Sunday, July 29, 2007


Events, dear boy

Off to Copenhagen for a day-long workshop with the architects about the configuration of internal spaces in the discovery centre, and then a second day with the landscape architects on the layout of the park. Flew Austrian Airlines, which went well, as did the workshops. Also took a visit to Louisiana, which is beautiful, and was packed with people.

On the last evening before a crack-of-dawn trip out to Copenhagen Bob and I went out for dinner, and chatted for a couple of hours. At the end of which I reached into my pocket for a notebook to write something down and discovered that notebook, passport and mobile phone had all been lifted. The person who did this must have been exceptionally good. Bob who was facing me directly didn't notice a thing, and neither did I. Mercy was that none of my credit cards were taken.

So the trip back to Damascus went down the tube. The local police station was closed after ten oclock at night. So I went there the next morning, got a crime report, then had my photo taken and without much hope of sorting things out quickly went off to the British embassy to see about getting myself back to the UK. And was delighted to be told that I might get the passport the same day, which indeed proved to be the case. The new passport was ready in less than four hours, and the embassy staff were both helpful and charming.

I then flew back to the UK to arrange for a visa back to Syria, which will happen on Monday with luck. So a good reason to spend a couple of days at home as well. All in all, while very inconvenient, this could have been so much worse. The hotel (Guldsmeden) staff in Copenhagen were marvellous. I am a mobile phone worse off, and this may mean the loss of my cherished Syria number, but in many ways the most irritating loss was the notebook, which was packed with stuff of use to me, and which will probably have been tossed into the nearest bin by the pickpocket.

One things struck me on the trip back. Every time I have waited in Copenhagen airport my laptop has crashed, with alarming messages about system failure, and did so again this time. I hadn't connected the previous two times, but this third occasion made me wonder whether the airport's security screening does something horrible to laptops. I wonder if this happens to anyone else.


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