I noticed that today's maintenance went from 12.00am to 6.00pm in GMT which is bullshit. It struck me as weird that the times were in PDT so I decided to check my server region. Apparently when I started that game the server region defaulted to "AMERICAS" even though I'm in Europe. There wasn't even a promt to select it when I first started. I changed my server region to Europe and logged in and my lv 23 monk was gone. Apparently characters so not transfer across regions so unless I want to start again I have to put up with daytime maintenance, lag and not being able to play with my friends. Judging by the Diablo 3 forums it's pretty common for players in all regions to be defaulted the the wrong servers.
I just wanted to warn you guys. Check your server region before starting a character, it could save you a lot of trouble.