iPhone: gone. It was bound to happen I suppose. I decided on Tuesday that I was going to fly to Nepal on Wednesday and my spontaneity was rewarded with an unforgettable trip. But on my first (and only) day in Kathmandu (Nepal’s crowded main city) I was “liberated” of my brand new iPhone that I had saved up for and bought as a treat for getting my fellowship. I was in Durbar Sq at the time when the phone “fell” out of my purse (I stupidly had it in an outside-ish pocket). It was Janmashtami, a celebration of Krishna’s birthday and the place was packed even though it was 8pm. The tourist police station was closed and I was directed to the district police station.
It was like a horrible Monty Python skit: I truly couldn’t communicate that I wanted to file a police report, nor could I really explain that I thought my phone was stolen: “snatched, grabbed, pickpocket, thief, they take, bad man,” I tried in vain. Mostly they filed in, uniform-less and just stared at me. “What country are you from?” (standard conversation opener), each one asked in term. And nodding, they each suggested I find the “tourist police.” I tried to explain that the tourist police were closed and I practically begged to file a report- a concept that seemed largely lost on everyone I talked to. What’s more, no one seemed to be in charge and without badges I had no idea who to target my inquiry to. And every five minutes a new guy would come in, gape at me and finally sidle over…”what country are you from?” I was at my wits end.
Finally someone took pity on me and somehow persuaded 2 tourist police officers to come from the main station. They showed up, also uniform-less, and proceeded to take my “report” on a piece of computer paper. Then they ushered me into a rusty old van. “This is how I die,” I thought to myself. But no, they took me to a police station and had me fill out a slightly more official piece of computer paper which I’m pretty sure was basically a tourism survey. Or maybe an entry form for Publisher’s Clearinghouse. Or a deed to a new motorcycle. Who could tell? “OK what is the serial number of the phone?” asked one of the officers. I explained that I didn’t have it memorized but could probably find it in my electronic receipt. But no…power was out in the station and there was no internet. O-K. By this time it was late and I was exhausted. I filled out the form as best I could, answered which country I was from for a few stragglers and allowed the head officer to help me find a taxi who, of course, couldn’t find my hostel and basically dropped me off somewhere random. Luckily a kind shopkeeper walked me there and I went to sleep a former iPhone owner.
I am not proud to say how much this incident upset me. I really did love that phone. It was my first iPhone and I had spent a long time deliberating whether to splurge and purchase it. It had allowed me to easily keep in contact with friends and family and share my new passion for photojournalism. I know that I can’t afford a new one at this time and I felt like an idiot for letting it get stolen. But I also hated myself for being upset over a stupid hunk of metal and plastic. There were literally children begging in the streets and I was sad over my iPhone. Pathetic. I was finally able to talk myself out of my funk. I decided to consider it an offering to the travel gods- a reminder that my possessions are really and truly unimportant when compared to this fantastic experience. I’d sell my iPhone a thousand times over for these past few months. iPhone or not I know that I am the luckiest girl in the world. Plus, these things have a way of working out. And my birthday is in 3 days, after all. Maybe the iPhone fairy will take pity on me 😉
Below are some photos of Durbar square before the iPhone debacle: