maandag 7 april 2008

The laptop miracle

This is a story I find hard to believe. But since it happened to me, I have no choice. I was meeting friends in Gogol. Internet at home wasn't working, so I went a bit earlier to do some work on my laptop in the cafe (almost any place in Moscow has wifi). Like it goes on evenings when you plan just to have one drink, I left the place at three o clock in the morning, drunk enough to forget my laptop.

The next morning I woke up by the ring of my phone. Some guy told me something about selling computer. I had no idea what he was talking about, told him he had dialled the wrong number and went to sleep again. Only then it occured to me that I left my laptop in Gogol. And that the guy that just called me probably stole it, and wanted to sell it back to me. My phone rang again. It was the same guy, telling me that he would call me later. He swore that he was not interested in money, what made everything even more puzzling, and told me that later in the morning, someone from the police would call me.

Now I was convinced that this guy not only took my laptop, but also wanted to rob me in some elaborate scam that involved 'the police'. An hour later, 'the police' called, and gave me an address where I could pick up my computer.

I decide to go there anyway together with a friend. We decided not to go inside if there was not a police station on the address.

There was.

It turned out someone indeed took my laptop, which he tried to sell to one of the hordes of people that lurk around some specific place in Moscow to buy stolen goods. He chose exactly the one undercover cop that was posing as one of them. They first had to find out I was actually the owner of the laptop, which explained the mysterious phone calls.

They let their foreign guest do the paperwork in the reception hall, where my friend made this picture:

It's blurry, but since he had to do this secretly I am happy it worked at all.

After the paperwork we were standing in the corridor with the undercover cop, seemingly without a point. The cop took my friend aside and told him the point: if I was still planning to show my 'gratitude' for his work. I put a 1000 rouble bill under the coat of my friend. The law abiding, crime busting undercover cop took the money and looked a bit disappointed.

When I came home I switched on my computer, it was in standby mode. I saw that either the thief or the cop had been playing Hearts on my computer. It was in the middle of a game.

Moscow objects (2)

Dog vs crab

As seen on the beach of Tanote bay, Ko Tao, Thailand. The crab won, after been thrown around a couple of times. It retreated discreetly into the sea, claws drawn.