Friday, February 24, 2012

Saying Good Bye To An Old Friend

I have had my Rucksack for over 20 years and we have traveled well together. Japan, Egypt, Jordan, Europe and now Central and South America. It was old, worn and packed well. We have travelled many miles and he was always a comforting and familiar site on any airport luggage turn style. Today I had to say good bye to Big Blue.

I have a small lock that I use to lock up the main zippers on my rucksack when ever I put it on a plane or bus. I know if someone really wanted to they could get in, but its just one of the small deterrents that seems to work. I have 3 keys for the lock and have on in my day pack put the other two in the small pack attached to Big Blue. Well the perfect storm of laziness had me put all three keys in the day pack and of course that day pack is now MIA. I had to rip open my beloved rucksack to get to my extra credit and bank cards, well along with all my clothing. It was fast as I plunged my MEC camping knife into the soft canvas and ripped it open like a kid on Christmas. I then sadly and pathetically laid it out on the floor. With no camera there was no way to capture the moment but like an old friend I said good bye. Then with pains in my gut I replaced it with a cheap Chinese knock off that if I am lucky will last the 3 weeks I have left on my journey. I am not optimistic. MEC, you have done me proud!

We got into Sucre early and the first thing I needed was an Internet cafe and telephone calling centre. I could get to my hostel at any time. I called my bank and cancelled my bank card and credit card easy enough. There were no attempts at using either. I then called the Canadian Embassy to report my stolen passport and to arrange a meeting to get it sorted out. Lucky me, this was a Friday and the beginning of Carnival Week, the Embassy was closed until Wednesday. Oh man I needed a beer. I went to the police station to file a report that I was going to need. You guessed it, they could not do anything until 8 am on Wednesday morning. How could this get better.

Well it does. I arrived at my hostel the had confirmed my room just the day before to find that sorry, your room is under construction, we only have dorms. Freaking Liars! Nope not good enough. So they called around and found me another hostel which was a bit of a dump but at this moment it was better then being on the street. My Aussie friends were at another hostel and, well were stressed out of their minds. I was stressed and pissed off but as I said, I have been through this before and I know the drill....but the black cloud of stress hangs over you no matter how cool you think you are.

Austrailia 1989. I had just finished a long bus ride and a bit of hitch hiking from Sydney to Canberra. It was Jan 26th weekend, the Australian National holiday and I thought that would be a cool spot to hang out. Now I had just flow across the Pacific to meet a girl from NF that I was dating and that was going to be in Australia for a year. She wanted me to come visit and we were going to travel around the country together. Long of it was, I got there and she dumped me the day I got there. BOOM,  welcome to Bondi Beach Ken
So I pick myself up, dust myself off and figure I am going to see this country anyways, and off I went. Now back to our story. I arrive in Canberra near dusk and I am tired, exhausted really. The hostel I was staying at was a bit out of town so I continue along my way, tired and oblivious. About 15 minutes into my walk alone this what is now a very desolate road a few very large lads come out from behind some bushes and with big friendly smiles say..Mate, we are going to be taking all your things. It was the most polite robbery imaginable. Confused I remember saying, take them where, to the hostel for me. Nope we are taking your things and that's the end of the story. These were not your nervous kids, but pretty large and very capable adult males. I ask, can I have my passport, and of course that was a big NO. So off they went with my rucksack and I was standing on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Now this of course was before cell phones and the Internet and yes you could survive in a wireless world just fine. It took time and with the help of a great local family the leaned of my situation I got everything sorted out and used their house as my mailing centre for my new credit cards. I ended up staying with them for two weeks and it turned out to be the best part of my trip.

If I can got all the way to Austrailia, get dumped and then robbed within a week of each other, well I could certainly survive my issues in Bolivia. Well as I said, I knew the drill based on experience and there was nothing I could do until Wednesday morning and I would be back in La Paz. With the constant help and support of someone you will learn about in the near future I was kept calm and reassured over the three days in Sucre and back in La Paz. Thank you Bama, it will never be forgotten

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