There was a fine drizzle when I arrived, 18 degrees and very humid. I walked into the airport only to find no one was there to meet me. I was devastated. I arrived in a strange country that wasn’t strange, because in ways it was like Newfoundland (minus the palm trees) with tall rolling mountains, my data wasn’t working in the airport, but luckily I was able to log onto their wifi, reaching Jeniffer via whats app. I was so grateful, my little panic ended. A taxi that cost 18 euro’s was very pleasant, passing breathtaking landscape. I chatted with the driver who fortunately knew some English; he asked who I was visiting – family or friends and where I was from so we got along ok. When we reached the town, the driver stopped to ask for directions. We followed another taxi into the village and was directed down a street to number 34. I was all in a tither, forgetting to tip the guy.
“Can you stay until I knock on the door to make sure it’s the correct address?” I asked. My luggage was not out of the taxi at this time, so it’s not like he had a choice. Jeniffer’s brother-in-law answered. I said Jeniffer’s full name even though his face was vaguely familiar, but wasn’t sure. He admitted later that he was going to pull a joke a on me, to say this wasn’t the right address, but thought better of it because he saw the look of sheer panic on my face. Good thing! I think I would have broken down and cried!!!
Although I was yawning my head off, I couldn’t sit still. I was given the option of taking a nap, but as the day was just getting started for the family, I was willing to do whatever anyone had planned. After being asked repeatedly if I wanted to have a nap, 4 of us got a taxi into the city, Ponta Delgada, for 12 euros. The driver dropped us off at a botanical park with winding trails, exotic trees, ponds and caves. Even though I brought my camera, but for now, was soaking everything up. It wasn’t until we got to the Museum of Religious Art, a beautiful building, that I finally brought my camera out.
I’ve learned that stores close at noon, the hottest time of day. At this time of year, however, midday is not hot and the city was still hopping. I’m sure as summer wears on, it will get hotter and there will be a need for siestas. We stopped for lunch, a little place that was nothing special. Only half the menu was on offer, though my meal was well seasoned. If I had found the restaurant on Google maps, I wouldn’t have given it a great review. We stayed in the city until 3 or 4pm, getting a taxi back. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the landscape. It’s about a 10 minute drive from one side of the island to the other.
When we came home, I took an hours nap. That’s when the fire works started. Rabo de Peixe is in the throws of a fishing festival. Apparently on the weekend, there was a ceremonial fisherman’s dance where the men would dance up the streets to a band. On queue they would click their pom-pom castanets. I missed this, but Jeniffer showed me a video taken on her phone. For the festival, the street was festooned with flags. Some houses had their front rooms converted into a beautifully dressed wedding-like background with religious memorials such as saints, crosses and banners. From then on, I started paying more attention to the culture around me. The fireworks were continuous throughout the day. The evening ended with visitors, a family with twins. As I didn’t speak the language, wanting to be polite by being present in the gathering, I drew portraits of them both.
Little by little, I made it to bed. My bedroom is shared by 4 other girls, yet I have the top bunk all to myself. Surprisingly, I slept in as late as everyone else, but was the first to get a shower.