Well, not if your passport is not in the only place you've ever kept it. I turned the whole house inside out and even went back to school and my office around 1am with absolutely no luck. So I woke up at 6am, made an appointment at the passport office in Minneapolis at 9am, and had a new passport by 11am. I was blown away by the efficiency (though not the cost) of the place. I think they were equally surprised that my 'proof of travel' was my boarding pass to my 4pm flight.
Well, anyway, things are once again panning out for this crazy life. Hopefully I'll have some good conference comments in a few days; I'm presenting the wealth index paper and other topics look intriguing.
Addendum (12/7): As evidence of further boneheadedness, I only just got my passport back from the Ouagadougou airport officials this morning (four days after arriving). Upon arrival Saturday, seeing that that I no longer had a visa, I was sent to a small office with several people sweating about their passports. The visa officials insisted that they could not make our visas now, but that we had to leave our passports and come back with 210 USD on Monday (note that "make" is generous considering the visa is a stamp). Any normal person would never accept parting with their passport the Burkina Faso airport, but I swear these officials were insisting that this was protocol. A fellow passanger returned to the airport on Monday, paid for her visa, and was still refused her passport until Tuesday! Finally the conference officials got involved and someone with much better French and much more clout succeeded in securing my passport and returning it to me.