Mother India hit me right in the feels on my way out.
I never had my wits about me when it came to the Kochi International Airport. I was either next level sleep deprived or so anxious to get on my flight home that I wasn’t paying attention to anything else.
Adam and I were the only people on the same flight from Kochi to Bangalore, so we shared a taxi from our hotel in Kochi to the airport. After spending most of the morning in the lobby of the hotel, using their wifi, our taxi showed up at 2pm. I put my cell phone away and we loaded our bags into the taxi. The ride took about 45 minutes to an hour. Since we only used our phones when wifi was available, we just chatted the whole way to the airport.
Once the taxi came to a stop in front of the departures terminal, I put my small bag on my back and took my larger backpack from the trunk of the car. It’s pretty heavy, so I threw it over my shoulder with all my strength. Although that lasted about two minutes before I decided to just drag it behind me, Adam laughing in the background.
I checked in for my first of three flights, then we made our way through security. They ask everyone to take cell phones, tablets and computers out of their carry-on baggage and place them in a separate bin. My experience with Indian security systems as this point was pretty developed, so I didn’t bother fishing my cell phone out of the bottom of my bag and just ran the entire thing through the scanner. After queuing up in the “Ladies” line and being searched behind a curtain, I picked up my bag and we found a couple of seats in which to lounge and wait.
I don’t remember what prompted me to reach for my cell phone, maybe just the free airport wifi (which sucks and never actually worked anyway), but it wasn’t in the side pocket of my bag where I left it. It wasn’t in either of the zipped pockets or buried way down in the bottom of my bag. It wasn’t in my bra. It wasn’t anywhere. My phone was not with me.
At first, I didn’t feel too upset. It’s just a phone, a thing, a material item. But then Adam spoke up, “Yeah, but it has all your pictures.”
All the swear words ran through my head and almost across my lips. I did manage to hold back the tears, at least until I was alone. “Aw no! Don’t tell me that!”
Not five minutes later, Kamla found us in the airport and I admit, my greeting was rude. She was smiling and walking towards us and I just blurted out, “Do you have wifi?!” Nope. Neither Kamla or Adam could connect to the wifi in the Kochi International Airport. I used an airport employees personal cell phone to call the hotel, in case I had left my own cell phone there, but the phone number on the hotel business card wasn’t correct. Adam sent a cellular message to Jenn from our group (who was still at the hotel), but it was unlikely she would see it if she was only using wifi.
So, that’s what happened. I used my cell phone for 90% of my photo taking throughout the trip (it takes better photos than my 5 year old digital camera) and then I lost it. Or it was stolen. I honestly can’t be sure.
I know it is in peoples nature to want to help, but I promise that you cannot come up with an idea that I have not already thought of and tried. I beg you, unless you are in possession of my lost phone or photos, do not ask me any questions on this topic. It is a painful one. And to cover the biggest bases…
Are your photos backed up to the cloud?
No, my photos are not in the cloud.
I did not back up to the cloud because I didn’t understand the cloud. I now know that ignorance is not bliss. I now also have a much better understand of the cloud.
Can’t you track your phone and find its location?
No. The phone is in airplane mode. I also don’t know what features are activated and not activated.
Did you check with the cab/airport/tour guides/other group members?
Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Nothing.
Can you remotely access your phone and turn on the cloud?
No, I cannot. I have visited the Geniuses and there is nothing I can do.
What are you going to do?
What elae can I do? I’m going to save the photos I shared on social media, this blog and any that I sent to family while I was in destination. I am also going to make notes of any stories I recall. My new found India travel friends will send me their photos as well, so I can still make a photo album for myself. And I will forever mourn the loss of those photos and kick myself every time I remember specific individual photos I took which no one else took (this has been happening a lot).
Shoulda, woulda, coulda! We live and learn! I have quickly become much more educated on the cell phone features available to me, so for the next trip I will be SO prepared. This doesn’t take away from the incredible experience I had throughout India. The trip is just as amazing as it was before. I’m lucky enough to be keeping in touch with almost all of the people I travelled with, so the memories and stories and laughs are always going to be around. Photos or no photos.