TRAVEL STORY: DISASTER- MISSING RENTAL MOTORBIKE!
I watched my burgeoning travel and blogging life disintegrate before my very eyes. I nearly had a heart attack as my heart thumped full steam ahead. My rental scooter was gone!
I searched up and down the street in the area I’d parked it three hours earlier. A car was now parked where I remembered parking my bike. Hmm… I searched nearby on both sides, becoming increasingly more alarmed as I scoured dozens of parked bikes ever more carefully, all to no avail.
Just before leaving the cafe a few minutes earlier, I’d been unable to locate my bike key in the bag pocket where I habitually stash my keys. I had not been worried at that point, though it did cross my mind that perhaps I’d left the key in the seat-release lock at the back of the bike when I strapped in my helmet. Oh, dear.
But I felt quite confident the bike would be awaiting me even if I’d made that silly blunder. I was lucky with such things. I just knew the bike would be there. Either I’d see the key dangling from the back end and reprimand myself or I would search harder through my bags to find it.
My cocky, I’m-a-very-lucky-girl attitude quickly dissolved when the bike was not there after all. As I searched longer and increasingly more carefully, I tried to remain calm and think clearly. Dozens of thoughts flooded my mind, as they do in emergencies. What would come next?
I’d have to go to the police to report the bike stolen. I realized that I did not know the license plate number or the make of the bike. Even worse, the bike registration was tucked inside the seat compartment. What a dunce!
Just yesterday I’d told myself to write down the license plate number, get a copy of the registration, and keep the original in my wallet. But I hadn’t done it. Now it was too late.
I’d have to call the bike owner and report his bike stolen. How embarrassing to confess that it had been stolen because I’d left the key in the bike for three hours!
They’d have to search for the bike. Would they? I hoped. But I might very well have to buy a new bike to replace that one. There goes all my hard-earned travel blogging money, down the drain in one fell swoop. Back to square one and $0. What would become of me? How could I keep traveling?
I made one last, very careful inspection of every bike in the vicinity, still holding out hope. But my bike was not among them. Game over. I could start ‘my new life’ as the victim of a stolen bike by telling the shop clerks where I’d parked about my predicament. Perhaps they knew what had become of it? I walked over to tell them.
Up on the sidewalk, I looked back at the bikes again. What was that? Was that my white helmet strapped to a bike? Was that my bike with the turquoise stripe? Was that the cool sticker on my bike’s dashboard? My bike! It was there!
I noticed that no key was dangling from the back, either. That meant I had the key in my bag after all.
“My bike,”I yelled, throwing my hands in the air. I hugged that bike. I kissed that bike. I paused to exhale and catch my breathe, while my heart gradually stopped thumping. I clutched my chest. I very nearly burst into tears I was so utterly relieved.
Everything was ok! Suddenly, my money was back in my bank account. My life-as-I-knew-it had been restored. I did not have to call the owner with a confession. Did not have to spend hours in a police station. Did not have to walk back to my guest house and ask for help. None of that messy business for me!
All I had to do was climb back on my ‘returned’ bike and resume my day, just as planned 10 minutes and one disaster ago. Amazing how vastly life can change within a few minutes.
My scooter had been turned around while I was in the cafe. I had parked it facing inward towards the sidewalk, back end at the street. Now the front of the bike was facing the road. And it was relocated about 20 ft from where I’d parked it.
Who moved my bike? That’s what had caused the collapse of my life and my near heart attack. That’s why I couldn’t find it. I’d been specifically searching for a bike facing away from the road.
Meanwhile, several shop clerks and the parking attendants were watching me with amusement. I asked who had turned my bike around. The parking attendant confessed. I pulled him over and gave him a light-hearted punch on the arm and waggled my finger at him.
But honestly, I could care less at that point. I had my bike. Life was fine. Onward ho!
A famous Mark Twain quote comes to mind:
“I’ve had thousands of problems in my life, most of which never actually happened.”
Have you ever faced a disaster while traveling? Share your story!
Have you ever had anything stolen while traveling? What did you have to do to recover? Did you get it back?