I was at the Personal Democracy Forum last week. As expected, it was fabulous. I had a great time with old and new friends, and I met inspiring people.
It was fantastic, except for one thing. The very first night, my handbag got stolen on a terrace downtown while having dinner with colleagues. We saw nothing. I just realised at some point that my bag was gone. It contained everything: all my credit cards, some cash, the keys to my place, my BlackBerry, and my passport among other important things.
So I learnt the hard way what you are supposed to do when you lose everything:
- Report your stolen credit cards. My colleagues googled on their BlackBerry and managed to find a number to call but it seems there is no unique one. Each company has a different number, so good luck with that. If you have any tips, please share them in the comments!
- Deactivate your phone’s SIM card. Then again I couldn’t find the right number and had to wait until Monday for my office to do it for me.
- Check with the airline company you are flying back with whether they can take you on board without a passport. Good to know: if you fly back with the same airline that got you to this foreign country, then they must accept you on board. It was not my case so I had to have a new passport done.
- Go to the police and claim your stuff was stolen. They’ll give you a paper that says you are officially a ‘victim’, which will enable you to get a new passport and get your money back from the insurance company.
- Go and have your picture taken, specify it’s for a passport. The format is not the same as for an identity card.
- Go to your consulate. If you’re as lucky as I was, they’ll be fast and you’ll manage to have an emergency passport within 24 hours.
My impressions of the whole thing: Barcelona thieves are pros, the Catalan police -los mossos- are stunning, and the French consulate staff are simply amazing. Long live public services!
This post is also available in: French