So. I’ve been thinking about if I should do this post or not all weekend. I’ve decided to go ahead and do it, but only because as of now, I want a clean slate for next year. So you may have seen me mentioning it a couple of times on Twitter and once or twice on VG247, but here’s the more in-depth version.
Thursday, August 19
I’m up and out of bed. So far, nothing gone wrong.
I leave for the Koelnmesse after saying bye to Pat – he went back to France that day – and writing up part of a Killzone 3 interview with Guerrilla. I’m seeing games for the rest of the day, like LBP2, Motorstorm, Journey, Assassin’s Creed, etc.
Quite suspiciously to myself, however, while I am in the Eurogamer press room, I think: “I didn’t see my passport as I woke up this morning. Hope it hasn’t gone missing” or something amongst them lines. You see, since the Monday I had gotten there, I kept the passport beside me at the small table beside my bed (for the record, hotel room was like living in an asylum). But, for now, I didn’t think much of it, I still had work to do.
And then I feel sick. Not because I lost my passport, I hadn’t realised that yet, but I just felt sharp pains in my stomach. I just assumed it was a need of food, so I went to a Subway to get something to eat. Did. It was nice. So then, I go back to my hotel room.
And then, the thought clicks.
I then put down my gear, very subtly it has to be said, and then look for said passport. And then the panic sets in. After looking everywhere in the room, I go down to reception and tell them what’s happened. I retrace my steps and try figure out if I had left it behind somewhere or if it dropped out of my pocket. But no luck.
Needless to say, it was pant-shitting time. After phoning the Irish embassy back in Dublin – my passport was Irish, not British – I went to the nearest police station I could to report it missing. Police couldn’t do a thing, though, as it had to be stolen first before they could get involved. Quite frankly, I didn’t know what was what considering the state of mind I was in.
I feel sick. I don’t feel like sleeping. Yet I do.
Friday, August 20
But… here’s the kicker – and it still scares me shitless today that this was a possibility – I was woken up at 5am. I asked for that. You see, there was a chance at one point I may have had to have gone to the main embassy in Berlin. Thankfully, it never came to that. Instead, there was a consalte in Frankfurt, as, stupidly, the one in Cologne only stayed open until Thursday.
So after making a few calls to my sister and the guy in Frankfurt who will provide me papers to fly to Dublin as well as the Irish embassy, I am on my way to Frankfurt main airport. I had a ticket booked for 8pm by my sister to fly back to the Republic.
I remember going to half-a-dozen people on the platform as I still was still a bit freaked out if I was going on the right train. It was.
I’m sitting across this guy on the train and I keep checking Twitter on my iPhone just to keep my thoughts off what happened, even though the phonebill will be expensive shit (it was at £300).
And then, for some reason, I just started breaking down in tears. Why? I didn’t know it then and I don’t know it now. I can only guess it’s either because of what’s happened in the past 24 hours or something this bad tarnished for me what was an amazing first trip to Germany before then. Either way, I just wanted to go home.
An hour later, I arrive at the airport. I eventually find myself at the help desk of Aer Lingus, who I explain the situation to. I tell my situation to the man there and then the waiting game begins. After that, a woman of Pakistani or Indian decent who spoke fluent German took over for the man. At times, to be honest, she was a joy. Others, not so much.
But as I waited for the papers to come through, I decide to get some food. So there’s a McDs in the airport. Close by, too. Good times, albeit for half-an-hour.
But finally, after ups and downs where I thought at times I finally was going home and not going home – it was so unbelievably close that day – I finally get the papers, the woman hands them to me and I’m finally on my way.
I’m not a big believer of fate. But there was something a bit odd. I was due to be at the multiplayer reveal of Black Ops in LA in September, but now I couldn’t go for obvious reasons. Yet, on my plane ticket, the terminal I was meant to be waiting for my flight in was — E3.
Now, I’m gonna come out and say this: I’ve always wanted to do E3 and gamescom was a nice first experience. But I want to do E3 and hopefully I will. Preferably sooner then later, but that’s not my call. The Black Ops event was due to be not just my first in LA, but in the US as well.
Was losing my passport a message to tell me I should wait on going to LA until E3, whatever year that is? Either way, like I say, not a huge believer of fate, but it did just seem a bit out of place. We’ll see.
Anyways, I reach immigration, I finally feel like I am finally going home… and then we have one final twist. The woman at the Aer Lingus desk did a photocopy of the original papers and didn’t give me the original papers. She should have given me the original papers. So after 15 minutes or arguing, another woman comes down and tells the woman at the desk to give her the original papers.
She does. And we’re on our merry way. We go up to immigration and FINALLY, I am on my way. I sit in the terminal for half an hour, 45 minutes tops. My phone was near dead, so I turned it off once I got on the plane to perserve the little battery power I had left to tell Pat and my sister that I finally made it into Dublin.
After a two hour long flight, I landed in Dublin. Quite frankly, when I got outside, I want to fall to my knees and kiss the ground. I didn’t, but I wanted to.
But anyways, I settle down, have some crisps and a drink and phone three people: my mum, my sister who was the one who booked me the ticket home and Pat. Mum never answered, Pat was occupied if I remember correctly and my sister just went to voicemail. Still, two out of three ain’t bad.
After waiting half-an-hour outside the buses area, I got on the one heading to Derry. I was exhausted. But then again, I did just go through the worst day of my life so far. After a four hour bus, most of which I fell asleep through, I finally land back in Derry. I grab a taxi home, get in and, as always, the dog is the first one to greet me.
I then turn on the TV, Smallville’s on. Then I fall asleep.
And that concludes this tale.
Since then, we’ve had a bit of a laugh with it. I’ve had people telling me it’s learning experience as well. And it is. I’ve had family and friends joke on it and I’ve had a bit of a laugh on it.
Has it put me off flying now for press trips? God no! But I do need to get a new passport sorted, though, I haven’t done it since Germany.
Has it put me off flying to Germany again? Absolutely not. Because even then, Germany was actually alright before what happened happened.
Has it put me off going to Cologne and gamescom again? NO. NO. NO. I loved Cologne and I loved the first bit of experience I had at a trade event. If I get the chance, I will absolutely be back in Cologne next year.
But needless to say, what happened in those two days in August were absolutely horrible.