Two Cut Locks And A Busted Zipper
Chennai Travel Blog› entry 20 of 67 › view all entries
I cannot stress the importance to any traveler heading to India of how essential it is to have ALL your bags locked. And not just locked either. They need to be secured with good quality locks and not some cheapo lock you can buy at the market. And you need chains. Well, I use bike locks but you need something to secure your bags to the train or else someone will walk away with them while you sleep. I kid you not.
From Bhubaneswar I got onto a train that would take me to Chennai in 20 hours.
I found my bed and proceeded to secure all my belongings. However, as soon as I got settled into my prized upper bunk, a man came up to me and showed me his ticket that listed the SAME BED. 20 minutes of talking things out with railway officials and consulting lists and what not, I got my ass vacated from the berth. Apparently my name wasn’t on the official lists even though my ticket seemed legitimate.
Sucks to be me at this point. But not as much as it sucked later when I decided to lay down with my iPod to calm myself after having to deal with the berth fiasco. I fell asleep with my iPod running and when I woke up a little while later, the lights were off.
I thought that I better lock my iPod into my backpack in order that it not get stolen during the night. So I groped around to find my keys, stuck the key in the lock, and then IT GOT STUCK.
Yes Sean, I did it again. I did this in Koh Phi Phi and Sean and I spent a good 15 minutes struggling to remove the key. You’d think that after having to cut one lock off my bag I’d learn to never let that mistake happen again. But no. I’m apparently a glutton for punishment.
I was in trouble. Not only did this mean that I couldn’t open my day pack, but the key I needed to unlock my main backpack was now stuck in the wrong lock! I had successfully managed to lock myself out of both my bags!
I asked a passing railway worker to help me out. He came to take a look, told me to wait right there, and then he walked off.
He never came back.
I asked a second guy to help me out. He tried to pull out the key with no success and then he told me that since we were sitting in the dark, that maybe it was best that we wait til morning. It was 12:30 at night so I agreed and went to sleep.
The next morning there was no sign from my second hero-to-be. Sometime around 11am I caught him passing by and I reminded him of my problem. He remembered and told me to wait right there.
He didn’t come back.
Around 1pm I found a new railway worker. He asked me what berth I was then told me to go back to my berth and he’d come by to see. When he didn’t show up I went back to find out what happened to him. I found him TAKING A NAP.
Yes Allan, I know you’re laughing your ass off right about now but it WASN’T FUNNY FOR ME. You see, my backpack was locked in that duffel bag. But unless I removed the backpack from the duffel bag and had it strapped on to my back properly, I COULDN’T CARRY THAT BAG…….at least not for very long that is.
Finally I managed to find a railway conductor and explained my story. He told me to go to my berth and wait.
So I went back and cried. But this time someone came by about an hour later and asked me to follow him. He took me to the section where all the conductors were and sat me down so I could explain my situation to all of them.
I thought FINALLY, now something is going to get done! They all listened to me explain what happened and how I needed someone to cut my locks off. After waiting 14 hours for help, it was obvious that I was tired and very upset.
A conductor then told me that I needed to submit a formal complaint. A formal complaint? I asked him why I needed to do that since I wasn’t actually complaining about anything (other than the sleeping railway worker!). I just wanted some cutters!
He said that that was procedure and then handed me some forms. They were titled “Theft of Luggage Report”.
I said “No no. Why do I need to fill out this form if all I need is someone to unlock my bags? They’re not stolen. They’re the OPPOSITE OF STOLEN. In fact, my bags are so secure that even I can’t open them!”
But the conductor insisted I fill them out. He helped me and watched as I wrote out “none” for how many bags lost, and “nothing” under what items were stolen.
After that was done I asked them what was I supposed to do with my bags now.
It was at this point that they started to realize that I still had my bags. Nothing was stolen. The conductor then said to me “if your bags weren’t stolen, then you didn’t need to fill out these forms!”
Apparently they listened to my story by NOT LISTENING to my story! They all spoke English by the way. I think they just didn’t bother to listen!
But it gets better. They send a railway worker to cut off my locks. He followed me to my bags, looked at the problem, AND THEN SNAPPED OFF MY ZIPPER! That’s right! Instead of cutting off my $3 lock, he cut the zipper off my $200 bag.
And the worst part? When he stood up he grinned at me as though I were going to thank him for being my hero! He was so proud of himself! I wanted to wring his neck! He didn’t even get how STUPID that was!
Eventually, I got the locks actually cut off and today I had to get the zippers replaced on my bag. After all, I needed to be able to lock my bags up again……once I buy new locks that is.
Just for the record, I’m buying combination locks this time. And it only cost me $1 and 20 minutes to get my bag fixed.