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I rushed out of my taxi, flashed my boarding card at the Taipa Ferry Terminal, and fished through my pocket for my passport to exit immigration.

My first reaction was surprise: My passport wasn’t in the pocket I expected it to be.

Annoyance: It wasn’t in my other four pockets either.

Sinking feeling: It wasn’t in my bag either.

I had lost my passport in Macau!

I spent last night at the Grand Hyatt Macau–review forthcoming–and had a 6 AM wake up call to make my 7 AM ferry to Hong Kong International Airport this morning.

My things were strewn across the suite when I woke up–had to take advantage of all the space–so I stuffed everything into my one carry on and one personal item and headed out the door. I was a little later than I wanted to be, and I got down to the check out desk at 6:25 AM.

No taxis were outside, so I started to worry that I might be in trouble for my 7 AM ferry.

A taxi arrived shortly and I arrived at a deserted ferry terminal at 6:40 AM. Nearly everyone had passed through immigration and had boarded, so I hurriedly paid my cab fare and ran out of the taxi.

A combination of my rush, exhaustion, and jet lag conspired to leave my passport on the back seat of the car.

Once I realized I didn’t have the passport, I called the Grand Hyatt. I figured I had either left the passport in my room or in the taxi because I had seen it that morning.

The front desk sent someone up to my room, and it wasn’t there, so the concierge called the taxi company from which he had ordered me a car.

I went outside the ferry terminal to catch a ride back to the Grand Hyatt but there were no taxis around. One showed up to drop off some people for the 8 AM ferry, but another woman had been waiting longer for the cab. It was hers.

I asked where she was going, and she offered to split the cab with me. I suggested that it drop her off and then me, but she wouldn’t hear of it. She insisted it drop us off between our destinations, and we could each walk 3 minutes to where we were going. I pulled out 50 HKD to pay for the cab, and she wouldn’t even let me do that. She was really the exact person I needed to meet as I was freaking out about being passport-less in Macau with a flight in a few hours to Singapore.

When I got to the Grand Hyatt, the concierge gave me some great news. The cabbie had found my passport and was en route to return it. I would just have to pay the meter for that trip.

In half an hour, he showed up with an 80 HKD meter (~$11), and I took his cab to Macau’s other ferry terminal for an 8:30 AM ferry to the airport. The total meter was only about $15. The new ferry ticket was another $30.

Losing my passport cost me 90 minutes at The Wing First Class Lounge–review forthcoming–at Hong Kong Airport and $45. I don’t think I’ll get off so cheaply next time.

When you travel as much as I do, you mess up sometimes. Luckily I’ve learned my travel lessons and tended not to repeat my mistakes. Hopefully that’s the last time I leave my passport in the back of a cab!

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