By admin on February 23, 2012 in Blogs

I’ve arrived. How soon does one know that one is in love with a place? What little I have seen of the island is beautiful. I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking here.

The sun, the sea, the church and the landscape

My flight arrived around 8 am, and I was settled into my place for the next two days by 9 am. Having showered and ready to face the day, I hiked in from the village of Populo to Ponta Delgada. The sidewalks are narrow and sometimes disappear when houses butt right into the street, but the spongiform basalt stones used to make the old walls are amazing to watch in the morning. Lizards and geckos scurry as you walk past the wall. They have been sitting on the warm igneous rocks, soaking in the sun. Ponta Delgada is beautiful except the Marina facing downtown where a row of concrete, steel and glass buildings are rising up as bastions of modernity. But under a bridge, there was sign still of left-wing revolt as graffiti protested war and Bush.

My current place is beautiful with a view of the ocean and a beach down the street. Haven’t been there yet, but am heading down as soon as I finish writing this blog entry.

So far, I’ve walked about 10 km today (that’s about 6 miles for the folks stuck in the American imperium), got my cell phone set up in five minutes to receive free phone calls and connect to the interweb (Vodafone and Europe rock!). I walked past my apartment for the next 78 days and stopped in at the farmers’ market beside it and walked away with my first welcome gift: an authentic Azores grown pineapple.

It tastes even better than it looks!

I met Rendall and Gammi, who have a farm stand at the Mercado Graca. Besides giving me free fruit, they have als0 decided to take me in. I am helping Gammi run her stand in the afternoons once I move into the new apartment. When I told her I am here to work on a collection of short stories, she said I would get my pick of tales working in the stand. My language skills in English, German, and the noises I make in French are to be used with tourists. “I get mad with tourists,” Gammi tells me with a big smile.

Rendall is a Scottish expat by way of Bermuda with a grandfather buried in the NWFP fighting the Afghans when the British ruled India. Gammi is Azorean and has already decided that I am going to stay at her parents house in Furnas, on top of a volcano for creative inspiration. Merrily, she folds her hands in mock meditation and shows off how a volcano would explode under the seat of my pants while I am in a state of cosmic relaxation. It matters little to them that my stories are set in Toronto about an Indian family in a Portuguese neighborhood, and I hope they are right.

There will be more on Rendall and Gammi, that’s for sure.

Now that I am connected to the world with my iPhone, time to switch it off and lay on the beach for the next few hours. The weather is perfect, sunny with cloudy breaks, a swift sunshower or two, and a seabreeze to keep the heat at bay.

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