Hey, that's my purse!
Paris Travel Blog› entry 67 of 113 › view all entries
September 18th, 2008 – by: afredrix
It all started innocently enough. I began the sunny Parisian day without a care in the world. I bought a baguette from the bakery, some fruit from the fruit guy, and the final touches from a nearby market. With my lunch and book in tow, I set out for the river to soak in the sun.
When the basking was done and a realization that my little purse was nowhere to be found set in, I frantically sprinted back to the market.
The good chuckle would have to wait. When the women shook their heads in bemused regret, I could only do what I believe anyone in my situation would have: I burst into tears. Then checked my bag for the zillionth time. It was just an ugly little purple wallet, but large enough to hold my cash, driver's license, multiple credit cards, passport and (insert tragic gasp here) my favorite chapstick, to boot. The rookie mistake of carrying my passport with me, instead of leaving it safely at home with my bag, is another story altogether.
The women directed me to the police station, where I told my story through a mist of sputtering teardrops. Every time I tried to compose myself and talk without welling up, a snide little voice would click on in my head, taunting "Nice work, moron. Who's the big, smart seasoned traveler now?" and the frustrated stream of tears would return.
The police could only do so much initially, so with a ball of tissues and plans for my return, they sent me home to deal with the credit cards. I called and canceled everything immediately, but it was too late. My bank account had been drained, and then some. Quick little bastards.
As this trip is all about new experiences, my next step was a visit to the American Embassy. I suppose every experienced traveler needs to see the inside of one at some point in their life. And I must say, it was a very pleasant experience. As pleasant as it could be, of course, considering the circumstances and fact I had to fork over $100 to replace the passport I just purchased 7 months ago. But the people were great and I don't think the women I talked to would have left me sleeping in the streets, if that were my situation. By my third trip back to the embassy, I was practically buddies with the guards and moving through the waiting lines in VIP fashion.
The same should be said for the French police as well. Despite the fact (or let's be honest, maybe BECAUSE of the fact) I was slobbering snot and tears all over them and only able to speak in english, they were extremely nice. And the young officer Anthony, who filed my report, even escorted me to the city Lost and Found on his day off. Perhaps there were ulterior motives to his helpfulness and it could have been the framework for a classic hollywood romance, but alas...a person is only allowed so many good stories in a week and I am not Meg Ryan.
So there it is. The biggest stress I hope to ever go through as a traveler, but I won't hold my breath. I was a bit of a mess with the initial shock of it all, but by the next day, I got over. It happened and there was nothing more I could do but suck it up and take the steps to correct my losses. And in the meantime, I was stuck in Paris. A city with an unending supply of neighborhoods to explore, sunny days and, of course, those whiplash-inducing gents everywhere I looked. It really could be worse.
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