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Posted on Sep 28, 2012 in Blog, Portugal

Locked Out Abroad

Locked Out Abroad

A busy shopping day today, as we bought groceries in the morning when the fresh fish came in, and in the afternoon went downtown to get some things for the apartment. We returned laden with pillows, bath mat, and colander to find ourselves locked out of our building. Richard had the apartment key in his pocket but no building key, which we thought had fallen out somewhere. It’s a small building, and no one else was home to let us in, so I retraced our steps in hopes of finding the missing key while he called our emergency numbers in search of someone with a duplicate.

My efforts turned up unsuccessful, but he arranged to meet in the evening with the brother of the person from whom we’re subletting the apartment to get another key. Bruno, the brother, is a filmmaker who was on his way to a protest against government cuts to the arts. Most of Bruno’s work consists of advertising for corporate clients, but he also makes documentaries that he hopes one day to show at major festivals such as the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. His most recent project is a documentary on hazing in Portugal — evidence that this abhorrent practice is a scourge around the world.

austeritymuralBruno told us about a concert on October 13 that will call attention to the consequences of the government zeroing out all arts funding. While Portugal is one of the Eurozone countries facing high deficits and economic crisis — in fact, the country’s economic travails nearly led to the cancellation of Richard’s Fulbright appointment — withdrawing support from artists is a shortsighted move that threatens the growing tourist industry and the rich cultural patrimony that distinguishes this small country.

The protests in Portugal have been relatively quiet and peaceful, especially when compared to those in neighboring Spain, as well as in Greece. One does see evidence of opposition to rule by the 1%, though, for instance on this abandoned building near the financial district.

By the way, the missing key turned up on the floor of the apartment. We’re now looking for lanyards so we can put the keys around our necks and not have to worry about them falling out of our pockets.

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