May 8, 2006

My First Flirt with the Law

Well, it finally happened! After four careful months of watching my back and never leaving my belongings out of my sight, my bag finally was nicked in probably the safest area I have been in yet. On the same day of my last blog entry, as I sat gassing on the phone in a very respectable looking internet cafe surrounded by suits, some fiend managed to manoeuvre it right out from under my leg. That horrible sick feeling came over me when I looked down and slowly realised that it was gone.
Luckily, I had gotten into a habit in Peru and Bolivia of never carrying more than one card with me and usually very little money. So, on this occasion, there was only my Mastercard and about the equivalent of US$3. Unfortunately, by the time I got to cancel the card it had been used in a department store, but thankfully not for a huge amount. Here in Chile, when you offer a credit card as payment you are required to show some form of photo ID, so that probably meant that the thief had trouble racking up sales on it.
There was little in the bag that cannot be replaced. What I am the most upset about is the fact that my camera was in there. Usually, I never have my camera around Santiago (mainly because I live here now and have just stopped taking photos) but this particular day I brought it with me to download the photos from the memory card. Anyway, the camera is covered by insurance, but I have lost all my photos from the last few weeks. Those, i can never get back. So, the thief got almost nothing from taking my bag, while I lost all my personal belongings (he/she will no doubt just toss those somewhere without a care).
Surprisingly, I wasnt as upset as I thought I might be in such a situation. Its more of a bother than anything else, havng to go and make a police report, source receipts for insurance claims, etc. Pain in the ass.
Ian, the owner of my hostel, very kindly came with me to the police station downtown to file a report. We were met with a boorish sullen looking tub of a guard who had ZERO sympathy for me or my loss. He looked like he positively loathed his job and sat hammering away on his keyboard, pissed at all of humanity. Ian and I beamed at him continually and in the end, he cracked a smile of sorts as we were leaving. Off we went to drown my sorrows in fits laughing at the state of him.
Today, I am back at said internet cafe with my bag welded to the chair beside me, killing time before my English teacher training begins at 3:30pm. I have 2 hours of training before I hve to give a demonstration class. I am NERVOUS! Wish me luck!

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