baked. Or moronic. Or out to lunch. Oh I love you online thesaurus.)
The picture
Aaaaaaahhhh relief. But, well, our flight had left. So we were escorted out of the airport. I felt like a criminal being caught just before the final escape.
Look at our cool VOID stamp
We were taken back to a check-in desk opened purely for us, where the check-in dude looked for new flights for us. Next day, same time. 75 dollars each. Which is, yes, 150 dollars more money than I would've want to spend, but it was very, very reasonable-priced taking account it was cheaper than the original tickets we'd bought.
We had to take a pic of our info just in case
Then, magically there was a taxi waiting for us, and we took this taxi back into central Kuta. Where we got to walk down most of the length of Legian, the main party street, with them massively over-sized bags. We found a hotel with a pool, aptly called 'Matahari', 'sun', one of the words Eric had taught us only a few hours previously on the beach, and so we booked a Deluxe room there at about 1am, had a night swim and then went to sleep. Still in Bali. <3
Our pool
All in all, a horrific experience, and so incredibly embarrassing, but I must dedicate a special mention for Bali airport staff. All of them were so helpful, so friendly, despite my problem being probably the most dim-witted one possible. All the officials were such STARS and so, ah, lovely. THANK YOU BALI AIRPORT.

Lesson of the day: Do not travel in a Gangnam style-top.


Attempt 2, the successful one


  1. Attempt 2: and you've changed your top! What a story! <3 <3 And what lovely helpful people. You two were quite amazing as well. <3

  2. Honoured to have had so many mentions in such a melodrama. Thank God for the airport staff and that the passport was found. Zz

  3. it was interesting night.. I'm still so happy for extra bali-day<3 just remember: you are still a good traveller!!! Now you are one travel experience richer, so you are better traveller now(; Did it cost 75dollars EACH?! Still not bad. I just wanna say: I love you<3 PS. laitoitko plautetta balin airportille ikinä? en osannu kysyä englanniks :-D nikki(:

  4. PPS. What I was doing with my hand in the last picture?! And my face... hahahaha