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BL00014A.gif (2115 bytes)Heart Failure in Zansfoort  (sorry for the goofy picture, read on for the explaination of lack of photos) Wait! Hold on! IT’S GONE!! I grew weak at the knees and my stomach turned upside down as I realized I didn’t have the fanny pack that carried the laptop and digital camera. I could only stand there, frozen, not able to speak or move. I felt that I was about to throw up – right there on the sidewalk. Laura looked at me in horror. It was just last night that I told her to lighten up on me about loosing track of things. I explained to her that I put myself through enough grief on my own without a comment from her when I lost or misplaced something. Her words didn’t bring the item back – it only made me feel more like an idiot for loosing it.

This time I REALLY felt like an IDIOT! I had jumped up on the train in to Zandvoort to look for a sign telling us what station we were in. I had intended on sitting back down. That is, until the conductor told us that this was our stop – the end of the line – and we were the last ones on the train. With this news, we simply headed for the doors.

It was no more that 10 minutes into our walk through town towards the beach that I realized I didn’t have the pack around my waist! There are no words to describe that feeling. My laptop, my camera, all of the journal entries and pictures since the beginning of the trip – gone, all gone!! This would mean the likely end of www.worldwidewanderings.com before it even began!! No equipment, no journal entries. No journal entries, no web site. AAAHHH!!!!

I looked at Laura, she at me, with the same thought. That’s it, it’s gone, it’s over, and I’m a totally irresponsible #$%@*^. There’s just no way anyone who found it would turn it in. No way. I decided to give it a try anyway. We returned to the station’s ticket window and patiently waited for what seemed like an eternity. As every minute that passed meant that the train with the pack was yet another kilometer away, and it was less and less likely that even the smallest chance that we would ever recover it would come true. Finally, our turn at the window. We did our best to explain our situation. The helpful lady gave us a few phone numbers of lost and found at each of the major stations and a form to fill out for the Central Station in Amsterdam. The form, she explained, would take about 3-4 weeks to file. At that point, they would go through the piles, and if nothing turns up, keep the form on file. Yeah, OK, sure. My $2,000 worth of equipment is going to show up after a few weeks. And I’m Peter Pan.

Forget the phone numbers. Forget the form. I’m going to find my laptop myself. Next train to Harleem? Thirty minutes. We’re not happy campers. Neither of us say much as we make our way down the steps to the platform. "What destination?" the conductor asks us from the open door of the train next to us. "Harleem" we respond. "This train." she says. "But we were told 30 minutes." "Yes, we run late, hurry, come on." We board the train, the exact SAME train and car we had on the trip in! We know this because the water bottle Laura had (and also left in our scurry off of the train) is still sitting on the table. Unfortunately, no fanny pack.

We ask the conductor about the other conductor that had told us that this was the ‘end of the line’. She said the train had been back and forth once already from Harleem and he must have gotten off when she got on for the new shift. Damn. Last chance, lost and found in Harleem. There’s no way. There’s no way. There’s just no way. No way anyone who found that pack filled with goodies (Libretto 70CT and a Kodak DC210 ) would turn it in. No way.

We find the lost and found. I’m in no real hurry to hear the inevitable truth. "Pardon, has anyone turned in a black fanny pack?" Blank stare from the attendant. We continue "it had a laptop and camera inside". Still, a blank stare. "Digital camera?" he says, "One moment".

Filled with relief, I literally fall to my knees right there in front of the counter. "I absolutely can’t believe it" I say, "a miracle". "About $2,000 worth?" he asks. "Yes", Laura says, "that’s about right" as she looks at me, now barely back on my feet. "Did a conductor turn it in?" I ask. "No, a passenger." "Did they, by chance, leave their name?" "No." All I can do is shake my head in disbelief. "Seems there are still a few honest Dutch left" he says. "Amen" I reply.

The moral of this story? There IS a god. What goes around, comes around. Try to live right, do unto others, and all that other stuff. No really. If you do, then maybe, just maybe, life will decide to give you a return in the form of a break when you screw up and have to rely on others to send a good deed back your way. So, try to keep your nose clean and be nice, fair, and honest to others.

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Last modified: August 17, 1999    Photographs and text 1998 Scott and Laura Kruglewicz. All Rights Reserved.

 

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