Rhod Gilbert has a sketch on Youtube which is all about turning up to Australia and his luggage not making it. He stands watching a handle go around and around and around laughing at the poor sap who owns the handle. Then he realises it’s his handle and has to try and get the airline to help. That sketch happened to me.
I arrived in Panama City with a bit of trepidation as I’d had a few problems coming through Bogota airport so wasn’t confident that my checked luggage would arrive, but still appreciated that I was most likely just pessimistic. As I stood there a handle appeared. It circled around the carousel and I laughed. I laughed hard. I grabbed my camera and took a picture and then I laughed some more.
In the three months I had been travelling literally nothing can compare to the despair that I felt at that moment. I’d lost everything. I had the clothes I stood in (for the cold of Ecuador), my carry on bag with valuables and nothing else. Everything was in my main rucksack. My stomach sank, my head spun and I’m not ashamed to say I almost cried. This was one miniature disaster too far. I could cope with drunken drivers, broken down buses, getting stuck in Bolivia, getting scammed in Peru or any of the other little problems, but losing my rucksack through no fault of my own, that sucked.
I stood in front of the airline representative (Avianca) who tried to help and we spoke Spanglish but I really struggled as I was too upset to think straight. In the end another passenger had the same problem as me and his girlfriend helped translate for me. I ended up leaving the airport with the belief the rucksack would turn up in 2 hours or so.
I got to my hostel and waited. They called the airline who knew nothing about the missing rucksack. They called later and whilst they now knew it was missing, they didn’t know where it was. I went to bed – what else could I do? I was hot, sweaty, frustrated and ready to jack it all in!
I woke the next morning to hear that my rucksack had been found and would be returned at some point that day. When was anyone’s guess though as I heard everything from a couple of hours to three weeks. I grew more despondent. Now that the rucksack had been found I couldn’t bring myself to go and buy anything as I would be duplicating what I already had so I waited.
And waited. And waited. And waited…. Eventually at 1500 my rucksack arrived.
So far in travelling few things have given me the elation that collecting my rucksack from the delivery man.
That Rhod Gilbert sketch? Well, at least mine finished on a happy, albeit sweaty and in need of a shower, note. That goodness for that!
Rhod Gilbert Luggage problems sketch:
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