July| Vol. 22 No. 8.02 | Christian's Chronicles © 2015 – All rights reserved.
The loyal readers of The Chronicles are well aware that I am currently in the Philippines, working as a volunteer with an organization providing disaster relief. You may have seen my numerous desperate pleas for funds, as this is not without costs to me. Those who were gracious enough to support my efforts: I extend my sincerest appreciation and thanks! The rest of you – quit being so cheap! Spare a buck. Geez…
But this Chronicle, unusually, is not about me asking for your money. No, this time I’d like to tell you an amazing – BUT TURE – tale. The Chronicles are highly regarded for journalistic integrity, and everything reporter here is at least 84% true. This story is no different.
During my trip to the Philippines, I learned early on that one of my pieces of luggage did not arrive. This was a bit upsetting, since I originally started out with only one checked bag. However, I was forced to buy an additional bag at the San Francisco airport, because my one bag slightly exceeded the weight limit imposed by Philippine airlines. Undeterred, I purchased my newest companion on this cross-continental trip, and proceeded to embark upon my journey, which led me first to Manila, then to Tagbilaran. Alas, upon my arrival at airport code TAG, my luggage (the newest member of my traveling family, to be specific) was nowhere to be found.
I reluctantly went through several stages of grieving and reached acceptance. I thought I’d never see the bag with which I had an ever-so-brief relationship.
Nonetheless, in the interest of meeting the requirement of exhaustion of remedies – (alert: that was a lawyer joke, and a very bad one) – I decided to make the trek back to Tagbilaran airport anyway to check on my bag on the off chance that by some miracle it would actually turn up a day late and a buck short… The 15 – 20 minute journey to the airport involved taking a tricycle-taxi, which is one of those cultural oddities you just do not see in the good ol’ US of A. It is essentially a motorcycle with an enclosed side-car attached to it. It even has a luggage compartment.
Anyway, I took one of these little rickety things to town. Upon my arrival, I was mobbed by a bunch of kids who, presumably upon the direction of a nearby parent or some other relative, were requesting donations – much like I do online, but their approach was a bit more ‘in your face.’ I would have felt quite the hypocrite to deny their request given my proclivity for similar request albeit in a different medium. So I gave them a few coins before I shooed them away.
Then, the hair stood on the back of my neck and I immediately broke out in a sweat, even before I turned and started sprinting toward the taxi in the back of which I had left my backpack… with my laptop and several other important items in it…
I ran valiantly, but I could not catch up to the taxi. To be more specific, the taxi I did catch was not the same taxi that I took on my way to town. Yes, at this point not only my luggage, but also my carry-on bag WITH MY LAPTOP IN IT was lost….
After a while, I could only look at the cosmic comedy of it all, and see the humor from a detached perspective. This was, after all, much like a movie, a comedy of errors if you will, and I just happened to be the poor sap who is the main character. So, I did some shopping and went to the airport just to put my mind at ease that I tried everything to recover my lost luggage, at least, even if the laptop and the backpack were forever gone.
Much to my surprise, the representative from Philippine airlines immediately recognized me and said: “We have your bag!”
I was astounded. Indeed, they had tracked down my lost luggage, which apparently never made it on the same plane that took me and my carry-on bag and laptop from San Francisco to Manila.
Yay! At least I had one bag.
I then remembered that while taking the tricycle-taxi into town I was filming, just to get some footage of what the surroundings were like. I quickly played back the film to confirm my suspicions: I had recorded the taxi’s number: 1805.
Yes! Now at least I had something to work with. I made my way down to the police station, just to tell them that if they can trace down the driver of 1805 he might still have my backpack. I made the report, and did not expect much – but I had to do my due diligence.
Well, when I arrived back at the camp, i was greeted by yet another surprise.
“We have your bag” – a phrase I had heard once before, was repeated yet again. The taxi driver had found it, and he took the time to return it to the camp.
Unbelievable as it may seem, my backpack with my laptop and various other important possessions was lost, then returned to me, on the same day as I recovered my lost luggage. It was quite an emotional roller-coaster. I chalk it up to good karma. Let’s face it, I have a lot to make up for, but I think perhaps the universe has seen my attempts at good deeds, and rewarded me with the return of my laptop and my luggage as a lesson to… I don’t know? Have faith in… if nothing else the appreciation some people can show for a good deed.
Well, so much for this episode of The Chronicles. I have people looking over my shoulder and it is getting late. The day starts early for a volunteer in Bohol! So without further ado, I bid you farewell.