Tuesday evening. No, my baggage still hasn't arrived. It is starting to feel normal to not have any stuff. I am meeting for dinner with two other NGO people, Jessica and Olivier, in a little café on Place de Cambronne. The weather has turned quite pleasant, so we sit out on the sidewalk. The food is good, the company is good, the conversation is good. Around 11pm I bend down to pick up my purse which has been sitting on the ground next to my chair. It is not there. Oh no. OH NO!!!
My purse has definitely disappeared. We talk to the waiters - they can't even be bothered to look sympathetic. Stolen purses are a daily occurence. I walk around the block to check whether someone might have just lifted the cash - about 60 Euros and a few dollars - and tossed the purse, but no such luck. I have to cancel my credit cards. Olivier still has his laptop with him and the café has, miracle of miracles, free wireless internet access. We get the phone numbers for American Express, MasterCard and the Canadian embassy. The others pay for my meal, and I walk back to the hotel to start calling.
This is not as easy as it sounds. It takes me and the night desk person at least half an hour to get through to the first one, in this case AMEX. They cancel the card, no problem, and issue a new one which will hopefully be arriving soon after I get home. The customer service person is nice and helpful, and puts me through to MasterCard as well. Same procedure. The MasterCard guy connects me with my credit union at home, so I can cancel my debit cards as well, just in case. The good news is that nobody has attempted to use any of the cards, so they probably really just took the cash and threw the rest away. If I am very lucky, it might turn up.
The stolen purse also contained several other bank cards, my birth certificate, drivers license, social insurance card, health care card, cash, keys, assorted other odds and ends and my cell phone, which doesn't even work in France. What a nuisance. Thankfully, I had left my passport at the hotel. It is now 12.30 am. I am tired and cranky and could really do with someone to cuddle me, but no one comes to mind. No one, that is, who is in Paris at this moment. At least I fall asleep quickly this time and sleep through until 6am.
At breakfast, the rest of my delegation are suitably shocked and sympathetic. I now have no luggage AND no money. People who have known me for two whole days are pulling out their wallets and handing me bills. Everyone remarks on my surprising good cheer, but the truth is, by now the situation has become so bizarre that I can only laugh.
At the UNESCO building our friendly admin person, Florence, helps me contact the embassy and the police. Or, at least, she tries to: All the Canadian embassy's telecommunications are down. No phone, no fax, no internet. The police is available, but I have to go there in person. Florence takes me to the police station, which is very close by. A good thing too, because the police officer's English is no better than my French. Which is not very good. Fortunately, I have the numbers of my credit cards stored on my laptop, and I can retrieve the ID number for my cell phone from the Virgin website. They want all that for the police report. I get several pieces of paper, which will help me re-apply for all my ID.
Meanwhile, I have missed most of the morning session at the WGRI, but it doesn't sound like I missed anything important. Canada is putting on a side event over lunch, and then in the afternoon the real debating will start. We'll see how that goes. I check on-line for my baggage: so far, they have found only one of my bags which they think they will get to me by Friday!!!! I have to buy more clothes. Ugh. I really didn't want to spend my time shopping. On the other hand, BA is paying for it. Hm.