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  • Writer's pictureCaroline Busser

The day that destroyed us...

It still takes courage and strength to write about what happened on our worst day of the whole trip when we something incredible happened to us in the very center of Lisbon!

A normal day?

It started like a normal day. Since three days, we had parked our caravan on a parking with video surveillance in Lisbon center. We payed for the parking and it was worth it because with the cameras, our home, the precious equipment for filming and especially the instruments were safe! This wednesday started too good! We had rehearsal in Cascais and worked with the composer Eurico Carrapatoso which was highly inspiring! Afterwards, we played in a school for underpriviledged children that are supported to learn instruments and form an orchestra, similar than in Venezuela. I will write an own chapter about this fantastic experience! After this concert, the positive atmosphere and the enthousiasme that we saw from children, we were so fullfilled with joy and spirit! After the hard work and playing the last days, we deserved a sauna evening and walked to our parking happily to exchange instruments via towel and flip flops. It was already dark when we came to the caravan and when we opened the side door, we were paralyzed:


Slowly, I dropped my cello and all the bags to the floor and remained in a shock for a moment that felt like an hour, followed by the most horrible hour of my life! My head was about to explode when I saw the inside of our caravan! EVERYTHING on the floor, a big chaos (later, we would laugh about this because they were genius to beat us in this domain...), the closets wide open and empty, broken glasses, curtains disrupted and content of fridge emptied on the floor... My first thoughts were: computer, cameras, drone, recording equipment, and DATA!!! They had taken everything precious that we need for our project, for recording, for filming, for mixing, for everything!!! Our project is over!!

"The cameras don't work"

Traumatized, we ran to the park officer sitting in a small house right at the parking to ask about the cameras because at least they had for sure filmed the criminals (we had parked right in front of the cameras!). She didn't seem to be surprised and didn't share our panic or astonishment, just told us in a very cold way that the cameras don't work at the moment(?!!). This was a joke! We paid for them and chose the parking because of the cameras!!! (The parking was owned by the biggest company of Lisbon: EMEL). She told us that anyway it's a car parking and caravans are not allowed, it was written in Portuguese on a sign (and ONLY in Portuguese!). We had parked for three days and SHE, sitting whole day in her little house: didn't care that the cameras were "broken", didn't see that we were not a car (!) and didn't see the criminals...? This was MAFIA!!! . A big organisation and I'm sure the lady would get a "part of the cake". I told her to call the police because I couldn't reach them with my German phone. In slow motion movement, she pulled out a folder and scrolled in it for about a minute. When she finally had found the number of the police (it must have been difficult!), she took her big plastic phone and typed it, still not in a hurry.

A very Portuguese Police Station...

Three police men in blue uniform arrived half an hour later and they took me to the police station while Ivan waited in our poor caravan. We drove 110km/h through with blue light and siren through the city center like in the movies! And for sure I would have enjoyed this special taxi if I wasn't so shocked and sad! The police station was in the Palacio Foz, the same building where we had played our concert one day ago, which irony! It was full of tourists that were robbed or lost their identity on paper... Too crowded, so my "privat taxi" drove me to some other police station.

...again quite a drive through the night, god knows in which part of Lisbon we arrived after half an hour... But in a small, not very charming police house, without any tourists...

From the first moment I knew that this was a burocratical procedure to fill out lots of papers that wouldn't help us anything, is just alibi. But didn't have any idea how long this nonsense would take - three and a half hours (!!) I spent in the tiny suburbian police office! The first hour, I waited for the boss to come, sitting in the waiting room like a picture of misery. Next to me was sitting a police man and played a computer game (!). You could see at his face whether he lost or won the game. But maybe I'm too strict and he was training for his next police operation with real weapons... The next hour, I spent in the big and very chaotical office with the main boss (he was playing the "real" police game with me and made me sign a dozen of papers!). It was routine for them and he was honest to tell me that I shouldn't expect to get anything back...

And the last one and a half hours: I was waiting that they drive me back, because THEY FORGOT ME!! I was alone with the computer guy that didn't understand English, waiting for a police car to drive me back to Ivan and the caravan. I missed both, I didn't have battery to inform anyone or money to take a cab! I felt so empty that I starred down looking at my big tears dropping down on the wooden floor...

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