1. Juni 2004

[ English ]

I was robbed.

I was robbed at the Alfama yesterday, only 150m away from the entrance to the inner castle.

I had entered a very short dead-end road to admire the refurbishment of some old houses, when I saw two men coming around a corner of the main road. Coming past my road, they looked at me, exchanged a glance, and walked up to me. I immediately knew that something was wrong. I tried to exit the small road but they blocked my way. I screamed, but one of them made a motion that signalled me to be silent and as a I couldn't see his other hand - I feared that he was carrying a knife - I stopped. (This may have been a mistake, but there is not much time for rational thinking in this sort of situation.) They were close to me now and struggle ensued. I fell to the ground. They grabbed my camera - I was no longer resisting - and ran off.

It could have gone worse. I am not hurt very much and quite glad my glasses did not break when I fell onto them. They only took my camera - and not my bag in which I was carrying my keys, mobile phone, my paper notebook and far too much money. But I am sad and I am angry. When I was still an adolescent, I was once attacked on a train in Luxembourg. It was quite a trauma for me: For years, when I came to places that I did not feel 100% comfortable with (which at that time included Luxembourg city), I looked at everyone with great suspicion. It took a long time to get rid of that and get a positive attitude back. As you may have experienced yourself, this is not easy, especially when people look differently, live differently and speak foreign languages.

I would have loved to speak about Lisbon in nicer words and show you some photographs. The city is beautiful - at least it was until yesterday afternoon. But I am scared now. The KnowledgeBoard meeting, which I am attending here, is distracting me from thinking too much, but I am not sure about how I will feel after the meeting. Maybe I should try to get my flight rescheduled and leave tomorrow or Thursday. Sorry Lisbon. Maybe next time, in a couple of years?, we will have more luck.

(On a side note: I have not yet managed to get broadband connectivity, as the hotel charges 20 Euros a day (which is ridiculous) and connectivity is not available for guests at the meeting host. Bear with me if you are waiting for email answers. (and send me SMS with locations of open hotspots in Lisbon! ;-))

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I'm really glad you are allright, Martin. This could have gone down much worse, I guess. I know it's far too easy for me to say that now, but try not too be scared, and stay. I'd probably try to think of it in terms of contingency; wrong time, wrong place. It's not about you and not about Lisbon, so try not to take it personally. Man, this probably does sound dumb, but what can I say..?

Moe am 01.06.04 21:17 #

We are so sorry to hear that. As Moe said, it's not about the city. These are some idiots who ruin the reputation of their home country and stop people coming there this way.

If you want to come back earlier just let us know. Stuttgart is one of the safest cities in Germany and you are always welcome here.

Anett & Karsten am 01.06.04 22:01 #

hey martin..
that's no good! sorry man!
if you need a special-delta-squad to give you some peace down there - just give us a call ;-)

PLATOON am 02.06.04 09:57 #

Hi Martin,

Tut mir aber leid das zu hören. Ich bin froh du bist ganz und gesund davon gekommen.

Das Gefühl das man dir nicht nur deine Kamera sondern auch dein Sicherheitsgefühl genommen hat kann ich durchaus nachvollziehen. Als es hier in der Stadt eine grosse Explosion gab war mir ploetzlich klar ich fuehlte mich nicht laenger sicher in der eigenen Wohnung. Mit der Zeit hat sich das wieder geändert. Ich hoffe du lässt der Schreck und die Angst die du natürlicherweise jetzt fühlt für anderen Leuten dich nicht davon abhalten Portugal zu geniessen. Die Angst wird sich legen. Wenn du gehst haben die Täter wirklich nicht nur die Kamera gestohlen sondern dein ganzen Aufenthalt in Lisbao. Das würde ich denen nicht gönnen. Aber ich habe ja leicht reden von hinter'm Bildschirm.

Ton am 02.06.04 10:02 #

Hi Martin,

That must have been a scary moment. I can only underscribe what Ton writes. Hope that you can keep your spirit up!

Elmine am 02.06.04 10:11 #

Keep it up Martin. Stay in portugal and show 'em your middle finger. Tell the authorities what happend. Be aware of strange places. Join a group
(2-3) when you visit those kind of places. Your experience sets up an business idea in my mind. www.singlevisitor.com
A meeting plattform for people who are in a certain city and don't want to discover it be their own. Joining the platform via their mobile device. Negotiate a meeting point. And go! Do u see that your incedent has also creative sides.

Regards from a rainy Berlin

Marius am 02.06.04 11:23 #

Kopf hoch Martin. Bin froh dass es glimpflich ausging...

Sierra am 02.06.04 15:02 #

Du warst unvorsichtig.

Das Gute daran: Du weißt, was Du das nächste Mal besser machen kannst.

Das Beschissene: Ich will nicht vorsichtig sein müssen - mir wäre es genauso gegangen...

Kopf hoch, wir denken an Dich!

Heiko Haller am 02.06.04 15:27 #

Thanks, guys, I appreciate that. There are no flights back on a Thursday, so I will stay until Friday as planned. The meeting went very well - it was an exciting day. I'll write about it on my way back.

Angela Nobre took me to a school and a Lisbon suburb today... man, how I wish I still had my camera...

Talk to you soon.

Martin Roell am 02.06.04 19:55 #

Hallo Martin,

Kopf hoch. Angst, egal woher sie kommt und was sie auslöst ist ein Hemmnis, das einen oftmals blockt und falsch reagieren lässt. Ich kenn das aus anderen Situationen. Mir hat geholfen, um mich drüber wegzusetzen, indem ich mich entspannt habe (nachher) und mir klar gemacht hab, dass sowas nicht ständig und überall passiert. Dann wird der Kopf wieder freier und man zeigt die Angst, die einen einschnürt nicht ständig.

Trotzdem noch eine schöne Zeit in Lissabon

Siegfried Hirsch am 03.06.04 08:19 #

Hi Martin

That sounds like a very nasty and frightening experience. I'm quite sure I too would have felt the urge to take the first plane home and tuck myself up in bed against the world!

These sort of experiences knock us lower down Maslow's hierarchy of needs and it's really important to do whatever makes you feel more secure.

I really appreciate your honesty in talking about your responses and I'm glad you've had some more positive experiences in Lisbon since.

Johnnie Moore am 03.06.04 23:45 #

Hmm und so etwas passiert jemandem der im Dresdner Stadtviertel Neustadt wohnt ?

Ronny Voigt am 03.07.05 05:47 #


Martin Röll am 03.07.05 11:30 #