When moving to a new place or traveling to new places it is possible that you will occasionally take leave of your senses and forget something here or there along the way. Recently we have taken this to a whole new level and started leaving valuable items behind in taxis because getting from point A to point B is not challenging enough…No, we want the full experience of communicating our dilemma in multiple languages or through gestures and mimes in an attempt to get someone to help us retrieve our lost item.
Case Study 1: David’s work cell phone
Despite the fact that David despises all products Apple, he did not actually intend to divest himself of this particular item in the back of a taxi that took us home from a 4 hour city tour/interactive Chinese lesson. His work phone just happened to fall out of his pocket. He realized this mistake about 2 minutes after leaving the cab, and after another minute of profuse swearing we walked back to the security guard shack at the front of our complex to try to explain the problem. On the walk back I had been calling David’s phone Non-stop (which had 10% battery remaining) in the hopes that the driver would pick up, but then what would we say? Once we reached the guard David tried his hand at miming. Pointing at my cell phone and gesturing at the place the guard had seen us get out of the cab he seemed to understand what had happened and offered a suggestion to call the local taxi hotline. We did not know the cab company or taxi number, so I didn’t know what to say, and it turns out all the options were in Chinese and I had no idea which option to select to proceed anyway. At this point our only other option was to keep calling and hope the driver would hear the buzzing and pick up David’s phone. To his great fortune, after about 12 calls, the driver picked up and the security guard directed him back to us. The driver returned with the phone a few minutes later and restored some of my faith in humanity, for which we rewarded him 100RMB (~$15). Everyone made out pretty good on that deal.
Case Study 2: The Poster Tube
We found a really neat painting on our trip to Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City and decided the price was reasonable and it was worth hauling with us on the rest of the trip, so we bought it. It made the flight to Hanoi just fine, in and out of a shuttle we had been talked into (and then talked ourselves out of) and into another taxi from the airport…where it was left behind. David gets the blame for this one as we each took responsibility for two different awkward sized items while traveling. At least this time I happened to know the cab company name and the hotel staff in Hanoi spoke quite good English and even offered to call them and try to retrieve our painting. This recovery ended up being quite painless on our part once the hotel staff stepped up to help. The painting was delivered while we were out to dinner with a friend and has made it safely back to China with us. (At least we think it did, still haven’t opened the poster tube back up yet…)
Case Study 3: The Painted Nón lá (aka Pointy Hat from Vietnam)
Just to change things up this painted hat was left in our “luxury tour van” after we were sent home two days early from our Halong bay boat tour due to the impending typhoon. Despite the driver reminding us to check that we had everything, the hat was sitting up out of the way so it didn’t get crushed, and so we would forget it when we left. While it is difficult to say for sure who was most responsible, we will blame this one on me because I should have just left this hat with our poster tube at the hotel for safe keeping while we went on the boat. The hat was only worth $4 (yeah we paid too much because it was pretty!), but I still really liked it and decided it was worth rescuing if I could. Luckily the tour company had it sitting in their office and all it took was a phone call to confirm this and a 6 or 7 minute walk the next morning to retrieve it. Success!
- The items we are leaving behind continue to decrease significantly in value. This is good.
- David started this trend and is still winning 2:1.
- Maybe we should stop using public transportation for a while…
In other news we are back “home” from Vietnam and I’ll hopefully put something together about our trip later this week!