July 21, 2008
Island of Flowers
The pleasant customs official casually waited dockside in shiny tall boots, and a freshly ironed uniform as we inflated our Dinghy and readied our selves for land. We rowed in, weathered, jet lagged but wired, to presented our papers. We eere very surprised to find that the ground beneath our feet was no longer familiar. Both Glory and I, like coiled springs swaggered along, growing woozy but excited as the young customs officer giggled, and removed his starched new hat. We had become people of the sea and land was making us feel sick, but we had made it to the most beautiful place on earth.
“Isla Flores”…the name doesn’t do it justice. To build a reasonable expectation for what this place is like they should have called it, “Island where flowers found in the shops flourish intensely and bloom on every available inch of land, along roads, trails and all property lines". Thats what I would have called it, and maybe they did at its now abreviated. A month at sea with subtle variations in scenery, readied us for the most beautiful place on earth. We hopped around by foot, lead by one flower patch to the next, for a few days until we had covered all the directions from the boat and every available road. We found trails that led to volcano lakes, waterfalls with swimming holes, light houses, endless views and unbelievable beauty.
Queso-fresco and warm local bread broken on an old rock wall overlooking old pastures and green lush hillsides was our first meal. Fresh bread, organic tomatoes, cucumbers, endless variations of cheese and ridiculously cheap local wine have filled our bellies each day and has become another world for us to explore.
We have discovered that cheese is not actually orange vacupacked and square cut, it is alive, wrapped in wax usually round and full of flavours that awaken parts of the tongue that I didn’t know existed. Tomatoes grown wild are rippled with shape and color. Potatoes grabbed directly from the earth taste like apples and bread can have so much flavour you begin to crave its taste alone. Corn from the stalk does not explode with perfect kernels in every row, it comes miss-shaped with fewer yet flavour packed bites. Wine costs 69 cents a litre and if you want a ten euro bottle then you might have to go to a speciality store.
Life is pretty good over here guys. I have not been to a more beautiful place.
.” The stillness of the cobble stone roads and old rock homes, set against all these flowers has been such an inspiring experience. As the afternoon comes around the families come out the parks for barbeques, guys fish along the shore and kids jump tirelessly into the water from the public docks. Family units are strong and people spend a lot of time growing their own food or catching it and then eating it together.
Its hard not to smile all day long around here. The richness of our lives seems to have increased. We can walk to where our food is sold and we can look over and see the hill it grew on or go meet the cow it came from. The food, the air and the scenery are fresh and giving of life. The scale of these towns seem like they were built around a human rather than an auto mobile. Since we are not inside a car we catch smiles and “bon dias´” rather than fingers and honks. When we bump into people it spurs conversation and we continue to meet new interesting people everyday.
Portuguese is a different language. It sounds like French to Glory, Russian to me, and some how it’s structurally close to Spanish. English is prevalent but not as much as I thought, usually in places of business. The young kids don’t seem to know it, and that really surprises me.
What comes to mind the strongest are all the people I know that need to see this place the way it is now. It's a really special place.