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Getting Back What You Left on a Train (hopefully!)


Now, for the continuation on the story of whether or not I got our passports back after leaving them on a train in Sydney.

Black folder with documents and passports

Black folder with documents and passports

I had no idea so many people would get worked up by my little cliffhanger in last week’s post, but part of me feels as though I’ve done my job very well by inciting that disappointment — just like a good television series.

Ok, so where did we leave off? Right… I was waiting for the phone call from Wynyard telling me they found my folder with our passports.

It was taking bloody ages!

The attendant even left her booth for a minute, which is when I KNEW they were gone. Oh great, now we’re screwed. I’m a total moron!

When she came back in her booth, she picked up the phone… the phone I didn’t hear ringing, and started scribbling down some info.

“What’s your name again?” she asked.

Oh my god, they didn’t find it. They’re taking down my name and info so they can call me later on in the day… to tell me they still didn’t find it.

We struggled with my name, repeatedly, including my first until she scribbled something down on the paper, and repeated something crazy to the other person on the other end of the phone. Her manner was cool and unchanging, but I still waited in anticipation to hear the word on whether or not they found the folder… and our passports!

She didn’t look up for the endless seconds (felt much longer) on the phone, and it was pure torture. Couldn’t she tell I was dying? Couldn’t she tell I was about to burst into tears at any moment? All I needed was one smile… one confirming glance… to let me know the outcome was positive, and yet she failed to give me that.

In the meantime, I calculated the extra costs of my mistake.

I thought about the cost of getting two passports replaced ($110 USD for mine, $233 AUD for Pat’s, plus a $103 AUD expedited processing fee), the cost for new passport photos (plus $30 AUD), the additional cost to expedite the Russian visas (plus $110 AUD for Pat, plus $178 AUD for me)…

The phone call ended. The attendant put the receiver down and continued to write on her paper.

What the…?

Finally, she looked up.

I did not leave the folder on an empty train like this. It was full of morning passengers.

“They have it at Wynyard. Take this note, and take this next train. Go to the control room on platforms 5/6 and you can pick up your passports.”

Sweet, sweet relief. I exhaled heavily. She came out of her booth to hand me the paper and sent me off on the approaching train like a mother dropping her child off at school. I sat down in the atrium of the crowded train, sweaty and mentally drained, but also in bliss. It’s that feeling that makes you just want to tell others, complete strangers, about the good news.

I’m getting our passports back.

And I did. I got them back and immediately headed to the Russian Consulate to apply for our visas.

I’m going back tomorrow morning to pick them up, hopefully adorned with a Russian visa, and then heading directly to apply for our Chinese visa (followed by lunch with Pat and an updated Typhoid shot).

Let’s hope nothing exciting happens on tomorrow’s expedition!


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7 Responses to Getting Back What You Left on a Train (hopefully!)

  1. Randy Kalp March 15, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    Fantastic! That is great news! I hope you have the most uneventful day tomorrow. 🙂

  2. Kristin March 15, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    Phew! So glad to hear that everyone guessing on the last post was right. And I agree with Randy…I hope tomorrow is “boring” in the best possible way 🙂

  3. Brock - Backpack With Brock March 18, 2012 at 4:32 am #

    What a relief! I’m glad you found your passports 🙂

  4. Amanda March 28, 2012 at 2:32 am #

    Lucky you!!! I’m sure that was such a relief.

  5. Melissa- The Mellyboo Project March 28, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    Jesus freaking Christ! That was the most stressful story I’ve read in a long time. So glad to hear you got them back.


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