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Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Have I lost my passport again?

My shorts have pockets on the sides with two velcro tabs. I figure that should be a pretty safe place to keep my passport, assuming I'm wearing them. I have always felt comfortable keeping my passport there. Sure it does stand out and looks a little like a wallet but could someone lift both of those velcro tabs and take the passport without me noticing? Surely not.

But yesterday when I was leaving for my Thai class my passport wasn't in my drawer. I checked Saturday's shorts in case I'd left it there. I often do that. But no, not this time.

At Chatuchak Market there are signs everywhere warning of pickpockets. I was quite aware of that. I reassured myself that they would go for the easy target. I had a mobile phone on my belt and a camera around my neck. Surely they are more obvious and accessible than my passport? Apparently not because I still have them and my passport is missing.

I'm not exactly excited about going through the process of replacing it. One of the legacies we have from the Howard government is a loser-pays policy which fines the victim when passports are lost or stolen more than once in five years. Obviously a perpetual traveller like me is more at risk than someone who travels only on their holidays. Long term readers of this blog will be aware that I had two passport thefts in Malaysia about four years ago. The 'fine', on top of the usual passport fee, is $A200. This is on top of the inconvenience of getting a photograph in a foreign country to suit the extremely strict Australian passport requirements. Plus having to go through the process of getting the visa again. Not yet sure what that entails.

Let's hope it turns up somewhere in the next day or so. I doubt it though. I've already turned my room upside down completely.

From now on I'll get into the habit of carrying a photocopy and leaving my passport in a safe place. I recommend other travellers do the same.

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