Sunday, March 01, 2009

Lost and Found

Lost keys at the BVG lost property office; photo by Val Phoenix
New month, new country, or rather, old country, as I am back in Blighty. Ah, London. Where one experiences three seasons in three days: spring on Thursday, summer on Friday and now, back to winter. Gotta love it.

I returned from Berlin slightly lighter both in personal weight (6kg, thanks to my unintentional Toast diet) and in luggage, as I managed to leave my tiny, tiny rucksack on a tram while doing the WG shopping. Nothing hugely financially valuable but I cursed my own stupidity and the loss of my reporter's notebook. What is a journalist without a notebook? That hurt: two months of my precious notes vanished into the ether.

I didn't give up without a fight, naturally. I was on the phone to the BVG, the transport authority several times. I phoned my mobile (also in the rucksack) and left a hopeful message (actually one of my housemates did) in German and English, asking anyone who found said item to phone the house number.

And on my last day in Berlin, rather than visiting any one of the multitude of attractions I'd missed in the preceding six weeks, I did a tour of Berlin Fundbüros: firstly, the BVG, where I was asked various details I could not supply, such as the model number of the phone. The sight of the umbrellas hanging forlornly from hooks and the notice of an impending AUCTION of unclaimed items was sobering.

Then it was on to the S-bahn Fundstelle, which I found with some difficulty and then stood outside for ages while the one man on duty attended to a call from some other hopeful seeking a bag. Through the open door I could see what looked like a locker room of items, all tagged. When he did speak to me, he showed me two small bags and several phones but none was mine.

Lastly, it was off to the Zentrales Fundbüro, but, horrors, it was closed! I returned to my flat feeling a lack of closure: if only I could have visited the Zentrales Fundbüro....

Back in London my first day, what do I find in my email? "Found in Berlin".... Surely not. I was a bit suspicious. A neighbour of the emailer had found a backpack "somewhere in Berlin". It seemed too vague to be true. But I emailed back with some identifying info and hoped for the best.

And two days ago, a friend of mine in Berlin emailed to say she had collected the rucksack and all the items were intact. Amazingly, an older couple had found the rucksack on the tram, extracted my business card with my email address and asked their neighbour with Net access to email me to make contact. To them, a hearty "Vielen Dank". If I had cockles, they would be well and truly warmed.

My journalistic career is saved, faith in humanity restored, etc. ;)

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