After touring the city for almost three days, it was time to go to Porto.
Oh hey, I forgot to tell you something. I was a student intern in Germany and Gus was my colleague. We planned to visit Portugal, Spain and Netherlands during the Christmas vacations. Well technically he planned and I just said “yes” to everything. I was in middle of writing my master thesis (Master student in Sweden) and deadline was catching up (to be precise it was just after the Christmas vacations), but I was convinced that writing my thesis sitting besides a beach or a mountain would relax my mind and accelerate my writing process. Thus, this trip. Okay sorry, back to the story.
We rented a car and started our journey to Porto (Yayy! Road trip!). Suddenly one of Gus’ friends started shouting something in Portugese. He couldn't find his bag and he was adamant that someone stole it. I asked him to check the trunk as most of our luggage was there. He goes, checks the trunk and again shouts something in Portugese. Gustavo answers him back and turns to me and says,
“Dude, Ani, Your backpack is gone.”
I didn't believe him at first. I smiled and started listening to songs. Gus and his other friends got down from the car and went to the trunk and started to search. They had serious looks on their faces. I got a feeling that something was wrong. I got down from the car, had a look inside the trunk and stood staring it for a while without saying a word. All backpacks were there in the trunk except mine.
“Fuck my life.”
I stammered these words and sat on the nearby footpath. Gus came and tried to console me. I was staring at the road with a blank look. Everything started to blur out slowly. My body was getting cold. I took a deep breath to come back to reality.
Why such a reaction for a mere backpack? It had my Laptop which in turn had my thesis. Worser, the backpack also had my passport and residence permit.
Deep Breaths. I had to think fast. We went to the nearest police station and filed a report. I called the Indian embassy. They gave me an appointment on 24th Dec.
Best thing about Indian embassy? Most of the consulates in Lisbon were closed on 24th Dec (Christmas eve) but not the Indian embassy. Also this was the only thing working to my favour as 23rd Dec was a Sunday and 25th Dec was an international holiday (Christmas).
December 23rd, 2018
All I had left with me was a small water bottle and my pocket belongings (mobile and purse). I shopped for a bag and some new clothes. The other Brazilians (except Gus) left for Porto. I purchased a smallest/ cheapest laptop I could get so that I could continue writing my thesis. For some reason, I also got a haircut. Maybe I wanted to make sure I still had control. I was not at all sure if I could reach Sweden in time in order to submit my thesis. Google search verified that the processing of a new Indian passport takes around 14 working days and the deadline to personally submit my master thesis was in the next 15 days (not working days but days). I tried to explore some hidden historical suburbs of Lisbon to relax my super stressed mind but I could only think of various dire consequences I would have because of this incident. I headed towards a hostel in order to try to get some sleep, unfortunately sleep was out of question.
December 24 - 27th, 2018
I headed off to the embassy to apply for a new passport. As I feared, they gave a 14 working days as ETA. I felt like giving up on my thesis and not write it anymore. No appetite. No travel savvy. I just wanted to go home but home was far far away.
Gus’ friends were having a Christmas party in a small student town called Coimbra and invited me to join them. As I had nothing better to do and had no motivation to work on my thesis, I and Gus left for Coimbra to join the party. They tried to cheer me up and asked me to travel around Portugal as planned initially and then later come back to Lisbon and wait for my passport. I gladly accepted.