While we were sleeping on the train to Surabaya my camera and all of my lenses were stolen. I put it in the safest place I thought possible – under my legs. If I put it in the overhead compartment I thought it would easily disappear. If I put it on the bag rack where our backpacks were we’d almost certainly never see it again.
Under my feet, that was definitely the safest place, I thought. Rachel noticed it was missing first. We told the security staff. They were friendly, but did nothing to help. I didn’t expect them to find the camera, but at the very least I thought they would want a witness statement and report it to the police. Neither happened. They simply apologised and left.
We still can’t figure out exactly how it was stolen. I suppose it’s not important.
One of the most annoying things is that we’ve spent over a week trying to convince our friends from the UK that Indonesians are friendly and that people generally weren’t out to rob you. A few hours into a trip around Indonesia and I’m already proven wrong.
I still believe Indonesians are friendly and generous. After getting off the train we went to a Dunkin’ Donuts to organise accommodation in Surabaya. The staff there could see we weren’t in a great mood. Rachel was visibly upset. I explained the situation to them. After that they refused to accept money for the coffee, they helped us find a hotel and some customers gave us the name of a good camera shop.
That helped to restore my faith a bit in Indonesians.
I feel bad for my Indonesian friends. If a foreign friend of mine had his camera stolen in the UK I would feel very embarrassed. But obviously this is not their fault or responsibility. It’s mine for being too trusting. Thieves are everywhere, not just in Indonesia. I’d never experienced this before when I was travelling so maybe I’d become complacent.
The worst thing is that we’ve had such a wonderful time in Yogya, but now we’re left sitting in a Surabaya with a very bitter taste in our mouths, and a darker image of Indonesia.
Right now I’m stuck in a difficult situation. I need a new camera but if I buy one in Indonesia the warranty is only valid here, so if anything happens when I leave I’m screwed. The way we feel right now I’d be happy to return to the UK so that I still have mainly good memories of Indonesia.
Maybe it sounds a bit dramatic but that camera, outside of Rachel and my friends and family, is everything to me. It not only defines the way I travel, it’s also large part of how I define myself. It pushed me to do things that a few years ago were unthinkable. Rachel and I would never have been driving around the beautiful roads of Dieng Plateau at 5:00am to witness the magnificent sunrise if it wasn’t for my little Canon.
I’m not even sure what I’m most angry about – the camera and lenses, the value of the camera and lenses, or the principal of it. Right now Rachel and I are considering our options. Rachel feels like she has very little trust for the people around her now. We need to decide if staying in Indonesia is the right thing to do, or if returning home and planning the next step in France would make both of us feel more comfortable. One thing’s for sure, I’ll be buying a new camera.
Some might consider leaving Indonesia a bit over-the-top, but imagine having £1,500 worth of equipment stolen from you in a foreign country where the police won’t help, with no friends nearby to help, and in a city where we’ve already been hassled a million times by street sellers and taxi drivers. It’s a distinctly uncomfortable feeling and one that we can choose to escape from at any time.
We’re going to look for cameras now. If the sales person tries to give us the ‘special foreigner’ price, I’m going to throw him through a window.
Me and my little Canon