Ha! I’m sure you have never heard a similar story.
Tonight I’m planning to share with you one of my numerous adventures which happened to me some time back on my trip to Madrid… I would really love to forget what happened the other day (or night, I should say) but then again it comes back to me like a boomerang. This week I have been writing about chargebacks for another fellow blog and I got actually inspired to share my crazy story with the wider audience. If only had I known what chargebacks were back then… But let’s start from the beginning.
It was in March, the weather was nice, spring was coming, the sun was shining… The circumstances weren’t that positive as the tsunami destroyed many people’s lives in Japan. The nuclear reactor was damaged and we were all wondering what was going to happen. People started to panic. Especially the Europeans who remembered the Tchernobyl accident due to which many of us have now thyroid problems. The media all around the world were silent. And you know what it means when they are silent… Nevermind. So I had planned to fly to Madrid with my girlfriends in March. I decided to go regardless the radioactive cloud over the continent. So I went to London first to see my friends and we flew together to Madrid. You know me (at least, some of you) and you know how I love to travel. Especially when I am in a good company, and I was 🙂 We stayed in hostel in the city center. We decided to take a mixed dorm room. If you have never stayed in a hostel, in a mixed dorm room, with multiple nationalities, then you will never understand our motivation. Just so you know, it’s a great opportunity to meet amazing people from all around the world. And this is what is exciting about travelling. At least for us 😉
Our room was okay, the conditions were bearable. We were ten in the room, sleeping on bunk beds. Our roomies were coming from various countries: Canada, France, Turkey, China, India… Such a cool melting pot! Yey! This is what I love 🙂 We soon became friends with the Chinese girl. She seemed lost, these were her first days in Europe so we were sharing some hints with her.
The city was beautiful and the food was amazing. If you have been to Spain, you know what I’m talking about… tapas, olives, chorizo, wine, sweets, sangria, paella… mmm, yummy! Spanish people are very friendly. In fact, one Spanish girl was showing us around (a friend of my friend). Ana, you’re one the most wonderful girls I’ve ever met! I still remember your marvelous flat and the phenomenal dinner you guys prepared for us. Gracias, chica!
When I travel, I am very cautious. I keep my belongings with me at all times. I don’t leave my documents out of sight. I don’t hang out with weird or suspicious people. I don’t accept any drinks from strangers. I don’t walk alone after dark. I don’t think you can be more prudent than I am! And yet, something bad happened on that trip to me. Only to me.
I was sleeping wearing the internal pocket under my pyjamas (this is where I store my documents, credit card, money… during my travels). Two nights in a row. The third night I said to myself: okay, I’m getting crazy. Nothing bad has happened so far. The girls are not using the internal pockets, in fact, they don’t care about staying alert. I should give a break. Seriously. Take it easy, woman! You’re on holidays! Enjoooy!
I removed the pocket from under my pyjamas. It was uncomfortable indeed so I put it into my purse. I decided to finally relax. It was our last night in Madrid and the rest of our stay looked promising. I put the purse under the cover though, next to my thigh. What? One does not simply resign from being prudent!
I woke up in the morning. It was quite early. Everyone was still sleeping. Everyone except one guy. The Canadian guy. His bed was empty. Then I discovered my purse was missing. I started to look for it and woke up my friends and asked them to help me. I was all shaking. I realized what happened. If my big purse wasn’t with me, next to my legs, under the thick cover, on the upper part of the bunk bed sticking to the wall, well… I knew one thing: the purse did not dematerialize itself. IT WAS STOLEN!
We found it. It was on the floor, a couple of meters away from the bed. It was open. Someone gave it to me so that I could check if everything was on its place. Yep, all the roomies were up. Well, except the one who was missing. Now everyone was checking their own belongings too. Strangely, all my gadgets were inside the purse: my camera, my ipod, my mobile. Only the money was stolen. Around 30 euros. My id and my credit card were still there, in the purse. Uff… I was crying (hey, it’s normal! I’d just realized my purse had been stolen and I was to fly back to London in a couple of hours!) and I was happy at the same time. I was still shaking.
It was weird! Nobody heard anything during the night. Nobody was robbed. It was just me. Then the Indian guy actually remembered that some people entered the room and someone was locked in the bathroom. (Later I found my tissues on the bathroom floor. Yep. It all made sense!) But who were these people? And how did they enter our room? And where was the Canadian guy?
The Turkish guy suddenly became all so friendly. The previous days he hadn’t pronounced any single word to me and my friends. It turned out he knew quite well the Canadian man (he showed us some pictures on his camera where he was with the guy!). Another fun fact was that he was living at that time in Ireland and had been travelling around Europe for quite some time… I’ll never forget his looks. He was looking straight into my eyes. His eyes and arrogant smile were telling me one thing: “you stupid cow, we’ve robbed you and you will never catch us!”. I just couldn’t trust him. The guy was extremely handsome and he was joking around. He even joined us for breakfast and kept looking deeply into my eyes. I knew something was wrong!
I went down to the reception. I told them what happened and asked them if I should report this at the police. They strongly advised me not to.
– Has your mobile been stolen?
– Has your ipod been stolen?
– Has your camera or any electronic device been stolen?
– Have your documents been stolen?
– Just money?
– Yes. Just money.
– Then give yourself a break. Nobody is going to believe you…
I now regret I didn’t go to talk to the police as I am strongly convinced the hostel crew was engaged in all that crap, too. When I came back home and received the link from Hostelworld to leave the feedback after our stay in the hostel, I discovered that my reservation was cancelled. As if I had never stayed in that hostel! Seriously, Las Musas? Yes, this is my revenge after two years.
Why do I regret not having continued the investigation? Because I later discovered that the money was disappearing from my credit card… day by day. And I couldn’t stop it even though I had blocked the card… How is it even possible??
To be continued…
Part II can be found HERE.