So here's how it happened, now that I can finally get the phone to work:
The hostel I stayed at was lovely. Like a house. Renata made breakfast each morning. And we talked and drank tea in the kitchen.
One night, a guy and his pregnant wife shared their bread. They were in the same six-bed dorm.
They said they were from Latvia and meeting friends.
Two days later, they slept late. Still in the room when I left to go interview artists from Uzupis, the small community that started their own government.
Guy asked me where I was headed, which people in hostels always do. I locked the computer under the bed in the locker.
Had to buy girl stuff. Did. Came back quick and they were leaving and turned to a car.
When I looked an hour later, gone.
What we know is Andis Blumis from Latvia, if that's his real name, is an a##hole.
What we deduced is this:
They didn't come by bus as they told the host because they had crates overfilled with clothes. No one travels by bus that way. He made the pregnant Lady sleep in the top bunk. They rarely spoke to each other. He said he needed a market to buy good meat but bought the worst sausage. Overdressed for the hostel. When I left Friday they went to Renata and said we changed our minds ... Suddenly... And didn't stay another night. They left as she was asking them for the second key they told her she never gave them.
They saw me in the gate, returning from the drugstore, and high-tailed it out.
Maybe they saw an opportunity and took it. More likely, we think, they might run a little racket, pregger woman and web designer, stealing from backpackers.
The police were surprisingly responsive. Took a report. Brought a translator. Took photos.
I'm never seeing that laptop again, but they opened an investigation.
Said they typically sell for parts and make 300 Euros on a Mac.
That was photos and recordings of the last speakers of languages and photos from tribes... And 11 months of sweat and joy and tears for me.
I backed it up. Mostly I have the content.
It seems brutal that i volunteer and do what I do and it was swiped as if nothing mattered. And it didn't to them which is especially mean. They sat at the table and knew I was out of money but still going to Africa to assist blah blah blah. I never showed my photo gear. And thankfully, I took it with me.
Renata stayed up all night in the police station. Let me change passwords on her computer til 4 a.m.
We joked,sometimes about Andis Blumis getting hit by a bus but holding my Mac.
She said she was impressed that I was handling it so well. There was a girl there once who lost her coat. Yelled. Cried. I handled business and Saturday went back to the artists and saw the KGB genocide museum and had a moment in the cat cafe.
Listen, I said. Life is so short. I have made it a long time no robberies and I wasn't assaulted. Dead. I'm OK. It is terrible and they took away some choices for me and I'm already in debt and it is a blow ... but in the end I have backups and it is a machine.
Life is too good and most people shine too bright to dwell in it too long. It happened . Can't get it back. Move forward.
I went to the metal bar with Renata and a few real travelers who wanted to explore Vilnius and we danced later in a basement like inside a wine barrel to Midnight Oil and whatever else came on. Marijus shared his homemade cake and sausage with us at 2 a.m.
And when I finally got online again I saw all the posts here, now.
And offers to help.
My fiend Olaf gave me his old PC to take to Senegal today. To volunteer again. It is old and heavy and it is perfect for this pinch. I have a tool. I'm up and running. I can type and upload a photo until I can replace the Mac, which I will need to do.
I can't get at anything from the other work for 11 months until I do.
I am so thankful for these times and the people in my life. They far outshine the shit, who I like to think may be in for some karma.
Us? Me? They can't keep us down.
I'm going to move forward with all you getting my spiritual back. It meant so much and made it better.
F. U. Andis blumis. I'm STILL going to live with the Bondial community in Senegal and contribute to making the first dictionary and fish with them and find the way to share stories and make the world smaller.
I would go with my camera and nothing. Actually I gave one pair of pants :-).