My Biggest Nightmare Becomes Reality in Paris
It’s 4:00am and the alarm on my iPod is making sure that we’re awake. We’re scurrying around my uncles house gathering up our bags for our 7AM flight from Dublin to Paris.
Check-in goes flawless, and we fly through security with ease. We consider ourselves professionals at this now. We board our plane and we’re off to sleep.
One hour an forty-five minutes later the pilot comes on and welcomes us to Paris!” We’re as excited as we usually are when we get to a new destination. It’s 10:45 and we know we have the whole day ahead of us to find our CouchSurfing hosts flat but for some reason the adrenaline is pumping and we’re going full speed ahead.
Three metro lines later we’re doing great and everything is going exactly as planned. All that we need to do now is catch the 189 bus from the Corentin Celton station to the Centre Culturel de Jean Arp station in Clamart. We board the 189 bus to Clamart and I ask the bus driver “Parlez-vous anglais?” (Do you speak English). She replies “Yes”. I say could you tell me which stop is the Centre Culturel de Jean Arp? All of a sudden she acts like she doesn’t understand English and she ignores me as I stand there awaiting her answer. I see a small map on the wall so I drop my day bag on the seat and walk over to the check out the map. Conveniently enough I find out that we’re only seven stops from our destination. Perfect. My main backpack hasn’t left my back since we got our of the airport and I’ve just about had enough of lugging it around for today. My entire focus is to get off at this next stop, get to our hosts place and drop this bag!
We hop off of the bus and within about five minutes we arrive at our hosts home. I gasp as my bag drops off of my shoulders. Nothing feels better than finding your new home for the week, dropping your bags and being welcomed by your host with glass of french wine.
Fifteen minutes goes by as we’re chatting with two young Lithuanian CouchSurfers who stayed the night last night at our host Michael’s place. They’re telling us all about Paris and how much fun they’ve had while here. I head into the kitchen to grab my laptop out of my day bag only to find that my day bag is missing. I take in a deep breath and look around the kitchen where we first dropped out bags. I walk swiftly into the living room and ask Liz if she has seen my bag. She hasn’t. I immediately realize that my bag is still riding on the 189 bus, without me.
Michael throws me a helmet and we run down four flights of stairs before jumping on the back of his motorcycle. He knows the bus route like the back of his hand so we’re flying around the back streets of Clamart trying to find the bus that I left my bag on.
There’s a 189 bus in our sights but it seems that we’re hitting every red light in town. My hands are sweating from gripping the passenger handles so tight and we’re approaching the bus that my bag is on. As we pull up Mike yells out to the driver as I jump off of the back of the bike. I run onto the bus only to find that it was a different driver and just one of many 189 buses that are on this route. I jump off of the bus and back onto the bike in disgust while Mike tries to explain the situation to the driver. The driver makes a call into the office and after a few minutes he says that there was a bag handed into a driver earlier. There are no other details and I’d have to wait until the drivers shift is over at 7:30PM to find out if the bag that was found was actually mine. It’s only 12:45pm and my brain is still denying the fact that we can’t find this stupid bus. I mean, it has to be around here somewhere right? Wrong. After spending another 25 minutes stalking 189 buses we turn around and unfortunately have to call it a day.
I’m trying to be positive and think that there may be a possibility that the bag that was found is mine, but it’s so hard. Just imagine how many bags get lost in Paris each and every day. What are the actual chances that my bag is found? When I arrived back at the apartment with nothing but a helmet in hand Liz was speechless, as was I.
I’m tossing and turning thinking of my bag and everything that I will lose if it doesn’t turn up. Eventually I fall asleep due to total exhaustion and 7:00PM rolls around fast. My alarm is going off and I’m up and dressed in seconds with helmet in hand. Back on the bike, and we’re off to the bus office. We arrive there and the staff are in the “it’s not my problem” mood that Mike warned me about. Mike explains that I need to see the bag that was found because I have a flight back to the U.S. tomorrow. No, I don’t have a flight back to the states in the morning but it sure kicked these guys in gear. Within minutes they explain that the bag that was found is at another office about 20 minutes away. The only problem we have now is the office closes in 15 minutes.
Ten minutes later we come to a screeching halt in front of the second office. I jump off of the bike hoping that I will catch a glimpse of my bag through the windows but I don’t see anything yet. There’s a man inside going through a bag, but I cannot tell if it’s mine. Mike runs up and explains that we’re looking for a lost bag and the man holds up the bag saying “This one?”. It’s my BAG! I’m on the verge of breaking down and crying.
After proving that it was actually my bag the man handed it over to me and not one single thing was missing from it. I literally couldn’t believe my eyes. Who ever it was that handed a black day bag in after finding it on the bus this past Tuesday August 3rd, 2010, I owe you my LIFE! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Also, I have to give special thanks to my CouchSurfing host Mike who went out of his way to whip me around town trying to hunt down my bag. If it wasn’t for him I may not have found it because it’s extremely difficult to speak to the bus staff when you don’t know a lick of french! Thanks Mike, you are the BEST!
Oh yeah, did I mention what was in this day bag of mine?
- 2 Passports (My Irish & American Passports)
- 11″ HP Mini Netbook w/ Logitech Nano Mouse
- 1 Canon Digital Camera with an 8GB High Speed SD Card
- Pair of Skullcandy Headphones w/ built in Microphone
- 1 Credit Card and 1 Debit/ATM Card
- My ID/Drivers License
- and 50 Euro…
Have you ever been this lucky? If so, feel free to leave a comment below. Oh, and yes I know I’m an idiot for leaving it behind so please don’t remind me! Thanks ;)