I am very sad to have to write this blog post, but for the sake of full disclosure of the good and bad on this trip, here goes...a very, very horrible person stole one of our bags at the bus station here in La Paz, Bolivia, yesterday.
In addition to the material stuff we lost, unfortunately our passports happened to be in that one bag, so we are stuck here in La Paz for an additional 2-3 days while we wait for the US Embassy to reopen (silly Sunday, silly Columbus Day!) so we can get new passports. (We are not sure yet what happens regarding our Bolivian visas, which we bought at the border for $135 apiece and are now also gone...we are hoping that we don´t have to buy them again.)
What happened? We were about to board the bus for Rurrenabaque (about 18 hours north of here) and were standing in an enclosed area by the buses within two feet of all of our stuff...it may have happened when we turned our backs to look at the bus, or may have been when someone was trying to talk to us, but we turned around and Andy´s smaller bag was gone.
We shouted for help, we talked to the bus agents and a local policeman, we canvassed the neighborhood ourselves, but the bag was gone without a trace. We do have travel insurance and have already started working on our claim, so luckily we should get reimbursed monetarily for the stuff that was taken...but there are a few things that cannot be replaced, like Andy´s journal, and that breaks our hearts a bit.
We were very, very angry and upset all day yesterday, a state of mind that was not helped at all by the closed embassy and totally useless tourist police, who are also "closed" on the weekends and told us to come back today to file our report. Oh, and to be more careful with our stuff, because apparently unless you store your bags up your butt here they are fair game for any thief.
Sorry, sorry. Fifth graders, you didn´t read that last part.
Yeah, so, the police here are a total joke. We went back this morning to file our report, and Andy practically had to restrain me from hitting one cop who told us that we had to give him money with which to make better copies of our backup passport copies. I told him that we weren´t giving him any money for any reason (all this in Spanish, mind you), and we marched down the street and made the copies ourselves. The only reason we went through with filing the report is that we need copies of it for the embassy and for the insurance company. We know that there´s not going to be any sort of proper investigation.
So, we wandered around La Paz yesterday feeling angry and resentful, and started to replace items that had been taken, a task we continued today while feeling slightly less acutely angry (time is helping). Other than the journal, our biggest loss was one of our cameras, the good one with the super zoom and the only expensive piece of electronics equipment we dared to bring on this trip. Because he is smart, Andy backs up our pictures frequently, so we only lost a couple of days worth of pictures (and they were all pictures from Bolivia, a country we now don´t like all that much, so we´re not so sad about that). We have a secondary camera that we´ll use for a while until we can find a good replacement (we looked around the electronics district in La Paz this afternoon, but weren´t happy with any of the options).
If there is a bright side of all of this, it is that we were never hurt or threatened...we never even glimpsed the person who stole our stuff. And we do have insurance, so our replacement purchases will be covered eventually. We are just depressed about the irreplaceable stuff and the hassles we now have to undertake, and not thrilled to be stuck for several days in the city where this happened instead of out in the jungle petting capybaras.
You may be wondering about the title of this post. Andy and I have debated at times for how many months into this trip we can really go on saying that we´re on our honeymoon. So, yesterday, when we were sharing macabre quips about the morning´s experiences, I joked, "Well, it´s official now, the honeymoon is over."
But even if it is, that´s OK. Yesterday was really the first big trial we have faced since we got married, and I think we did a really good job of leaning on each other and helping each other through it. Bolivia may be sucky at the moment, but the Dairhills will persevere! Now excuse me while I swallow my valuables for the walk back to our hotel.