Smooth Operators

Watch your back (and bags)!

Athens was my second destination after Frankfurt. I have to say I have mixed feelings about this city. I had an unlucky experience by having my passport stolen by a pickpocket. So, we took a train from the airport to Syntagma Station and then switched train to continue to Akropoli metro station. We had our hands full with our suitcases and backpacks. I was usually very careful, always put my backpack on my front side and I even thought about getting a padlock. As I was entering the train, a regular looking guy “kindly” helped me carry my heavy suitcase inside. It was a very short ride from Syntagma to Akropoli, but the train was quite packed (and I don’t know why, I just put by backpack on my back.. maybe I was too tired). I noticed that the guy who helped me and some other guys were standing around in a strange manner, somehow putting themselves between me and my sister. But at that time my focus was to make sure we would get off at the right station. As we were approaching Akropoli, people started to rush to the door and for a second I felt like I lost my balance. I guess that was the exact moment when that asshole unzipped my bag and took a leather thing that felt like a wallet — it was a passport wallet! When I looked back, I only saw a senior couple behind me chatting with each other. He then quickly went ahead everyone, gluing himself to the glass door and as soon as the train fully stopped and the door opened, he disappeared. I only realized that my backpack was open when we got off the train.

The funny thing is, I found the Akropoli station master not really helpful. We went to see her right away to report it and all she said was that we had to file a report to the Tourist Police instead. Not knowing what else we could do, we finally went to the hotel first to put our luggages and then called the embassy. It was Sunday but someone was there to pick up the phone and they did not have great news. All they said was that the embassy would issue a travel document in lieu of the passport and I would have to immediately return to Indonesia, ending my-had-just-begun-trip. WTF, I was completely pissed off!! We also tried to find the Tourist Police station but it was already closed… maybe because it was already late and a Sunday. :-I

The day after, we went to see the Akropoli station master again to check if by chance someone found my passport (I assumed my Indonesian passport with 1 month Schengen visa validity had no value in the blackmarket). The lady advised us to go to the “Lost & Found” at Syntagma station. And so we did. The staff at the Lost & Found was very nice to us. She quickly checked the system and told us that they did find my passport somewhere at Akropoli….. and it was kept by Akropoli station master –> YESS, the woman whom we had just seen 30 minutes earlier and asked about my passport! But I was too happy knowing that I could go on my holiday so just decided to let this one go. We went back to Akropoli and retrieved my passport from the station master there. And so I decided that I loved Greece again. 😀