OK, well, that wasn't such a big deal. Thanks to this guy Brian Russell Simpson for his 'going in from the outside' idea: How do you fix a rear passenger door handle on a MK4 VW Golf with child lock enabled so the door cannot be opened from the inside The handle pulls and clicks but nothing happens?
First, let me say that you can access the inside of the door without being able to open it. As shown elsewhere on Vortex, pry off the interior door handle cover and remove the screws securing it to the door. From there you can start at the top by gently lifting/prying the top of the door card from the window channel. Next, gently but firmly pull the front edge of the panel off, then lower the rear seatback and pull the rear end off. Roll down the window and unplug the lock control and tweeter and disengage the latch cable. Now you can remove the bolts which hold the window carrier plate to the door. That's where I stopped. It seems that to remove the carrier plate you need to lower it from the opening, and with the door closed, you really can't do that. Having got that far, though, it was pretty apparent that without removing the window frame carrier, even if you have the door panel off, you have zero access to the latch assembly.
So... I searched the web again and found the above-referenced post. To be honest, I had no idea what he was talking about with the coat hanger. Maybe it's some kind of hanger we don't have here in the states. Anyhow, I got a little 'pick' - part of a little set of 4 I got at a local hardware store. They're less than $10 for the set - 1 straight, one with a hook, one with a 90-degree bend and one with a curved 30-degree bend. Anyhow, I took the 90-degree pick and, with the exterior door handle pulled out, inserted it into the rear end of the handle, pointy end facing upwards. I stuck it in about 3", then rotated it clockwise and ""pop" the door opened right up!
I'll see if I can take a few pics and repeat the procedure. My outside door handle still doesn't work, but at least now I can open the door from the inside again!
Modified by DougFromMaine at 3:04 PM 11-29-2009
Modified by DougFromMaine at 9:00 PM 11-29-2009