Who was in my room last night?

Since Marty hit the road I’ve been fortunate enough to have this 3-bed dorm to myself, plenty of peace and quiet, a welcome touch of privacy and, just as importantly, some sense of security. Not sharing with strangers means I can relax a bit, I don’t have to be quite as overly protective of my valuables and I don’t have to worry about other people leaving the door unlocked while there’s no-one around.

Well, almost…

Yesterday I got back to the room after using the internet in reception (this lack of wireless access is seriously getting to me) and found that it was locked. Well obviously it was locked in the sense that I had to use my key, I always lock the door behind me – and yes, like at home, I’ve locked myself out on a couple of occasions 🙂 I mean the catch was on the door, it had been locked from inside and there is no way on earth you can accidentally flick that catch on your way out.

My first thought was that I had new room-mates and he/she/they were having a shower or otherwise engaged in a manner incompatible with sudden unannounced interruptions. I managed to open the door a couple of inches and a quick glance around put paid to that idea. How curious…

Luckily there’s another way in; behind the dorms is a long, narrow corridor used by the laundry for hanging out wet clothes. Each dorm has a window opening onto this dank passageway, pointless except for purposes of letting air circulate through the room. The windows consist of two parts: one sliding panel containing the glass, which is lockable; and another containing mosquito netting, which is not. I, like most of the rest of the camp, tend to leave the glass section open and keep the mozzies at bay with the netting – a decision which sacrifices a little security for a great deal of comfort.

Anyway, I walked around the back and counted down the identical windows on the back wall until I reached the one which should have been mine. And which was completely open, both panels.

Not good.

I gingerly clambered in – these window-frames aren’t the strongest or highest quality in the world – and took inventory of my belongings. Now maybe leaving that window unlocked isn’t the smartest thing in the world but at least I had the sense to keep anything valuable – camera, netbook, hard drive, phone, passport, etc – secured in my locker, also using my own padlock rather than the flimsy piece of crap you’re supplied with on arrival (note to anyone planning on staying here – all the padlocks use the same keys so anyone else can open yours, you have been warned).

Thankfully everything was in order. The only sign of intrusion was my tupperware first aid kit, which had definitely been shut earlier, lying open on the floor of the cupboard but it hadn’t been ransacked. The most potent supplies I have are 400mg tabs of the local generic ibuprofen, hardly a hot black market item.

So I got off lightly – home invaded, privacy breached, sanctity despoiled but nothing taken, nothing broken and no-one shat on my bed. I’m not bothering to report it to the local cops – the constabulary around here aren’t too well versed in the Queen’s own English seeing as we aren’t in touristville and I can’t be bothered with a two-hour sign language session to explain that someone had failed to steal anything from me. I’m tired enough from training and just don’t have the energy for the mental gymnastics required to describe a crime scene without a common language.

Still, I’m going to have a word with management. Fair enough you need to take responsibility for your belongings, but surely locks for the mozzie screens can’t cost too much. Or a single CCTV camera (even, in fact preferably, just a dummy one for purposes of deterrence) covering the alleyway. From the owners’ point of view any small expense should be preferable to having your customers telling their friends “Yeah, training’s great but remember to bring your own private security firm”.


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