So, Sri Lanka has certainly got off to a memorable start. I touched down around 10.30pm, feeling mighty flat and non-enthused, to be perfectly honest. My nine hour stopover ended up being quite tolerable, actually, but as soon as I got on the plane, tiredness hit me like a ton of bricks. 99% of the time I love travelling, I really do, but I can’t deny there are times when it all seems like too much effort. Sitting on the plane with heavy eyes and a headache, all I wanted was to be at home, in my bed, with my dog curled up at my feet. I guess after three months of leading a quiet life at home, being reminded how big and busy the world is had overwhelmed me.
Despite warnings of possible delays due to renovations currently occurring at Bandaranaike International Airport, going through immigration was quick and easy, and I was ready to be picked up by the free shuttle at the nearby airport hotel where I was staying within half an hour of getting off the plane. Once the brief formalities of check-in were finalised and I’d been shown to my room, the exhaustion magically evaporated. The hard part was over and I could finally relax- or so I thought.
My laptop had run out of battery while I’d been waiting at Kuala Lumpur, so I pulled out my charger and went to connect it to my laptop, only to realise, with a very sickening feeling, that it wasn’t in my room. The first pang of panic struck as I walked back to reception and, when it wasn’t to be found there either, my tiny bubble of hope burst immediately. Of course, I couldn’t now remember when I’d last had it with me, but I suspected that I’d put it down while calling for my shuttle- a call which I’d made outside on a ledge near the taxi rank, which was swarming with people. I had zero hope. It was gone forever.
The hotel staff kindly drove me back to the airport, insisting that they hadn’t seen it. I think they thought that I thought they’d taken it, and I’m sorry if I gave off that impression. It was a miserable ride, made even more depressing by a lady I spoke to on the phone who, although I couldn’t focus on much of what she was saying in my state, I did comprehend when she said it was my responsibility to look after my own possessions in the airport. Like I’m not disagreeing with you, lady, but I just felt it was an unnecessary kick in the guts. You’re telling me something I already know and am kicking myself over. I tried to console myself with the fact that I’d backed everything up on my portable hard drive back home- but it was a bitter consolation.
Once I’d been dropped off, I returned to the place where I’d made the call, but, unsurprisingly, there was no laptop there. The only other place I could’ve left it was at the currency exchange counter, so I made my way back to the arrivals hall, knowing it was only a fool’s hope leading me on. A guard stopped me from entering, so I explained my situation, and he made a couple of calls. When he finished the second call, he turned to me and said there is a laptop. He directed me to the day pass office, and a tiny spark of hope was ignited- could it be?
I wandered over to the office and, lo and behold, there it was. I spotted my scratched black Compaq straight away, sitting smack bang on top of a table. Just another laptop in an office to anyone else who may have glimpsed it as they walked past, but a glorious sight to see for yours truly. I could’ve cried, I just couldn’t believe my eyes. I’d assumed the worst, but some angel out there had proved we shouldn’t give up on the goodness of people.
I was let into the day pass office in order to verify that the laptop was actually mine. The only problem was, of course, that it had run out of charge. I was willing to catch a taxi back to the hotel and get the charger, but I think it was obvious to the two officers that I was being honest about my claim. They took my details and let me take my laptop without any further ado.
I had to find my own way back to the hotel now, as the shuttle had not been allowed to wait for me, but I was so ecstatic that I didn’t even care. I knew now that the hotel was only a fifteen minute walk away, so off I went, completely unperturbed at walking on the side of a road in a brand new country at 12.30am.
In my experience, there is always one time on a trip, guaranteed, when something will go wrong, and I’m hoping that with this misadventure, my quota for Sri Lanka has been filled. I also believe that all’s well that ends well- and I certainly couldn’t have asked for a happier ending than this. To the honest soul who handed in my laptop to airport staff- thank you, thank you, thank you!!! You have saved me a lot of grief and ensured my memories of this trip will not be overshadowed by an unfortunate experience. May plenty of good karma come your way.