These were the words Mark spoke to me when we arrived in Rome. I knew he was going to say it. I had thought it myself, but I was secretly hoping that he wouldn’t actually say it out loud – I felt bad enough already.
I should probably go back 48 hours and explain to you what had happened. It all started when we arrived in Ho Chi Minh. Our bags were some of the last to arrive on the baggage belt and I happened to say out loud what I was thinking. “Our bags haven’t gone missing yet” Mark pretty much had a heart attack then and there. He replied very franticly “I can’t believe you just said yet, you’re going to jinx us now.” If only I knew how quickly we would be jinxed.
The next day was when it all started to go wrong. The taxi to the airport usually only takes half an hour but there was so much traffic that we were running 20 minutes late which doesn’t seem too bad but we have our routine pretty down pat and it kind of threw us off a bit. It all seemed okay though because once we walked into the airport it looked empty and we walked straight up to the check in counter to drop off our bags. We got upgraded to Premium Economy which was a nice treat. However, we normally get access to a business class lounge because of Mark’s frequent flyer points but we weren’t given an entry pass and couldn’t be bothered going back to get one. This should have been our first clue as to how bad things could go. Then, whilst waiting for our flight to Hong Kong we were told it was delayed by half an hour, then an hour and it was at this time that we started trying to work out if we would make our connecting flight to Rome. We didn’t care though, we knew if we missed it we would get another one – after all we weren’t in a huge rush.
Arriving at Hong Kong airport we had 20 minutes to get off the plane, through transit security and onto another plane. The line for transit security was huge but there was a group of us who were rushing to get connecting flights so people let us through. Once through we had staff members telling us to run, so we walked really fast and got onto the plane in time. We were pretty happy with ourselves as we were seated 15 minutes before take off. I already had planned what movies I was going to watch during the flight and worked out I could sleep for maybe 5 out of the 12 hours. Neither of us said it but we were both hoping they would get our bags onto our new flight. And then, another delay. This time we were to sit on the plane, on the tarmac for at least 2 hours. I was so annoyed at this stage and starting thinking we should have just missed the flight, after all I could have at least slept in a hotel bed. It did occur to me though that they would have plenty of time to get our bags onto the plane so I watched the first movie on my list.
14 hours later when we arrived in Rome I was pretty stoked I would be able to use my Italian passport for the first time and I would get through security before Mark. My line took longer than his line and he ended up waiting for me. Not to worry though because we were in Italy and I was super excited. Once we got to Belt 9 to wait for our bags we jumped onto the free wifi to quickly tell our parents we had arrived safely. After a while of waiting our bags just weren’t there so we checked to make sure we had the correct belt and sure enough we did and this is where I started to realise that I had jinxed us. I didn’t tell Mark what I was thinking though because I was hoping I was wrong. After accepting the fact that our bags weren’t going around on Belt 9 we walked over to the help desk where we were told by a lovely lady that our bags “are not in Rome.” “Where are they?” I asked. “It doesn’t say that they are in Hong Kong but they aren’t here in Rome and there is no message to say they missed the flight so I do not know where your bags are.” We were then told that they would contact the airline for us but they only fly every second day to Rome so we worked out we would have to get back to the airport in 2 days time to make sure our bags arrived before we got on a flight to Turkey that day.
So our 2 days in Rome started with missing bags, us getting lost trying to find our AirBnb accommodation, having to go and buy some clean clothes and some toothbrushes, and then getting to the Police station to register Mark’s visa only to be told that they didn’t do that there. In normal circumstances I know that all of those things would have bothered me but they just didn’t. After a lot of help from our AirBnb host we worked out where we needed to go to get Mark’s visa registered, travelled an hour there, ran around the streets near the Immigration office looking for the post office so we could pay the registration fee, ran back to the Immigration office and sorted everything out all with an hour to spare before closing. I took this as a good sign and Mark told me that he kept thinking that the whole process was like a huge puzzle that had to fit together properly for our path to be cleared in time and that’s exactly what happened. Everything fell into place at the right time and worked out. We were only praying it would do the same for our missing bags.
And what do you know, the jinx was lifted. When we arrived at the airport super early – Mark said he wanted extra time to sort out what to do if our bags weren’t there – we were taken through a staff security entrance where the same lady that had helped us days earlier was there with a smile on her face. I had the biggest smile on my face when I saw her and she told us that our bags had just arrived. We were so happy to have our bags back and know that we wouldn’t have to worry about trying to get them while we were travelling around Turkey.
Our flight to Turkey was delayed but we were too happy we didn’t care and once we arrived in Istanbul we went to our connecting gate to wait for our flight to Kayseri which was delayed as well. All up we were delayed by over 2 hours and when we were waiting for our bags in Kayseri they weren’t there. We had been told twice that our bags were going from Rome to Kayseri and we didn’t need to get them in Istanbul and re-check them but I started worrying. I didn’t want to have to go through this all again, so before we freaked out we showed the airport staff our baggage tickets and tried to explain that they weren’t on the baggage belt. They checked the tickets, looked at us as if we were simply tiring them out and told us that our bags were in the next building at the International arrivals. I’m not going to say I ran there, but I think I could have power walked for Australia. And what do you know – there they were, our bags, with 80% of our belongings for the next 12 months just circling around the baggage belt as if they were a glorious prize.
It’s been a hectic couple of days but here’s to our road trip through Turkey!