Wills' iPod touch had a very different experience in Sri Lanka from the rest of us and it deserves a blog of its own!
Big bro borrowed little bro's iPod on our short pop from Bangalore to Colombo. However, we when all disembarked little bro's music machine remained in the pocket of seat 14C on the plane. This error was not discovered until the airport was well behind us and big bro then had to sweat it out - would he have any of his savings left or were they going to be fully extinguished on a replacement iPod for little bro. First news flash from the airport was good news - the iPod had been located. Sadly after a few hours of relief, the second news flash was in - only the red case had been discovered. We could collect it at the airport before we flew out nine days later.
After a wonderful time in Sri Lanka (see subsequent blogs) we returned to Colombo airport, luckily with a few hours to spare. After a few false leads and red herrings we worked out how to get to the lost and found -via the transit desk? However the lost and found office was near the arrivals terminal and the transit desk post check-in and security at departures. So Simon and an airport escort set off in search of the missing item and the boys and I wait and wait and wait. An hour a half later Simon returns.
They arrive at the lost and found desk where the attendant pulls out a big ledger, finds the relevant entry which refers him to a further huge dickensean ledger. He looks around his little empire and then remembers electrical goods, after two days in his office, have to be despatched to customs. Simon and escort move on to customs. It now appears that in order for the item to be returned to us, the rightful owners, customs needs a letter from Sri Lankan Airlines to authenticate the fact we had reported the item as misplaced. Off to the Sri Lankan airlines desk who start typing and provide the necessary. Only a slight delay here when it transpires the printer is out of order. Once an alternate has been located and the letter produced, Simon, escort and letter return to customs. After a lot of humming and hawing, referring the letter to those in higher office.....it is finally determined that Simon and his claim to the iPod are legit. Another large ledger is produced and from the relevant entry it is determined that said item is in the safe. A smaller ledger is then referred to, which reveals the exact location of said item in the safe and then the package in produced. Yes, a package, wrapped in brown paper, tied up with string and closed with a red wax seal.
The string is cut and the red case still actually the containing iPod is revealed. Time for celebrations - not yet a while. Now Simon needs to prove the iPod is indeed ours. Bit tricky when said iPod is by now well and truly out of charge. However Simon's escort - by now getting a little stressed as he does have a real job to do somewhere else in the airport - finds a solution. And even now all is not yet done, we have to pay for little iPods board and lodging at the airport. Being ultra efficient we have got rid off (spent) all our Sri Lanka rupees. So Simon and escort now have to exit the airport and find an ATM which works. Rupees to the ready, Simon and escort - after a bit of difficulty re-entering the airport as tickets/passports etc are inside with me - return to customs. But oh no...customs can't take payment direct - one has to go to another desk in the airport to make payment, get a receipt and then return to customs. This final (yeah......really final) step goes smoothly - once the officials have returned from their teabreak and Simon eventually (now a lot more aware of the complex functioning of Colombo airport) has little bro's iPod in his fist.
Little bro can be reconnected to his music, big bro can return to dreaming as to the future uses of his savings, Simon has a good story to tell and I can reflect on the goodness of some Sri Lankan Airline cleaner who could have made a big handful of rupees but elected to take the better path........