Friday, April 09, 2010

Travel notes - the story, finally

I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume at least some of you noticed my absence from the online world last week (and if you didn't, please indulge my delusions and keep it to yourself). Right so, to satisfy your curiosity, I've been living up to my name. Travelling, darlings, to Italy of all places.

I may have, fleetingly, mentioned my
previous trips to Europe in earlier posts. This being my third trip to the continent in four years, one thing seems to be certain: the place hates me. Seriously.

So here's the story: Having arrived in Rome (three hours later than planned incidentally, because we managed to miss our connecting flight from Paris), we headed to our hotel to check in. The hotel was in a typical European apartment building, which meant that we had to lug our luggage up a few stairs before we could take the lift up to the 5th floor where our rooms were. Since a lot of people in my group had big suitcases, I kept my suitcase and backpack at the side of the corridor, and started helping others with their luggage. A group of three people, two men and a woman, had followed us from the reception, and started helping us with the luggage as well. We thanked them and said we would manage; they persisted for a while, but then left. I went up to my room only after everyone else had done so, where I realised that although my suitcase had come up, my backpack was missing. After checking everyone else's rooms, as well as the lift and the corridor, I rushed across the street to the reception to check if it had been left there. Not finding it there either, I asked about the three people who had started helping us, and discovered that they were neither hotel staff nor guests.

Last year, when I was robbed for the second time in Spain, when my wallet with all my money went (save the one note that I had stuffed into my jacket pocket because I was too lazy to pull out my wallet and put it in), it was my last evening in Barcelona, and I was due to fly home the next morning. This time, however, I was robbed my first day in Rome, barely an hour after I had encashed traveller's cheques at the airport. Moreover, my entire bag went, which meant that apart from all my money, things like my camera, the music player my brother was gifted for his Class X Board results, the 15-year-old Uno cards which have have travelled with me on every holiday I've gone on the past decade and a half, my copy of
Dilip D'Souza's Roadrunner which I picked up as a birthday gift to myself last month - all went.

I wanted to return home that day itself, but the group I was travelling with refused to let me, especially since most bookings had already been made. They couldn't have been nicer about the whole thing - partially because I suspect they felt somewhat responsible as well, since I was helping them with their luggage when the blessed thing got picked up. But despite their support, and their willingness to lend me cash for anything I wanted, spending a week in a foreign country, having to ask someone for money every time you want to buy even a bottle of water - it isn't something I would wish on even my worst enemy.

Having said that, apart from this major tragedy, the trip was quite lovely. Seeing Rome was an experience I don't think I'd do justice to even if I tried to put it in words, and Pisa and Florence were as lovely as they when I visited them four years ago with the family.

Since coming back, I've been trying to take baby steps towards replacing whatever I can. Apart the constant stream of sniffles that took place all through the four hours I spent in the Rome police station the first day, the only time I've really broken down over the whole incident was when I got home and saw that my mum had bought me a new pack of Uno cards - I may be 25, but these things still
matter, y'know?

Anyway, so the week since my return hasn't been exactly great either. I need to pay people back for whatever I borrowed from them on the trip, and I need to replace my dad's camera and pay him the money I lost - and he doesn't get that his constant line of "we'll see about that later" only adds to my stress levels; I
hate owing anyone money, even if it's him. Fair amount of pressure at work, plus my phone's not working too well, which means I need to get that sorted out too.

The other ongoing battle I've been having this week has been with the insurance guys. We had taken a travel insurance policy before going, and I've been speaking to them since getting back too, but apparently the claim I would've been eligible for was to have been put in from Italy itself, within 24 hours of the bag being lost. How I'm supposed to have done so, is beyond me considering my first 24 hours were nearly all spent in the police station, and given that all my documents (except my passport!), including the insurance policy document, was in the damn bag. Plus I've seen the documents they require for the claim to be processed, and how they expect any traveller to get these together within 24 hours when they have no money in the first place is really a mystery to me.

So that's what I've been up to. I've seen some of the photos from the trip, taken by the group, and I look
ill in almost all of them. If you follow me on twitter, you'll have seen some extremely frustrated and whiny tweets coming onto your timeline. It's just... all of it together y'know? And there are times when all I want to do is pick up a vase, and throw it against the wall. I suspect it may make me feel a whole lot better.


ANC said...

Aww, I'm sorry it went off to such a bad start. And glad you enjoyed some part of it at least. Though I can imagine, relying on someone else for money all the time can be annoying.

You know what you should do? You should come to Boston and break the jinx :) You have two hosts here anyway!

antiglam superstar! said...

oh bad! that is bad! I'm happy to be hungry in new delhi!
I'd lost my father's favourite camera on my school farewell.. I'm made to feel guilty about it all the time and haven't been able to replace it for him yet. So, instead, I keep teaching him the fabulous camera features in his new nokia cell phone.. and keep asking, isn't it amazing?? look at the picture quality etc! :(
I've mostly traveled alone to my hostel and back only, and what i'd do is divide the money etc in different pockets/bags/clothes.. i'm very paranoid when traveling alone.

a traveller said...

Did you or did you not bahao tears of sympathy is what I want to know.

I like the phone camera idea though - yahi karna padega.

Anonymous said...

I am going to do you a favour and teach you to be paranoid. The following statements are all true:

1. Everyone is out to get you
2. No one can be trusted
3. Nothing will ever go your way
4. Ever
5. Don't worry there is a god
6. He hates you

They're true for everyone, so you're not alone.

Delo said...

1)Go to a hilltop and scream your lungs out.That should make you feel better.Does it remind u of some Konkona movie?But where do we find some kind of hill?2)Crying in the loo doesn't really make one feel one has cried enough.....3) works amazingly and you are supposed to be good at it.