My husband, Mark, went to the Netherlands last week for work. He left Saturday arriving Sunday. Got some rest, adjusted to the time change, and went to work Monday and again on Tuesday. That’s the short part of the story. The following is the rest of his week.
Tuesday, after work, the out-of-town employees all went out for dinner. Someone said “Should we take our computers into the restaurant with us?” Someone else (not Mark) said “No, they’ll be fine locked in the car.” (you can see this coming can’t you?) The car was broken into by smashing a window and all the computers were stolen. Mark’s passport was also in his computer bag.
The rental company fixed the car window that same evening with plastic and duct tape (honest).
Now the long story begins . . .
Early Wednesday morning Mark went to the police station and filed a report on the stolen equipment. Then on Thursday he drove to the American Embassy in Amsterdam. Arriving before they opened at 8:30am, he stood in line to get in. He had his personal computer and phone with him rather than leaving it in the car (sounds logical). An official came out and announced that no cellphones are allowed in the embassy. So Mark schlepped back to the car, locked his cell phone inside, returned to the embassy, and got back in line. Once through security he was asked if he was carrying his computer. Because he was, he had to go to another area to have it scanned for explosives. After waiting a while to be scanned, he was told that if he wanted to speed things up he could leave and return without his computer. So he schlepped back to the car, locked his computer inside, returned to the embassy, got back in line, went back through security, and stood in another line to get a passport. At the front of the line he was given a three page form to complete. He found a chair, completed the form, and got back in line. At the front of the line he was asked for 102 Euros cash as the embassy’s credit card machine was broken. Not having that much cash, he left the embassy, found an ATM, withdrew the necessary cash, returned to the embassy, got back in line, and went back through security where a few of the guards said “hey you again – you’re back.” He rejoined the passport line again. At the front of the line he was sent to another window to pay the fee. So he stood in that line and paid the 102 Euros. Then he was told to have a seat and someone will call him to swear an oath that the information he supplied was correct. After taking his oath he was told that everything was OK and to return at 2:30pm for a temporary passport. He left the embassy, walked around for a couple of hours, got a snack and a well-deserved beer before returning to the embassy, getting back in line, going through security, and standing in line to get his temporary passport; which he did receive.
Being so late, he spent the night in Amsterdam and headed to the airport the next day to fly home. The airport went as expected until his flight was delayed due to mechanical error. Five hours later his flight was canceled. He had to reclaim his luggage before rebooking his flight. Reaching the front of the line to rebook his flight, the airline told him that they could get him as far as Chicago by Friday night or Kalamazoo by Saturday night. He chose Chicago where he arrived around midnight. His luggage wasn’t so lucky.
He rented a car and headed home without his luggage. Driving home he pulled off the highway to get a cup of coffee but everything was closed so he pushed on . . . followed by a police officer. The officer pulled him over and approached the car asking “Sir I noticed that sometimes you use your turn signals and sometimes you don’t; have you been drinking this evening?” Mark told him his flight delay story and he was just looking for coffee. The Barney Fife want-a-be (as Mark described him) let Mark continue on his way where he decided he was now awake and no longer needed coffee.
Mark finally arrived home around 4:30am this morning. After sleeping a couple of hours, he headed to the airport to return the car, make a luggage claim, pick up his vehicle from the airport lot, and then go to the office to find a temporary computer to use, and put in a requisition for a new one. Now he just has to apply for a new passport and a new work Visa for Rio.
I just want to point out that I was not flying with him. It’s not my fault.