The pile next to the bag had completely disappeared. The next task was to see if it zipped. Success! Everything for the three of us to spend two weeks in Sri Lanka fit into one checked bag, without even having to sit on it or force the zipper. (Our baggage allotment is six bags, but that's WAY too many bags to try and navigate trains and tuk-tuks.)
The big test would be the airport scale. The limit is 23 kg per bag, but often with only one bag they don't make a fuss if you are over. Final verdict: 23.4 kg. I walked away smugly, feeling pretty impressive with myself.
Arrive and deplane, thrilled to have a jetway rather than a bus ride. Buy visas, clear immigration, swing through duty free, and figure we've timed it about right as the bags have started to circle our carrousel. As 30 minutes stretches into forty-five I contemplate a new policy - the last bag odd the carousel for each flight should come with a bottle of champagne, some reward for being the "lucky one" who got the opportunity of seeing everyone else's luggage before being ruined with your own.
No champagne for us, even if the policy was implemented. The carrousel is turned off and it looked like we were good to be in the same clothes for a while. After being in the airport for nearly two hours, not only did we not have our bag, but we no longer had enough time to make our train to Kandy.
Having worked in the travel industry in a previous life I know that it is a good sign when they actually know where your bag was left. Our baggage tag matched the number of a bag that was left in Jeddah and will come in our tomorrow's flight. They say it will be delivered to our AirBnB home at that point. I am optimistic, but not holding my breath.
The "sorry for your inconvenience" money covered an air conditioned car ride, rather then a bus to a train (which probably would have had to be a bus because the one we were planning on we wouldn't make and the later one didn't have any seats) and new toothbrushes, shampoo, etc. The little one loved getting to pick out a new shirt. (The grown ups chose to wash theirs out tonight and trust they will be dry by the morning.) With plenty of money in case we need to really shop tomorrow.