Special Branch

Feeling panicked.

I am in KL.

The bus journey was so long, I fell into a very disturbed sleep, tears still falling as I slept.

At 4am, we arrived at the big bus station in KL and I got a taxi to my hostel that I had booked whilst on the bus. It is called Backpackers Traveller Hostel and it is right next to the market in China Town. It’s cheap and looks ok.

The taxi dropped me off at 5am, and I thought I would ask if I could drop my bag off at the hostel, but didn’t expect to be checked in. I walked up the stairs and the receptionist was asleep. I coughed and he woke with a start. 

He hadn’t got my booking, as I had only done it a couple of hours ago but he selected a dorm for me and gave me the bed linen and a towel. I was able to go to my room now! 

He asked for my passport, so I explained that was why I was here. He said that the embassy would be shut until Wednesday, as its Eid! Wednesday? That’s 5 days away!

He showed me to the dorm, it only has 4 beds so it’s nice and small. I got up onto my top bunk and fell asleep straight away.

I woke up about 10am, and the dorm was empty. After going to the end of the corridor to the toilet and to do my teeth, I got back into bed. I messaged Beth but it was still the middle of the night for her. 

I had text mum when I had arrived at the hostel to say I had arrived. I didn’t say where I had arrived, as I know this is something I need to explain on the phone to them, not in text.

I got onto my iPad, cancelled my debit card, googled the embassy just to make sure it wasn’t open, and then started to research how to get a passport.

From the website, it seems I apply for an emergency passport which I can use to get to 5 different countries. It was an online application, so I filled it in with Singapore, Malaysia and then Indonesia. As I am spending quite a few weeks in Indonesia, I can sort out my real passport there.

At the end of the application, it gave an appointment which was Friday morning. That’s a whole week away. I was meant to be travelling to Singapore on Tuesday!

However, as long as I can get to Indonesia to see B, that’s all that matters!

I started an application for a real passport, printing it at reception. However, it needs the passport photos to be countersigned by someone I have know for 2 years, not related and of certain profession. Well I’m not going to find that out here!

Maybe B could sign it when I see her and then I send it from Indonesia? 

I got up and decided to go to the police station. That’s the first thing I need to do, report it. I asked at reception, and they said I can go to the bus station where there is a police station.

I walked over the road, found the police station which was just a room with 2 police men in it. They were dealing with a couple when I arrived. One of the policemen asked what I needed and I explained my passport had been stolen. He exchanged a few words with his colleague and then gave me a tiny red piece of paper with an address on it. I needed to go to the main police station.

I asked if it was within walking distance and the woman offered me directions. It was about 30 minutes away. Her husband showed me on his phone and I then left, thinking I’d just get a taxi. I was so tired and had no idea where I was going!

They came out behind me and pointed in the opposite direction of the taxis at the bus station and so I walked away in the direction they were pointing. I don’t know why I didn’t just say I was getting a taxi but I didn’t want want to be rude!

I carried on walking down the street, but I couldn’t see any taxis. It was so hot and I needed a drink. I stopped at a 7/11 and asked directions. They were very helpful, and then the man said I should just get a taxi! 

I headed in the right direction, thinking I will just pickup a taxi on the way. However, there were no taxis in sight. I walked and walked, no clue if I was going in the right direction anymore. No idea where I was.

I passed a mosque and it was packed, cars parked everywhere and crowds of people. I guess this is why there were not any taxis around, they were either in the mosque or already booked to take families to the mosque.

I saw a taxi in a lay by. I knocked on the door and he shook his head at me. Great.

I carried on walking and saw another one halfway down on the other side. I crossed over and he wound the window down. I showed him the address and said police station. He laughed at me, and said that the blue building at the end of the road was it! 

I had found it!

I walked up to the gate house, and he gave me a visitor badge and told me to go to floor 8, Special Branch. He had a huge gun just slung over his shoulder, it was very intimidating.

I walked into the big, empty building. There was a man on a reception desk, I showed him my badge and he pointed me to the lifts. Up on floor 8 I was met with 3 closed doors. None of the signs were in English. I tried to see if any of the door signs matched the address I had been given, but they didn’t. I was about to knock on one of them but I noticed a tiny door bell to the side of one, which said press me.

Feeling apprehensive, I pressed the doorbell. I could hear it ringing out on the other side of the door. Footsteps and then a bald man opened and peaked round the door. I said I needed to report my passport as stolen. 

He opened the door and indicated for me to enter. I’m not sure what I expected, something similar to The Bill maybe. Special branch sounded so important, but there was a man asleep on a sofa. I was taken to a small desk, where he asked for my passport number. I gave him the photocopy of my passport which he seemed to like. 

He filled in the form on his computer, just a Word document that he was changing and then printed it out. He gave me a copy and said it was for downstairs.

Back in the lift, and then over to the receptionist. He pointed me through to a room with 4 policewomen all sat behind a desk, each with a computer. There were chairs for waiting, rows of them like a hospital waiting room. However, one of them was free so she indicated for me to approach.

She asked me a few questions, where and when it happened, as well as what else was in my bag.

She was typing for a while and then turned her screen and asked me to read what she had written. It was my statement, and she had said how quickly it had happened, that I couldn’t do anything, that it had just been a blur. I guess it must be so common they just have a template and then tweak the finer details. As I read through it my eyes welled with tears.

I nodded and so she printed it out for me to sign. She signed the form that Special Branch had given me and gave me a copy of my statement, with the case reference and details on it. She told me to go back up to special branch and give the form back to him, and then I was to keep the police report for the embassy and my insurance.

After going back up and down to special branch, I left the station and gave my visitor badge back to the armed guard.

I decided to save money and walk back, as long as I could remember the way. It took me a while but I got there in the end. I stopped at McDonald’s for some food, I hadn’t eaten for ages and felt very weak. I had chicken nuggets but I couldn’t finish them. My stomach is in knots and I just feel so awful.

I got back to the hostel and B had messaged saying call her. I phoned her and told her what had happened, tears in full flow. She was wonderful and calmed me down, telling me that everything would be OK. I was in the right place and I would be able to sort it all at the embassy on Wednesday. 

After speaking with B, I tried to call mum and dad. Both of their phones just rang out. I text them both saying that I was ok but if they could me when they get my message. I was glad it was the weekend so they would be together.

I lay in bed and read some Harry Potter, taking me away into a world of spells and potions.

About an hour later, mum called. I was on speaker to them both, and jumped off my bed and out into the hallway so I could have privacy from my dorm mates.

Mum just asked what had happened, I tried to hold it back but I just burst into tears and told them my bag had been snatched and it had my passport in. They asked if I was physically ok, which I said yes but just shaken.

They went through the practicalities, and I said I had been to the police,p to report it, told them the embassy was closed until Wednesday and that I had cancelled my debit card. They were impressed with how I had already sorted it all but it still didn’t give me a passport.

Mum said that I just needed to be patient, there was no point fretting or worrying with time limits because I wouldn’t know anything until Wednesday anyway.

They gave me big virtual hugs and lots of love. Mum told me to go back to Harry and rest to let my body recover from the shock.

I’m back in bed now, I just can’t stop crying. Maybe it is shock as well as stress. I just want to rewind the clock, leave my passport in the room and then I would be in Malaka right now.

Stupid Sazzle.

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