I was arriving in Belgium for Tomorrowland by myself, some of the group had flown earlier that morning and the rest of them were coming the next day. At Brussels airport I immediately was caught up in the excitement of Tomorrowland, the worlds largest EDM concert held in Boom, Belgium. There were people everywhere, and girls dressed up in Tomorrowland outfits directing people to the shuttles.
I realized that the train was connected to the airport and decided to go to the bottom level and take it into the city to the central station where my hotel was located. When I boarded I saw a girl sitting by herself and I could tell she was very upset so I immediately wanted to help.
She was tearing up so I started going through my bag looking for wipes and/or Kleenex to give to her. We started talking and I found out that she was from South Africa (she looked very American and spoke English) studying in London and visiting her dad who was in Belgium. Her boyfriend was from Sweden and they had been separated for 4 months and would probably be separated for another 4.
I realized I was nearing my stop and asked for her help. She showed me where to get off and told me where to go. As we approached, I told her it was very nice to meet her and waved as I stepped off the train.
Walking up to the street I was looking at the map to the hotel and then decided to type it into Google maps. At which point I realized I didn’t have my wallet or phone. What was I going to do? This had never happened to me in all of my travels and although I should have been prepared, I was absolutely not ready for this. There was 450 Euros in the wallet because I owed the guy I was staying with for the hotel and my military ID was in there too. And it was all gone! Ugh.
After a huge freak-out moment I walked over to the teller to ask him to call the train and see if the conductor could get my wallet if it had not already been taken. After an insufferable 15 minutes listening to a guy in line go on and on in French, I walked to the window.
They pretty much told me there was nothing they could do but I could go down to the tracks from where I had just come and ask the men down there to call the train and see if they could find my wallet and cell phone. There was nothing else I could do so I decided it was my best option.
Walking down to the platform and to the office, I went in and kindly asked the guy if he could call the train. He reluctantly agreed but I smiled real big and begged, just a little. He called, talked for a moment and then he hung up the phone, turned to me and said,” Yes, the conductor says that your friend has the wallet and phone so you can contact her to get it back.”
I looked at him and calmly said, “You don’t understand, I just met her, I don’t even know her name.”
The conductor gave a swish of his arms and told me, “Not my problem, it’s not in my job description,” and turned away.
I refused to give up. I convinced him to call the train back and talked to the girl, V, myself.
She told me she was on her way to her dads house, which was 2 hours North of the city of Belgium and that once she was there she would talk to her dad and see if he could bring her back in the morning. She gave me her phone number. I guess that was all I had to go on for now because they needed the phone back (or just wanted rid of me) at the station.
After hanging up the guy took a little bit of pity on me and gave me a hand map to help me find my hotel. He also let me get back on the train to go one stop back, where he said it would be within 5 minutes walking.
Once arriving I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to check into the hotel because I had no debit cards or anything else for that matter. How was I going to spin the next story? With the full truth I suppose.
I walked up to the counter, looked at the woman and told her, “I’m pretty sure you don’t want to hear my sad and sappy story and you probably don’t care, but I’m going to tell it to you anyway…”
After finishing my story she told me I could check in with just my passport and no money or credit card (THANK THE LORD) and that she was going to give me free wifi for the 4 days and nights stay. Wow. There are amazing people in the world.
T, the guy I was staying with had flown in that morning but had taken the shuttle to Dreamville, the campgrounds at Tomorrowland, so he wouldn’t be there that night. This is when I realized how hungry I was. No wallet, no money, and only 6 Euros in change. I was debating whether I should just go and buy a shot for this misery, maybe some tequila which would probably make it even worse.
Using my Ipad (thank god I had something to communicate with) I called V on her cell phone and we decided that in the morning I would get on the train heading North and she would get on the train heading South and we would meet at a stop an hour away for each of us, so I could get my stuff.
I was ecstatic. I couldn’t believe she would go so out of her way to help me.
Then I get a message from T saying that he would come back tonight after all, because he didn’t have any camping gear and it was a sweaty hot mess over at Dreamville (go figure). Everything was coming together and I didn’t even do anything to make it work. I hadn’t even broken the news to him about the wallet.
He shows up and I had fallen asleep on the bed. We went down and used his credit card to check in, then we walked down the street (of which had sex shops galore, definitely didn’t know that about Belgium) and we stopped at a kebab stand and drank tall beers. My savior! There’s nothing a $10 meal can’t cure, trust me on this.
After we ate and stopped at a convenience store for a few more beers, we walked back to the hotel and went to bed.
In the morning I woke up at 0800 and left for the train, jumped on and headed North. Arriving at the stop 15 minutes till 1000 (right before we were supposed to meet) I went and bought a train ticket back the way I had just come (apparently if you are under 26 you get a discount! Don’t forget to tell them that at the train station) Then I waited in the hallway that leads up to all the platforms.
V showed up minutes later and I couldn’t believe it. I forced her to take 50 Euros just for coming all this way to meet me. We hugged, snapped a quick picture and she ran to catch the train heading North and I jumped on one going South. We are strangers that have become friends. I told her if she was ever in the Napoli area to call me because I would show her to a good time and I’m sticking to that V, so let me know!
Getting back to the hotel at 11:45, we had 15 minutes to spare before the bus was leaving for Tomorrowland! T woke up early and went and bought gin and tonic for my camelback, he mixed the drinks and we were the first ones on the bus. I didn’t have the global journey package but I just hid my wrist and that was that that let me on no complaints.
BUT, before leaving the hotel I decided that my luck had run dry since this is the first time I had ever lost my wallet somewhere and the first time I had recovered it. I took everything out of it, left my military ID at the hotel Thank God! The only thing I had in there was 100 euro and my debit card just in case.
A couple of hours later, while we were running around at the festival I looked back and my back pack was unzipped. It was stolen right out from under my nose. After all that had happened, I couldn’t believe it. In the next minute I decided to get over it. Of all the things that could have happened, this was just too funny. I couldn’t stop laughing. All of my important cards and information was back at the hotel. How lucky/unlucky is that?
The rest of the group was showing up that night and they helped support me the rest of the weekend. What a trip!
This article appeared first on The Cassey Excursion.
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