This week involved one of my biggest mishaps of all time as a traveler. It nearly cost me an entire expedition in Pakistan and a couple of thousand dollars.
I had two flights to reach Pakistan. The first was from Manila to Doha and the second was from Doha to Islamabad. As I disembarked the plane in Doha, I somehow placed my passport wallet down on the seat amidst the rush around me of people trying to get off the plane. I realized I had left it there about 10-minutes later when I was in the transit area.
I immediately alerted the Qatar staff who were quite lethargic (it was midnight) and they acted incredibly slowly. By the time they sent someone to the plane, it was almost 45-minutes later. They said there was no passport found. How could it be? I stood there at the desk waiting for three hours for an update but nothing. If they can’t find it, that’s that. What a rookie mistake.
I missed my next flight and went to the lounge to wait for the Australian Embassy to open at 9 am. I’d known been awake for 48 hours straight due to the red-eye flight and overnight wait at Doha airport. The lost passport sector was still trying to locate my passport but I figured it was lost and not coming back. A
At 10 am the next morning, I was waiting outside the lost passport desk while simultaneously trying to contact the Australian Embassy to see if I could get an emergency replacement. In what was a true miracle, my passport had been located. It still took another two hours to get to me for some reason but I had it back with $500 worth of foreign currency, my German passport, driver’s license, and more.
It turned out, that the cleaning team had found it and handed it in before the Qatar team got there to check. So it was caught in limbo between being put into the system. Bad luck and bad timing. Thankfully, Qatar put me on the next flight with no extra charge and I made it to Islamabad at 10 pm.
I then took a taxi and arrived at the hotel to finally meet Josh Lynott. It’s been ages since we traveled together so it was great to link up again for this Pakistan trip. Unfortunately, I couldn’t catch up on sleep. I had to quickly repack all my stuff to take only what I needed for this first expedition in one duffel. We had to wake up at 4 am and head to the airport to get to Skardu.
Everything went to plan and we touched down in Skardu where we waited a couple of days for Chris Lininger to arrive and then our team was complete and ready for our Laila Peak expedition the following week. What an unnecessary whirlwind!