Waking up to a beautiful morning in Perth, I got up to explore Northbridge as I always do on idle weekends. So I grab my laptop and satchel which contains my adventure funds and travel identity. After a filling meat pie for breakfast and a few blocks past stores that are yet to begin their day, I went into the State Library of Western Australia at around 11. A corner table was vacant right behind the staircase – perfectly serene spot where I can charge my cellphone as I type down travel stories and deviate away from my routinely weekday work – or procrastinate until I feel like typing.
While all my thoughts are on the screen half past an hour later, an unidentified man sneaks from behind my seat, between the staircase and library display, and takes the satchel sitting on the couch to my left. I notice his slow movement, as if teasing, and so I thought it was just one of my colleagues playing a prank on me. But as I turned around to see who he was, he was definitely not someone I know. “He just stole my bag.” were the only words I could utter, the volume of which was loud enough to be heard only by the table next to mine. My heart started beating faster and I couldn’t decide on whether to chase him and leave my gadgets or grab the things I have left with me before I chase after him. For the love of my laptop, I shut it down, packed in haste and ran to the nearest exit to see if I can still catch him – I wasn’t able to; obviously.
I looked into the dumpsters lined up at the back exit of the library with the hopes that he couldn’t care less about my passport. It is the only reason why my heart was beating so fast; I am flying out in a week. When my brain finally started functioning better two minutes later, I walked up to the library staff and reported what just happened. My voice was shaking. The library guard asked me to call the police to file a report so they could take action. They instructed me to go to the police hotline somewhere across the library, but I couldn’t process any of the directions they were telling me. In my head, I need to call the credit card companies, my family and my colleagues who might end up looking for me later that day – I have no idea who to call first. As I gave up looking for the hotline and walked back to the library, I called my colleagues and gave, apparently, broken details: “Someone stole my bag in Northbridge. Bye.” Then I went back in the library and had the staff help me call the police from there. As I retold my story for the second time to the police over the phone, I began to calm down and accept the fact that I’m never going to retrieve the hundreds of dollars that were in my bag. I then sent a message to appease my colleagues that I’m in the library and that everything is okay. But I haven’t lost hope on my passport, and so I continued filing the police report anyway even after knowing that I had to go to the station several blocks away. As I put the phone down, a colleague came and accompanied me to the police station. Still unable to process instructions, I was heading to the police station while having no idea where it is and yet googling on how to call the credit card companies. Thank goodness my colleague’s brain was running on a better processor than mine as he figured out how to get to the police station while I take calls to have my cards cancelled. A few hours later, I finally filed a full report at the police station. Not much can be done on a Saturday – neither can they take a look at the CCTV footages nor can I file for passport loss at the consulate. So I thought I should just move on in the meantime, get some fresh AUD to spend for the weekend that’s left, and leave everything to Monday.
After accompanying my poor colleague with a grumbling stomach to a really late lunch at past 3PM, the rain sent us right back to the hotel. Impeccable timing. A note from the police was waiting for me in my room. We headed back to the station; I got my things back: hundreds of dollars, credit cards and satchel in one piece. Coming from a third world country where thieves’ only concern is money, I was unable to fathom why that unidentified man even bothered to grab my bag without taking anything – 60 dollars’ worth of coins and tearing my passport aside. Then again, that was just it; he wanted me to have much ado about my lost belongings instead of doing whatever I had planned. Little does he know, 60 dollars, a few calls and a bit of running around town is worth all the spontaneity I need right now – appreciate it, mate!