Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Room With a View

2011 07 13

Lajes Das Flores, Azores

The Budget Committee Hard at Work This Morning

The marina here is free.  It opened yesterday, big ceremony with all the high muckity mucks gathered for a photo shoot attended by none but the self styled major domos.  Fanfare, music blaring and not a soul in sight.  We slept mainly.  All politics has much the same effect on us these days.

Our marina is tidy and international: three Canucks, three French boats two back from the Caribbean one from the continent, Two Brits one from the Caribbean and German or two.  And two dozen kids.    Each of whom is having the time of their life.

Despite the grand opening and photo op none of the services is turned on or working yet  - hydro, water etc. so no one is charging us anything for use of the marina.  

Flores is one great mountain.  To get anywhere you must climb.  Especially when, as on Meredith, you begin at Sea Level.  The island is 903 metres high at its peak and most of the action is on the slopes between 300 metres and 600 metres.

You don't realize it when you first pull into a Portuguese harbour (Azores being a special protected zone under the aegis of Portugal) but every bakery in town has Portuguese bread.  That marvellous rough textured, hard shelled floury concoction we used to line up for for hours to buy fresh at the Portuguese bakery in Strathroy.

Here every cafe sells fresh bread, fresh daily.  So what if I have to climb 250 metres straight up to get it.  Here is what you do: you climb the 250 metres, buy the bread and an espresso.  Portuguese espresso - two ounces of that thick black Portuguese mud in a demi tasse - is strong enough to jump start a Mack Truck and is used every morning by ten million Portuguese to get the day underway.  

We dropped into Paula's Cafe today to see about getting some laundry done.  Paula was precariously hanging from the top step of a ladder when we arrived and I gave aid and expressed concern.  Turns out Paula, who hails from Angola by way of New England, knows and is related to half of Strathroy where the Budget Committee used to do business.  This was cause for an hour of discussion.  Paula then offered us a car rental for E35 a substantial discount from the usual E55Well done Budget Committee.

Flores is reasonably priced, indescribably beautiful and friendly.  We may be a long time leaving.  
Colourful Abandon Rules the Countryside

The Ditch is groomed and staired.
 Flores means flower and I mean Come On.  Here are three shots of a drainage ditch taken from a standing position. I never moved, only rotated.

 This third picture is across the drainage ditch from us.  Surrounded by all that natural beauty the people of this unique community had to build a public park.  Because there just wasn't enough nature I guess. 

Every home in this Eden has a cement mixer and either a goat or a sheep.  The goat and sheep are for landscaping purposes only.
A Portuguese Lawnmower Hard at Work
Sorry I have nothing curmudgeonly to say.  I am in thrall.  

It is getting warm, the beach is 100 metres away and filling with bikini clad nubiles.  I see from the cockpit that staff have stocked the free bbqs with that fragrant island cedar.  

It must be time to do something.

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