Sales People on the Go!
Sometimes I think that while executing my job, I gathered a lot of experience in travelling. I could even claim that we salespeople are professional travellers. I have experienced a lot of cases which are quite useful to my fellow travellers.
WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU LOSE YOUR PASSPORT WHEN YOU ARE ABROAD?
It was a warm day and we were going around with my two guests from Serbia in the Bazaar area of Istanbul. We had finished a meeting and had several hours in the afternoon until their time to fly back home in early evening. The Bazaar area in Istanbul is a good place to spend some time for foreigners and native as well. We were enjoying the surrounding small souvenir shops.
As mentioned it was a warm day and my guests had taken off their jackets. One of them liked a small souvenir and when he wanted to pay, he noticed in big pain that his wallet and his passport were stolen from his jackets pocket. We were all shocked, the wallet with some money inside was a problem but a bigger problem was to lose the passport which he needed to fly back home.
I was also helpless and did not know what to do. One shopkeeper proposed that we rush to a police station. We started running, maybe we had a chance to catch the thief. But, after some hundred meters, I noticed that one of my guests was lost. So, we had to stop and look for him in the crowded bazaar area. I told to myself; what a day, one of my guests lost his passport and the other one lost himself. Finally we found each other and went to the police station. The police were very helpful but could only help with documents. We got a copy of a document confirming the case and rushed to the Serbian Embassy quite far away.
Well, the process is; with the document from the police you apply at your embassy and they for a document which helps you fly back home. Of course the story is longer as we had to find a photo shop and make some photos of my guest for the document etc. and not to forget that the friendly staff in the embassy proposed a good quality local wine for all the help I did for my guest. But, in the end my guest had the document to fly back and I had a good experiance of how to proceed if you lose a passport.
WHAT DO YOU DO IF THE GEOGRAPHY CHANGES?
We had a customer in the northern part of Slovakia (or better Czechoslavakia) for whom the easiest way to go was to fly to Vienna, rent a car and drive several hundred kilometres. We had done this trip several times a year and were quite used to the beautiful local roads.
One day, the trip began as mentioned. We, four of us, rented a car in Vienna and entered Slovakia with a different visa that time as the country Czechoslavakia was separated into two Czech and Slovakia. The Geography had changed, we knew this but not the consequences. We now had a visa for Slovakia but no need for one for the Czechia (or the name: Czech Republic at that time). We were having a pleasant drive when I suddenly had a feeling that something was wrong. Some labels in local language were somehow warning
Later, I understood that the labels were telling that we were driving to the Czechia and there was no return. Our usual road was now entering Czechia for some kilometers and then continuing to Sloavakia. We did not have the required visas to enter that stretch of road. But the biggest problem was that we had a visa for Slovakia just for a single entry. So, if we left, we could not come back in!!
We could not enter Czechia and also could not re-enter Slovakia. I started to think that it would be a good Holywood movie, in which some people would live in the neutral no man’s land between two neighbouring borders for some years. Maybe this would be our destiny.
Fortunately it was not that bad. One very friendly guard at the Czech border could speak good German. We got him to understand the situation and he brought us back in the other direction. I told him that part of the problem was solved and we could go back to Slovakia but what would happen at the Slovakian border; we just had a single entry visa and we had already entered Sloavakia once. He smiled and told that he would call his colleagues there and let them understand that they let us in without an official stamp. He had kept his promise, the guards at the Slovakian border were laughing when we were there. It was probably also a change in their usual daily routine.
First thing we did was drive into a small town and buy a big map of the whole area. We were lucky once but could have bigger issues a second time round. So, we selected roads which were 100% inside Slovakian territory.