ike I said, I’d only post if something bad happened.
And here we go.
Final day in Kyoto – shuttle pickup at 1pm, so we had a morning to wander around the city and enjoy it for a little longer. Went into a bookstore (I sound like a broken record). Look, we were travelling with small backpacks and mine was stuffed full of old clothing but hey, in the bookstore they had a copy of The Art of Porco Rosso (a movie I just adore) so I had to pick it up. JB said, sure, go ahead – if we needed to we’d jettison some of my socks and skivvies (turns out we didn’t have to, but only just – miracle that that zipper held). After that, we wandered around in a department store (remembering well after the fact that we’d wanted to eat in such a place and had forgotten – drats!) Then we stopped in an exchange shop and converted the $450 bucks in yen back to bucks-only – ended up with five banded packets of twenties – we looked like some sort of drug mules. Stuck them all in JB’s purse. Remember this point.
Returning to the hotel, JB took a misstep and sprawled on the ground the exact same way she did in Amsterdam! Talk about horrible flashbacks – here I thought she’d break something again an hour before leaving for the airport. I’m bending over to help her and suddenly four or five people in the crowd rush to help her (and one guy even fetched back her package she’d dropped). Such nice people. But she was okay, only shaken up. And me, she’d scared a year or two off my longevity.
Okay, so into the van and after some milling about, off to Osaka airport. The plan was Osaka to Tokyo to LA to Orlando – about thirty hours of planes and airports. The first hop went fine; got into Narita and through security. Once at our gate, we both went into the bathrooms for a little wee (why are you telling us this, Robert?). Then over to the gate. Still had ninety minutes before boarding so we walked to the other end of the concourse where the food places were. Ordered two meals, got a couple of drinks and a pager, found a table, sat, relaxed, and then JB asked, “Where’s my purse?”
That’s right – forty minutes ago she’d gone into the stall, done her business and left sans purse. So no meal, just a relaxing back-pack-laden run up the concourse. I got separated from her when I heard them calling her name overhead – went to the information counter but no, they hadn’t called. But they had. While I was dealing with this confusion JB crashed into the bathrooms only to encounter a policewoman. Upon hearing her story, she said, “Black purse? Come with me.” And so I waited (sweating bullets) while JB trailed the cop back through security to the airport cop shop. After long nail-biting minutes, she returned… with her purse.
Of course, we had to check it with the cops since it had been out of our possession. We opened it up and… there were all the bundles of cash. Amazing. Even more amazing, all the credit cards were there too. But then JB looked up – “Where’s my driver’s license.”
Sure enough, it was missing. Since I’d made copies of everything, I showed the police what it looked like. There was a lot of discussion with the following scenario was forwarded: someone had stolen the license. And this was a big-enough win that they’d left the cash and cards intact (so as to possibly conceal the theft). And what to do with the card? Two thoughts on this – (1) call some stateside acquaintances and break into our house (since the driver’s license showed our address and they knew we were at least thirty hours away), or (2) use it to commit identity theft. There wasn’t much we could do – we did borrow an iPhone from a person in the boarding line and send an email to JB’s sister, asking them to remain diligent in regards to our house. Otherwise, we’d just have to deal with it when we got home.
I can only say that worrying about something like this on an endless flight is about as close to hell as you can get. You can’t even pace, you just sit in your little chair and think about a call from the bank. Capital stuff, worrying.
About midway through the flight, JB suddenly tells me that this purse she has now isn’t her normal purse. That purse is at home and maybe, possibly and perhaps her driver’s license is in that one. Also, she has an identity-checking account, given to her by the government (who had to give it to employees after a massive data breach). So yes, maybe it wasn’t gone. Maybe this was all a horrible mistake. So we decided the plan was to get home, check the purse, then bring up the software and start locking down all our credit.
And so it was a long, long flight home.
We got in at 6am in the morning. As soon as the door was open, she crossed to her table and started rooting through her “real” purse. Me, I just stood with a confident air – of course that must be what happened. The license had to be in her purse. Case closed. Whew. What an adventure.
“It’s not in here,” she told me.
So there I am at 6:30, wigged out after a full day in airliner prison, trying to figure out how this software tool works and checking our various accounts. I’m elbow deep in all this when JB says, “I think I know where it might be…”
She reminded me that long ago, the day before our trip, I’d taken all our passports, credit cards and documentation and made copies at work. Well, almost all. Her driver’s license, she’d copied herself (since she’d need it for her errands that last day). And she’d given me the copy of the license. But where had the card gotten to?
At 8am, I was on the phone to Staples, asking their counter guy if someone had left a driver’s license on the copier. “Let me check,” he said, going back to the office and checking the store safe. Insert Jeopardy waiting music here.
“Yeah, it’s here.”
Telling the guy I’d be right over, I had to look at JB and say (with some exasperation), “Is there anywhere else on the planet that you left anything?”
Anyway, that was it – a nerve-racking end to an otherwise splendid vacation. I have to say that I really enjoyed our visit to that wonderful nation and look forward to returning. The Japanese, without exception, proved to be compassionate and honest and friendly.
Of course, right now, a week later, I’m still suffering from jet lag. But its slowly getting better.
But if that’s the only price (and our credit scores remained intact), I’m more then interested in returning.
And to my readers, thanks for coming along with me through our memories.