It’s been a rather insane past two weeks or so. On Friday 22nd June, I was robbed of my worldly possessions while waiting for the bus to the airport at the AEROBUS stop on Rossio Square in Lisbon, Portugal. My beloved 40D, 100-400mm, 24-105mm and 10mm fisheye were in my pine green Lowepro Flipside 400AW bag along with my iPhone 4 and iPad 2. As we were on our way to the airport, I also had my bank cards and passport with me in the bag. All gone.
At the bus stop, a European man of average height with dark brown complexion, some facial hair and short black hair, wearing a pair of black acetal framed glasses approached us and enquired about the bus map. As we averted our attention, his accomplice swooped in and took my camera bag which was right next to me. I turned around after he’d left and my camera bag was gone. The bloke asking about the bus also disappeared. It was obviously a two manned job. Immediately, we looked for a police officer and of course there is never one when you need one. All day we had been seeing cops patrolling the area. Anyway, we went to the police station and filed a police report. The policeman was helpful and the process painless, well, as painless as it could be under such circumstances.
My initial concern was the loss of all my identity documents, I had no passport or drivers license and photocopies of my passport were securely stored in the iPad which was stolen. Getting home would involve a trip to the nearest Malaysian embassy which was all the way in Madrid and to add insult to injury, I would also have to deal with the British Embassy in order to get the necessary entry clearance and haemorrhage money. The following days involved numerous phone calls and emails to find out what to do to obtain the necessary documents in order to get home. It’s been a trying experience. I was suppose to be home on the 27th June but didn’t make it back until the 4th July. It’s taken a week to get home.
Now that I’m back, I’m having to deal with a tonne of paperwork which is not my idea of fun. Had things gone according to plan, I’d be geotagging and editing my photos instead of queuing at the embassy and filling in forms.
No matter how careful you are, someone, somewhere, will manage to find an opportunity to liberate you of your worldly possessions. A week before, I was travelling in Uganda and the worst thing that happened there was the relentless painful bites of the tsetse flies. Not even the baboons there tried to rob us!!! Some people are worse than animals. I hope those vile miscreants see justice. This experience has, unavoidably, soured my view of Portugal which is unfortunate as Lisbon is actually quite an aesthetically pleasing city. I had such great photos of the city but cannot share them as they’d disappeared along with all my kit. It wouldn’t have made a difference had I backed up the photos to the iPad since that went too. Another thing to add about Lisbon is that pretty much every corner has a drug dealer. The moment we stepped off the bus upon arrival, a chap comes up to us asking if we wished to purchase hashish or marijuana. I should’ve taken that as a sign of things to come really.
Anyway, I’m providing a list of my stolen items and their serial numbers in the hope that they’ll turn up somewhere. If you’re in possession of any of these items, I suggest you either get in touch with me or the Portuguese tourist police in Lisbon who already have a copy of these serial numbers.